By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Multi-day photo/video shoot of medical equipment in use

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding Broadcast) of all content created for 5 years from the first use

Director/Photographer: Brand Narrative, Technology, and Health Care specialist

Client: Global medical device and software manufacturer


I recently helped a photographer build an estimate and negotiate a project for a notable medical device manufacturer. The client brief described the need for photography and videography of talent and client technical staff showcasing their machinery and software products. The final use of the content would be primarily used for collateral purposes, as well as advertisements in industry trade publications, and web advertising use.

While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the client, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over two shoot days, with a tech/scout day prior to visiting the location.

I added a note of Client Provisions to describe what the client was to provide. In this case, they would handle all location(s), machinery and equipment to be photographed, all client-branded wardrobes, all client staff/equipment technicians, and all photography/video post-processing and retouching. Within the Job Description, we added an option to extend the use of the created content for 15 years for an additional $15,000.

Here’s a look a the estimate:


I put the Photographer/Director’s fees at $20,000 for the 2-day shoot. The photographer had previously worked with this client, and the client was accustomed to the photographer charging $6k per day for still photography and similar use license. While the requested client use was Unlimited, when determining appropriate fees we took into consideration that the intended use wouldn’t contain any direct-to-consumer advertising or pricey media placements. I felt that, with the included video needs, $10k/day was a fair fee for the photo/video work creation and licensing. This was in line with fees I have seen for other projects with similar clients. I added $750/day for the 7 photographer/director pre-pro, tech/scout, and travel days.


We added a first assistant at $600/day to help with lighting and camera equipment management, and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the location and equipment needs. We included the director’s DP at $1,500/day for the shoot days, as well as four pre-production/scout days at $750/day.

We included an assistant camera operator at $750/day to aid the DP, as well as a grip/gaffer at $650/day. We also included a digital tech/media manager to manage the files and display the content to the client while being captured. We added a producer and anticipated 12 days anticipated for the project, and a production assistant for the two shoot days, as well as prep and wrap days. These fees were consistent with appropriate rates in this market.


We added $7,500 for camera, lighting, and grip rentals. The photographer and DP brought their own cameras, lenses, and intended to rent a few specialty lenses, as well as all lighting, camera support, and grip from a local rental house. We added $750 per shoot day for the digital tech workstation rental to consist of a laptop, two client monitors, a wireless director monitor, a cart, cables, and any other necessary equipment. We also included $950 for hard drives, and $1,100 for production supplies such as styling racks, steamers, and production book printing.

Styling Crew

A wardrobe stylist was added to dress our five hired talent, and we anticipated wardrobe costs at $900/day. We estimated wardrobe at $900 for the relatively simple scrubs, gowns, socks, and shoes/slippers needed for five models. We also included a combo hair/makeup stylist at $900/day. The director’s vision included a pure white room, and we added an art dept team to cover the floor/walls/ceiling with white materials that would be removable and non-destructive to the location.

Casting & Talent

The client shot list described a wide range of gender, ethnicity, age, and body sizes to be used across their varying markets, we included $3,500 to cast these everyday individuals. We anticipated all five talent on set each day and included $500 plus a 20% agent fee for these day rates. We included $2750 plus 20% as a use fee and all talent usage was guaranteed.


The traveling party consisted of a photographer/director, DP, and producer. To accommodate this group we included airfare, lodging, airport transfers, local transportation, and per diems for each person.

Catering & Craft Services

We added $3,400 for meals and craft services to cover the 21 people to be on set over the three scout and shoot days.

Covid Safety

Because the crew would be working in a hospital, the client required all on set to be fully vaccinated with proof of a negative PCR test within 24hrs of their first day on set. We added $130 per person to compensate for these test costs and also included $350 for PPE and supplies.


We included $850 for insurance coverage and added $500 for the anticipated additional meals, expendables, and other various costs.

Post Production

We added $500 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and delivery to the client via hard drive. The client would handle all editing and retouching needs.


The photographer was awarded the project, and the production was a huge success. The client came back to the photographer with a retouching order for 18 images, and a separate quote was presented. The video content is currently in edit, and all will be used within the client’s product launch Q2 this year!

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