By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle portraits of a celebrity interacting with products
Licensing: Exclusive Web Advertising and Collateral use of up to five images in perpetuity
Photographer: Portraiture specialist
Client: Food brand


I recently helped a photographer build an estimate and negotiate a project for a food brand client. We were presented with a creative brief depicting a celebrity interacting with products. The final use would primarily be for the client’s website and the collateral materials would be used to promote a popular upcoming event. While they requested perpetual usage, it was clear that the images would have a shelf life of about one year considering the wardrobe the celebrity would be wearing and the products they’d be interacting with.

Here is the estimate:


Given the factors, I based the fee on $2,000 per image for five images and added $3,000 to account for the photographer’s creative fee. We then added $500 for the photographer’s tech/scout day, which was a bit lower than typical. But we were trying to come in slightly below a $70k bottom line based on intel received from the agency regarding the client’s budget.


I included a producer to help coordinate the production, including their prep, scout, shoot, and wrap days. We also included two assistants (one of which would join the tech/scout day plus the shoot day), along with a digital tech and two production assistants (one of which would help with some prep work), all at rates that were appropriate for this particular market.


I included a food stylist for one prep day to buy groceries and prep recipes along with one shoot day to cook and style the food on set. We also added a budget for food/ingredients and equipment for their tools to cook on-site. The celebrity had a preferred hair/makeup stylist, and we included their day rate. The client planned to provide all of the wardrobe, however, we still needed a stylist on site to steam/prep the outfits. So we included a wardrobe stylist for just the shoot day. We also included a prop stylist and a prop assistant to procure a variety of dishes and utensils for the food, along with items to supplement the existing items at the location, and included a $1,500 budget for these items.  Lastly, we added $750 to cover miscellaneous styling-related expenses as noted.


Prior to engaging with us for a proposal, the agency had a location in mind and had actually already reached out to them to do some preliminary research on pricing/availability. We included their findings that they dictated to us for location fees, permits, and location security (the location itself would provide the security). We also added a location scout/manager to visit the location to capture supplemental photos and to join our tech/scout and shoot to be our liaison with the location and help with logistics.


In addition to a van for equipment and/or local transportation, we also included a production RV for the shoot day.


Based on the number of setups, we had a local equipment company provide a quote for the cameras, lighting, and grip, which we included along with the digital tech’s workstation and production supplies (walkies, tables, chairs, coolers, etc.).


I based this on $75 per person for 25 people, to cover breakfast and lunch.


I included $1,500 to cover some unforeseeable expenses, and to give us a bit of a buffer.

Post Production

I included $500 for the photographer to do an initial edit to provide the client content to select from and then included $450/image to retouch 5 images, noting that this included up to 2 hours per image. I included funds for hard drives as well.


The photographer was awarded the project.

Recommended Posts