By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle and architecture images of talent enjoying the museum.

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 30 images for 5 years from first use.

Intended Use: Web and print marketing materials.

Photographer: Interiors, architecture, and lifestyle specialist.

Client: Internationally known art museum.

I recently helped one of our east coast photographers quote and negotiate a project for a large, well-known art museum. The creative brief from their ad agency described images of people enjoying the art exhibits within the museum galleries and showcasing the architectural features of the building. The final campaign would use the photographs in web and print marketing materials to promote the museum’s membership program. At this time, no OOH placements were planned, but the agency requested an unlimited-use license for potential future placements.

Here is the estimate:

Client Provisions

We specified that the agency would handle location(s), location coordination, all location styling and cleaning, talent and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals, craft services, COVID safety protocols, and any image retouching.


The agency would be handling all production elements and requested an estimate for up to 30 images taken over a 2-day shoot. I put the fees at $600 per unique image for each of the 30 images totaling $18,000, with consideration of the number of images. While the per-image fee is low for unlimited use if it were just a handful of images, the bulk license of 30 images justified the fees to the photographer. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images at $750 each plus retouching. I also added $1,000 for the photographer to attend a tech scout day.


We added a first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day as well. We also added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.


I included $1,600 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. While the photographer brought their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, they intended to rent a few specific modifiers and other items from a local rental house. The digital tech estimated $650 a day for their workstation rental and I also included $350 for 3 hard drives.


We included $350 for insurance and $250 to cover taxis, additional meals, and any other small expendables.

Post Production

Retouching was to be handled by the client and we chose to not charge for the first edit since we had a digital tech on set to compile all files on a hard drive for the client. This was done to keep the estimate under $26k.


The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a phenomenal success! During the tech scout, the photographer discovered they needed a few intricate set-ups, as well as multiple lighting setups at the same time. The final invoice we delivered included an updated $3,100 to cover equipment costs. The client and agency were very happy with the final work, and we are expecting to see marketing collateral launch on the web any day now!

Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

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