By Andrew Souders, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Multi-day photo shoot of a branded trade show booth with accompanying product photography
Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 110 images in perpetuity
Photographer: Brand Narrative, Still Life/Product Specialist
Agency: Mid-size US-based branding & design agency with multiple international offices
Client: Mid-sized Global Diagnostic Healthcare Product Manufacturer


I recently helped a photographer build an estimate for a West Coast-based healthcare product manufacturer. The brief described capturing the brand’s large, high-end trade show/product display booth during an event at a convention center in the southwestern US. The images needed to showcase the branded booth design and the products it featured. It also included a shot list of individual products on white in a studio set-up at the same venue. The creative plan was for single-day coverage of the booth during the event and an additional 2 days of product photography in an on-site studio. The final use of the images would be for web and print ads as well as collateral purposes, including the client’s website, social media, and marketing/publicity for other industry events.

After reviewing the creative brief and a few revisions to the estimate based on feedback from the agency the client was working with, we landed on a budget to provide up to 110 images over 3 shoot days. This was comprised of 20 final selects of the booth at the trade show and up to 90 images of an anticipated 18 individual products, which would include multiple angles and close-up details of each.

We included a note that the client would be responsible for location coordination at the venue, providing, transporting, and styling for all of the products (some of the products were noted as quite large, and would require extra attention and coordination when moving and preparing them for photographing). Also, the client would be responsible for providing meals for the crew during shoot days.


We initially suggested Unlimited use for up to 2 years. The client returned requesting to see pricing for a “full buyout.” We tend to avoid this term because it is vague and can mean different things to different people. After clarifying with the client, we landed a license for Unlimited use in perpetuity for up to 110 selected images. I estimated $27k would be an agreeable combined creative/licensing fee for 3 shoot days and the intended use. In this scenario, the size of the client and the amount of content put upward pressure on the fee. However, the niche market of this brand and the smaller audience it would appeal to applied downward pressure. You can read our guide about our lists of vertical markets and more about what vertical markets are in this article.

Air travel would be required for the photographer to reach the venue. We budgeted for the photographer to travel to the location for 1 day to photograph the trade show booth. Then return a few days later after the client had time to transport and prep the products in a separate room at the venue for the 2 days of product shots. Since this would require 2 trips to and from the venue city, I included 4 travel days at $750 each. Aside from that, I added 2 days for the photographer’s pre-production and prep time at $1000 each.


Since there was a need for a large amount of imagery over the 2 product shoot days, we included a budget for a local producer to aid in coordination. We also included a secondary stills photographer during the days that the product photography occurred. Our aim would be to run 2 individual sets to cover as much product content as possible over the 2 shoot days available for this part of the job.

We added a first assistant for all 3 shoot days at $550/day. They would help with lighting and camera equipment management during the trade show as well as the product days. We also budgeted 2 days for a second assistant at $450/day to act as an extra set of hands on the product shoot days. In addition to the assistants, we budgeted for 2 digital techs (1 for each set). They would handle file management, cleanup, and adjustments during the product shoot portion.


The photographer would be able to provide some of their own gear and we included a $6750 budget for the appropriate cameras, lighting, and grip equipment to accommodate the larger products that would need to be photographed, taking into consideration the anticipated 2 sets that would be running during the product shoot as well. I added a $4000 budget for both digital techs’ workstations for 2 days and $220 for portable hard drives and media backups.


The photographer planned to fly to and from the shoot location. Thus, I included $435 for flights and baggage and $1150 for 5 nights at a hotel. We also included $100 a day for car rentals/transportation and $75 per diem for the photographer. All other crew were intended to be hired locally and wouldn’t need a travel budget.


We decided to absorb the insurance costs for the shoot. This included $450 for miscellaneous expenses like production supplies, parking, extra meals, etc.

Post Production

The photographer would include a basic initial edit of the content for the client’s review and to make selections. We then included $7750 to cover up to 30 minutes on each selection for basic processing and file cleanup. We also included product background knockouts and delivery of the final assets to the client.


The estimate was quickly approved, and the photographer was awarded the project. The photographer let us know that he was able to get an additional budget approved to include a DP/filmmaker colleague of his on the shoot. They would provide the client with some motion content of the trade show booth and products as well.

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