Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Studio portraits of four brand ambassadors for an apparel company

Licensing: Web Advertising, Web Collateral, OOH (out-of-home), and POS (point-of-sale) use in the US and Canada of up to 24 images for one year from first use.

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-size, full service

Client: Apparel company

The client had four brand ambassadors that they wanted to photograph in a studio on one shoot day, and we were provided a creative brief showing them interacting with a few props while dressed in the apparel company’s clothing. They needed two looks with three poses each for all four talent, which would yield 24 images.


While the licensing could be limited to one year, they did have broad usage plans, including potential placement on large out-of-home displays and within the retail environments (POS) where the apparel would be sold. Even though they wanted multiple looks and poses for each talent, it was clear from the brief that they’d likely use one final image per subject. I decided to price the usage by the subject, and included $4,500 for each, totaling $18,000, and then added a $2,500 creative fee on top of that. While we typically combine creative and licensing fees into one line item, we were specifically asked by the agency to break these two line items out on our estimate. In addition to these two fees, I also added a pre-light/fit day fee for the photographer at $1,000, which included one day in the studio prior to the shoot — to set up lights and for the styling team to assess wardrobe with the talent.


We included a producer to help line up all aspects of the production, along with two assistants, all of which would attend the pre-light day as well. Additionally, we included a digital tech and a production assistant. Typically, I don’t include half days for crew members, but the photographer had crew at the ready who could jump in for a half-day to help set up lights on the pre-light day, and I based these numbers on local knowledge of rates in this specific market.


While the client would provide all of the apparel, we included a wardrobe stylist for both the pre-light day and the shoot day to manage inventory, prep the outfits, and help the talent try on and ensure proper fitting. We also included a hair/makeup stylist and a prop stylist to acquire a few minor items. We anticipated the prop stylist could procure these supplemental items and just drop them off at the studio, rather than needing multiple shop and return days.

Health and Safety

We included a covid compliance officer and testing as requested by the agency. As a cost-saving measure, they asked us if we could include PCR tests just for the subjects (two of which would have parents in attendance who would also be tested) as well as the two clients attending. Everyone else was approved to just use rapid tests prior to the shoot.


The photographer had a studio in mind that offered a flat $2,000 fee for a half-day pre-light and a full shoot day.


We included an adequate fee for both the pre-light and shoot day for cameras, grip and lighting equipment, plus a fee for the digital tech’s workstation on the shoot day.


I included $60 per person for a light breakfast and lunch on the shoot day.


I added a bit of a buffer for unforeseen minor expenses and also a nominal fee for insurance to contribute to the photographer’s existing policy.

Post Production

We included $500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction of the content and delivery of a gallery, plus $300 for a hard drive. The agency would provide further retouching on the selects.


The photographer was awarded the job.

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