By: Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine
Concept: 4-day photo/video shoot capturing environmental portraiture, architecture, and scenic photography of a travel destination.
Licensing: Perpetual Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all content captured.
Photographer: Travel, Portraiture, Interiors, and Architecture specialist.
Client: Large Financial Institution and their partner restaurants/hotel/hospitality clients.
A NYC-based photographer recently came to Wonderful Machine for help building an estimate and negotiating a project with a large well-known financial institution. The client brief and subsequent conversations described a multi-day travel shoot and production needs with multiple subjects/locations each day. It also described the need for scenic interiors and architecture imagery, as well as environmental portraiture of notable proprietors and chefs within various client partner establishments (restaurant, hotel, and hospitality). The final use of the photography would be on the client’s web platforms and web ads to promote their financial services while highlighting the various hotels and restaurants within the travel destination. The video needs included 10 second – 20 second clips mirroring the stills shot list, and would be used for social media and potentially a few banner ads.
While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the agency, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 8 shoot days, with a tech scout day prior to visit the locations, determine sun times, etc.
Take a look at the Estimate here:
I put the fees at $40,000 for the 8-day shoot, including Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all images captured in perpetuity. We found this number to be appropriate for the client’s use, the number of potential locations/scenes that we anticipated per shoot day and considering the project scope and what the competition might charge. This fee was in line with what this photographer was accustomed to charging for a project with similar deliverables. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The agency requested two “Hold Days” on location to account for potential weather delays, and we included this for the photographer at $1,000 for each day.
We added a DP/Camera Operator for 8 shoot days at $2,500/day, plus five Scout/Travel/Hold days at $1,000 each. 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. The second assistant would be local, but we needed to account for the hold days as well. We also chose to bring the second assistant on the scout day, potentially as another set of hands or driver as needed. As a final member of the crew, we added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured, and who would be traveling with the photographer and first assistant. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.
For all gear needs, we included $3,200/day for stills, video cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer would bring 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. An estimate of $350 per shoot day was determined by the digital tech for their workstation rental, consisting of: a laptop, external monitor, mobile power supply, and cables. We also included $2,500 for 3x 8TB hard drives.
The traveling party would include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. I included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. We added Per Diems at $75 each for the 3-person traveling party.
Given the crew, equipment, and travel necessary for the project I included $1,200 for insurance coverage.
Lastly, I added $2,500 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and deliver it to the client for review. We assume this process would consist of culling images, global curves, simple color balance needs, and export to jpg for client review and backup. Even though there would be a digital tech on set, we estimated that going through 8 days of photo/videography would take approximately 20+ hours. At the agency’s request, we also included hourly retouching for up to 50 images at $125/hr.
After the agency reviewed this estimate with the client, they let us know that these shoot days and bottom line numbers would need to be reduced significantly. The agency followed up to provide a reduced shot list and a large reduction of video needs. They advised that we should include crew transportation on location and lodging, as the client previously was leaning on their partners to provide lodging for all. During these negotations it was established that the client wanted to keep the total to approximately $65k all in.
With this info, we discussed the shot list with the creative team, and ended up slimming the shot list a little further. As a result we estimated a 4-day shoot, plus 1 scout day. While we were reviewing the video shot list and budget parameters, it was decided that the photographer would now be able to handle all video needs themselves. The agency would be handling all on-site production including all location(s), location coordination, employee/staff talent, and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals and craft services, and COVID safety protocols. We included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would be handling these items, as well as any/all final video editing.
Below is the updated Estimate:
As the agency was now anticipating a $5,000/day fee, I put the fees at $22,000 for the four days with an increase of $500/day for the photographer to now handle the video needs themselves. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The previous “Hold Days” were removed so that if needed they would be approved on-site.
We reduced our first assistant and digital tech to seven days, including scout, shooting, and traveling. As noted above, we had removed the previous DP/camera operator need. At the agency’s suggestion, we added two producer days for pre/post-production assistance with securing travel and invoicing/paying crew.
We included $2,000/day for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. As we said before, the photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items. The same $350 per shoot day was estimated by the digital tech for their workstation rental, however, we adjusted the budget to $1,500 for 3x 4TB hard drives and $1,000 for any production supply potential needs.
The traveling party would still include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. As requested by the agency, we included six hotel nights for each based on anticipated rates in that area. We included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. Additionally, 21 Per Diems at $75 per day were added for the 3-person traveling party.
I added five days for passenger van rental, so the crew and agency personnel could move about town together. We were told that a local fixer/PA hired by the production team would handle the van driving and pick-up/return.
We adjusted the insurance to $1,000 for the project.
We adjusted the first edit and client review of all content to $1,750. Because we reduced the amount of shoot days, we determined that going through 4 days of photo/videography would take 8-12 hours. At the agency’s request, we included hourly retouching for up to 50 images. Initially, we suggested $125/hr, but this rate was discounted to $75/hr by the photographer in order for us to slim down the bottom line.
The bottom line was $3,575 above the client’s stated budget, but all needs were met and the additional funds were approved. The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success! The client was thrilled with the work, and is currently running the project all over the internet!
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Very much appreciate the insights that you provide through this series.