By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Architectural and Lifestyle images of employees within an office.

Licensing: Collateral use of up to 12 images in perpetuity.

Photographer: Interiors, architecture, and lifestyle specialist.

Client: Interior design firm.

I recently helped a NYC-based photographer quote on and negotiate a project for an interior design firm that had just finished a 3-floor redesign of the office space of a well-known social media company. The creative deck from the design firm described images of people working, drinking, eating, and utilizing the newly designed vast spaces. The final use of the photography would be web and print materials to promote the design firm’s portfolio. It was requested that the licensing would be conveyed to the social media company as well. While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the client, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 3 shoot days. The client requested this be completed within 2 shoot days due to the location and staff needs. Once we revised the shot list with the client, we let them know this could be accomplished in 2 days, with overtime on one 12-hour day. The client let us know that no production support was needed, as they would be handling all location(s), location coordination, location styling, employee/talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals and craft services, and necessary medicines, and COVID safety protocols. We included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would be handling these items.

Here is the estimate:


The client would be handling all production elements and requested an estimate for up to 12 images taken over a two-day shoot. The client had previously hired the photographer and was accustomed to a $ 3,000-day rate. This was noted in some of the first notes from the client. I put the fees at $700 per image, for each of the 12 images, for perpetual collateral use. The images and the established “day rate” totaled $14,400. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images to be $800 each including up to 1 hour of retouching. I added $750 for the photographer to attend a tech scout day.


We added the first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the shoot needs and help advise on equipment needs. We also added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured. We added 2 hours of overtime for these two positions at 1.5x their hourly rate. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.


We included $3,200 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer brought their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items from a local rental house. The digital tech estimated $650/day for their workstation rental and we also included $350 for three hard drives.


We included $700 for insurance based on client-provided specific insurance requirements that were a little outside of the photographer’s existing policy coverages. We also added $500 to cover taxis, additional meals, and any other small expenses.

Post Production

We added $1000 for the photographer to perform the First Edit for Client Review. Even though there would be a digital tech on set, we estimated that going through two days of photography, the compositing mock-ups needed, client delivery of roughs, and client calls discussing the images, would take 8-10 hours. We also included retouching for the 12 images at $150/hr.


The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a phenomenal success! The client was thrilled with the final work and added two additional images to the final license order.

Need help estimating or producing a project? Reach Out! We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs!

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