By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Each month, we pick one of our recent estimates to write about in a Pricing & Negotiating article. Redacting the names of the photographer and client allows us to share valuable and educational information that would otherwise be confidential.

Concept: Brand Narrative & Architecture/Interior content of a Medical Equipment Manufacturer’s research, production, and treatment facility, featuring staff technicians, doctors, and patients.
Licensing: Exclusive Unlimited use in perpetuity of up to 30 images and up to 5 minutes of video.
Photographer/Director: Healthcare, Architecture, and Brand Narrative specialist.
Agency: None – client direct.
Client: Medical Equipment Manufacturing brand.


I recently helped a photographer/director build an estimate and negotiate a project for a client seeking brand narrative content of their doctors, technicians, and patients within their research, manufacturing, and treatment facility. Usually, this photographer/director creates their estimates on their own. However, they were busy with a multi-day project and reached out for help with the estimate and client conversations.

The client brief described the lifestyle content of their staff performing procedures within their modern research and treatment centers, as well as atmospheric interiors, and aerial content of the location exteriors and campus.

The final use of the images was described as client web and social placements as well as advertising within both consumer and trade publications. The client requested Exclusive Unlimited use of the final content. This all-encompassing license is something we see often with large corporations and their legal teams.

The shoot would be held at a client location about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the photographer’s home. While there was a rough shot list presented, we suggested an advance location/tech scout to help flesh out the shot list with the client.

The client had let us know that they would be handling all location coordination, location styling, employee/staff talent, talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, and video editing. We then included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would handle these items.


The client didn’t have a prescribed shot list per se, but they had a general idea of what they wanted to capture. The client requested an estimate for a two-day shoot with “maybe 30 final images” and “3-5 minutes of video.” Based on the client and the intended content use, I initially advised the content licensing rate of $1,000/image and $5,500 for the video footage. Through subsequent conversations, we felt that the client might have a $60-70,000 project budget range and we placed the fees at $14,000/day. The photographer/director was comfortable with these fees as they were in line with previous projects they had done with similar clients.

This $28,000 fee would include 2 days of on-site content creation with use of up to 30 images and up to 5 minutes of video content. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images to be $1,350/ea including up to 1 hour of retouching. I added $1,000 for the photographer to scout the location in advance of the shoot. In an attempt to be competitive and keep the bottom line lower (with the creative fees intact), we also included the photographer/director’s 4 travel days.


We added a Camera Operator at $1,600 per shoot day, and $750 per day for travel and tech scout days. The camera op would be traveling with the photographer, so 4 travel days were added. We also added a first assistant at $550/day including the tech scout. Additionally, we included a 2nd assistant on the shoot days to help with lighting and camera equipment management. We included a Digital Tech/Media Manager at $750/day. We also included a Production Coordinator to help with the local crew needs, schedule coordination, and meals. Both assistants, digital tech, and the production coordinator would be local hires. Moreover, these fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid the crew on past productions in this location.


We included $4,600 for cameras, lighting, and grip rentals. The photographer would bring their cameras, lenses, and lighting. They also intended to rent continuous lighting, modifiers, stands, and sandbags from a local rental house. The photographer/director would act as drone op, and we thus added $575 per day for the photographer/director’s owned drone system. $750/day was added for the digital workstation rental. We also included $900 for hard drives to back up the still and video content created. We included $1350 for any misc. production supplies such as production book printing, equipment transport, hard drive shipping, etc.


We included $1,150 for anticipated Mileage, Tolls, and Parking for travel to and from the location over the two trips. Costs for 10 hotel stays for the photographer/director and their camera op were also included, as well as 14 per diems at $75/day for each photographer/director and camera operator.

Catering/Craft Service

We included $1,200 for Catering & Craft Services for the 6 crew and anticipated 2 clients on set, this equated to $75 per person per day.


We included $650 for insurance, and $750 for additional meals and any unforeseen expendables.

Post Production

We added $1000 for the photographer/director to perform a First Edit for Client Review and deliver roughs to the client. We also included retouching for the 30 images at $150 per hour. The client wanted the video content to be able to be edited via their internal creative team. Through conversation, the client requested the photographer/director set the color for all content, and we added $2,200 for this labor.


The photographer/director was awarded the project and they were very thankful for the help. I am told the production was a big success!

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Further Reading
Specialty: Brand Narrative Photography
Expert Advice: Pricing & Negotiating for Commercial Photographers
Expert Advice: How Important is a Photographer’s Location to Their Career?

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