By  Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Images of people enjoying a luxury vacation

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 30 images for two years

Photographer: Lifestyle and Portraiture Specialist

Client: Luxury vacation brand

Here is the estimate:


Fees: The client hoped to promote their brand and a new vacation they were offering with a lifestyle shoot featuring talent partaking in a luxury vacation over three shoot days. They would primarily use the 30 images requested for collateral purposes, with the slim chance of print ads in industry specific publications. I started with a creative fee of $2,000 per day for three shoot days, and added $300 per image on top of that to arrive at a creative/licensing fee of $15,000. While I wanted to go higher on the per image fee, I felt collectively we would probably be pushing the limits on a fee for this brand based on an initial call with the client. On that call, they also confirmed that they would be able to provide the locations, any necessary lodging, meals and prop styling.

Crew: We included a small crew consisting of a producer (including prep, shoot and wrap days) and two assistants for the shoot days. The client was comfortable without a dedicated digital tech.

Styling: In addition to a hair/makeup stylist, we include a wardrobe stylist and a wardrobe stylist assistant to shop and provide clothing for six talent. Each talent would have two outfits each, which we estimated at $250 per outfit. We also included a bit of padding for styling kit fees, and expenses incurred while shopping.

Casting and Talent: As a cost savings measure, we included a line item to cover casting from cards, rather than working with a casting agent and having a live casting. We included session fees to cover six talent for three days each, as well as modest talent usage fee, which we felt would work for the market and licensing needed.

Equipment: This covered the photographer’s own gear, and the potential need for a few rented lenses/supplies for three days.

Misc.: We included a few hundred dollars to cover any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Post Production: This covered the time it would take the photographer to do an initial edit and then a per image fee for retouching of 30 selects.

Feedback: The estimate was well received, however we heard back a few days later letting us know that they determined their budget was $50k, and they asked what we could do to come down to that number. We discussed the production approach, and the client was comfortable taking on those responsibilities while reducing the talent needs as well. We removed the producer (while adding a pre-pro day for the photographer to help line up her crew), reduced the talent to 4 instead of 6, reduced the styling and equipment expenses, while making a few other additional tweaks, and submitted the following estimate:

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

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