By Andrew Souders, Wonderful Machine

Each month, we pick a recent estimate 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: One-day stills shoot documenting a high-profile fashion event.
Licensing: Publicity and Collateral use of up to 50 images for 2 years.
Photographer: Documentary and Portraiture Specialist.
Client: High-End European Fashion Brand.


I recently helped a photographer build an estimate for a well-known European luxury fashion client. The creative brief entailed covering the brand’s event at a location in the southwestern U.S. The images needed to showcase the brand’s products and apparel in a runway show as well as other participants and guests in attendance. The intended use of the images would be primarily for internal Collateral needs, but also Publicity use, servicing the publications covering the event — including print and digital stories in a handful of editorial fashion/lifestyle publications, with a usage duration of 2 years.

We were informed by our client contact that airfare/transportation would be arranged for the photographer, but that we should budget for travel and scout day fees in the estimate. In addition, we were asked to provide up to 50 selects from the event, along with a request for rush delivery of up to 20 images on the same day of the shoot, with the remainder being finalized and delivered the following week.

We included a note that the client must handle airfare, car rental/local transportation, locations, and location coordination. Additionally, the client was responsible for providing the subjects to be photographed and any necessary subject/talent coordination, hair/makeup/wardrobe styling, meals, and any photo releases.


Typical corporate event coverage might go for around $2,500/day. But, given the prominence of the event and the client, we expected a higher level of expectation placed on the photographer and the photos would likely see wider use. Because of this, I placed the fee at $4,000 and felt this was a reasonable ask even for the narrow use.

Anticipating the need for brief air travel, we budgeted the estimate to include 2 travel days at $500 each. We might normally see a client anticipate a combined travel/scout day here, but in this scenario, they requested a dedicated tech/scout day at the venue so I included an additional $500 for it.


Since the event photography needs were relatively straightforward and wouldn’t require much in the way of lighting or other equipment management, the photographer was fine with excluding the need for any crew in this scenario.


We included a $350 expense for the photographer to travel with his kit of cameras, lenses, and a digital workstation, knowing that he wanted to remain light and mobile during the event without the need to haul around too much equipment. We also included a TBD line item for the purchase of any hard drives/file storage anticipating the possibility of handing over a drive of selects to the client at the end of the shoot day.


The client informed us that they would cover the photographer’s airfare, baggage fees, and any necessary ground transportation for the trip to the venue. Beyond that, we chose to include $1,050 for 3 lodging stays near the venue, taking into consideration slightly higher rates during this time of year at the shoot location.


We decided to absorb the insurance costs for the shoot but included $150 for miscellaneous needs like expendables and supplies, or any parking, tolls, etc.


We included a first edit to allow the client to review and make selects from, bundling in a rush delivery fee for up to 20 same-day selects for $500. Additionally, we added $1,000 for the photographer to provide color correction and basic file cleanup for the images, as well as delivery of the remainder of the selects after the photographer returned home.


The photographer was awarded the project, and reported back later to let us know that the shoot went great!

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