Pricing & Negotiating: Product Photos/Video For Hair Care Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Stylized Still Life photography and videography, as well as images of the product being used.
Licensing: 2 years of E-Commerce and Web Collateral of all content captured.
Photographer: Product specialist.
Agency: Medium-sized US-based agency.
Client: Specialized hair care product manufacturing client.

Summary

I recently helped a Photographer/Director build an estimate, along with navigating and negotiating a project with a marketing/advertising agency seeking stills and video for a campaign they were creating for their specialized hair care product client.

The creative brief from the agency described the still-life content of a new product. They wanted the images/video to feature the product being used on set. The idea for the settings consisted of colorful and minimalistic bathroom and bedroom mirrors. The content needed to feature talent applying the product to their hair. The final use of the content was described as web and social placements, as well as “eComm” use on the client’s and select retailer’s websites.

Our creative calls with the agency left us feeling like this project was not yet greenlit by the client. This was because they had so few details to share. Instead of quoting on an actual project, it seemed as though the agency was asking us for a quote which they would then present to their client as they were proposing the work to be created.

I was clear with the photographer that I have seen cases like this become a game of revisions and sometimes “how low can we get the costs while still maintaining the creative needs.” The Photographer/Director was on board and we put our heads together to formulate a production plan. It included 1 pre-light day, 2 shoot days, the needed crew, and production support. We submitted our 1st estimate based on the initial ask.

Fees

Based on the client, agency creative description, and shot list of 6 setups we intended to use, I felt that $14,000 would be in the mid-to-high range of what the client might be expecting to see. Depending on the brand, I have seen similar use license projects range between $4,000 and $14,000/day for all content captured. Because this shoot was for a single, limited audience product, $7,000/day was appropriate here, given the market and the client’s desire to work with this particular Photographer/Director. I added 4 pre-pro days at $1,000 each for the Director/Photographer for client and crew creative meetings, creative planning, as well as a pre-light day.

Crew

We added a DP/Camera Op at $2,000/day to run video capture while the photography was happening. We added 2 pre-pro days for the DP/Camera Op at $750/day. First and Second Assistants were included to help with lighting and camera equipment management. They would be needed on the pre-light day as well. We added a Digital Tech/Media Manager at $800/day to manage and display the content as it was being created. We added a Producer at $1,000/day, and a Production Assistant at $350/day. These fees were consistent with previous rates the Director/Photographer had paid their team on past productions in this city.

Equipment

We included $5,200 for cameras, lighting, and grip rentals. The Director/Photographer would bring their own still and video cameras, lenses, and lighting. They also intended to rent some supplemental continuous lighting, c-stands, and sandbags from a local rental house. $750/day was added for the Digital Tech’s workstation rental. We also included $850 for 3 large hard drives and $1,800 for TBD needed production supplies. This included production book printing, table/chair rental, heaters, wardrobe steamers, racks, etc.

Casting & Talent

We added usage fees and 2 daily session fees for two talent. Based on the limited info, but our assumed talent specs, we felt confident in a rate of $2,200 plus a 20% agency fee. We added $2,000 as a fee to cast the two talent. We also added 23% for talent payroll needs within the bottom line.

Styling Crew

We added a combo Hair/Makeup Stylist at $950/day. For our anticipated wardrobe styling needs we added a Wardrobe Stylist at $1,100/day, and an assistant for $500/day. We added $1,600 for the assumed 2 unique outfits per talent and marked this as TBD pending final creative direction. We added a Nail Stylist for both shoot days at $1,200/day. Based on our understanding of the set design and prop needs, we added a Prop Stylist at $1,200/day, as well as an assistant at $500/day. Props & Materials was estimated at $8,500 and marked with a TBD pending final creative needs.

Location/Studio

We included 3 days at a rented studio at $1,800/day.

Meals

We included $70/day per person for meals and craft services. Additionally, we added $500 for meals/craft services on the pre-light day.

Misc.

We included $1,800 for insurance and $1,600 for additional meals, expendables, and miscellaneous expenses.

Post Production

We added $750 for the Director/Photographer to perform a First Edit for Client Review and costs for retouching an estimated 30 images at $125/hour.

Providing a Second Estimate

The client stated that the estimate and treatment were received and that they would like to see a 2nd estimate without production support and with the agency handling all talent and styling. We submitted a revised estimate the same day and then heard that they would circle back after reviewing it with their client. This estimating process then became quite involved as the agency team presented the project to the client and came back to us multiple times for revisions. Together we ended up creating 8 estimates for the project over 6 weeks. While a client requesting multiple estimate revisions is not unique, what made this process arduous was each new estimate requested was to be based on revised shot lists or agency-suggested ways to slim the bottom line. Our requests for budget parameters were never answered.

An Overview of Estimates

While it would be quite complicated to include each of the multiple estimates within this article, below is a high-level overview of each to demonstrate the project scope and cost changes:

1st estimate above.

2nd estimate — Client requested: No production support, talent and all styling would be handled by the agency. Our estimate was the above with the noted items removed and came out to $50,550.

Five weeks later, a 3rd estimate was requested — Client requested: All production, 2 talent over 2 shoot days, all styling, adjusted shot list with retouching for 26 images. Our estimate was $111,870.00.

One day after the 3rd estimate, we were asked for a 4th estimate — Client requested: All included within 3rdestimate, but no DP, no producer, the agency handling all art & props. This estimate was $75,270.

Two days later, 2 additional estimates were requested:

5th estimate — Client requested: A 1-day shoot with no talent, no DP, no producer, agency handling art & props, a VERY revised shot list, and only 3 final images retouched. This estimate was $20,640.

6th estimate — Client requested: A 2-day shoot with 2 talent on only 1 day, no DP, no producer, agency handling art & props, 12 images retouched. This estimate was $56,750.

The 7th estimate request came three days later — Client requested: Increased shot list, 2 unidentifiable hand model talent, 1 pre-light, 2-day shoot, no DP, no producer, agency handling all art & props, and 30 images retouched. This estimate was $66,450.

The Final Estimate

The 8th estimate (final) was sent the following day — Another revised shot list, 2 unidentifiable hand model talent, 1 pre-light day, 1-day shoot, no DP, no producer, agency handling all hair/makeup/props styling, and any video editing, 4 images retouched. In this instance, the agency did let us know that the project needed to be completed by a specific date that was about 2 weeks out. I let the agency know that to hit that date we would need approval and advance payment within 3 days and in order to expedite the process I requested a budget (again).

The agency let me know that they had $40k approved. We submitted an estimate of $40,658.40. While our estimate was a little above the agency-stated budget, our gut told us they would approve the costs since the estimate contained exactly what they requested and the pressure of a short window until the work was needed in hand.

Fees

Based on the work to be created and the noted project budget, $8,500 was an appropriate fee. I added 5 pre-pro days at $1,000 each for the Director/Photographer. This was not only to manage client and crew creative meetings and planning but to source and book all crew and studio needs, as well as their pre-light day fee.

Crew

We included First and Second Assistants for the pre-light days and a Digital Tech/Media Manager at $800/day. We added a Production Assistant at $350/day to help the Director/Photographer with bookings, equipment prep, shoot day catering/craft services, trash, and logistics.

Equipment

We included $3,100 for cameras, lighting, and grip rentals. The Director/Photographer would bring their own still and video cameras, lenses, and lighting. They also intended to rent some supplemental continuous lighting, stands, and sandbags from a local rental house. Moreover, $750/day was added for the Digital Tech’s workstation rental. Additionally, we included $850 for 3 large hard drives and $800 for TBD needed production supplies such as production book printing, table/chair rental, heaters, wardrobe steamers, racks, etc.

Casting & Talent

We added usage fees at $1,200 and $500 1-day session fees. Plus 20% agency fees for 2 non-recognizable hand model talent. Additionally, $1,500 was set as a fee to cast the two talent. The Director/Photographer and Production Assistant would do the casting. We added talent payroll fees within the bottom line at 23% of the total talent fees.

Styling Crew

The agency/client was to provide all hair/makeup/wardrobe styling. However, it was requested that we source and hire a Prop Assistant to aid them. So we quoted this at $500/day. We included $250 per talent as a stipend to get manicures prior to the shoot. Because there were so many estimates created, we made sure to clearly note the Styling Crew lines as “Agency Provided.”

Location/Studio

We included 2 days at a rented studio at $3,600/day and noted that this would include the anticipated cyclorama painting and cleaning fees.

Meals

We included $70/day per person for meals and craft services, as well as $200 for meals/craft services on the pre-light day. Moreover, our client/agency headcount increased by 1 person as well.

Misc.

We included $1,100 for insurance and $1,200 for additional meals, expendables, and miscellaneous expenses.

Post Production

We added $500 for the Director/Photographer to perform a First Edit for Client Review and costs for retouching up to 4 images at $125/hour.

Results

The Photographer/Director was awarded the project and the shoot was a success! The client was on set and loved the work being created. As we all can imagine, the on-set creative requests from the client kept coming on the shoot day. The Photographer/Director called me during the shoot and mentioned that, due to the client’s additional requests (and delays), they were anticipating 2 hours of overtime for the crew and studio. I worked to get these costs approved by the agency during the shoot and we included the overages in the balance invoice. After reviewing the content, the client loved the work and contracted the photographer to retouch an additional 21 images for $3,150 (1 hour per image x $150/hr).

Expanding & Extending Usage

About 2 weeks after final image delivery the agency reached out for costs to expand the 2-year use of the content. They requested usage for in-store POP and web/print advertising purposes (we called this Unlimited use excluding Broadcast), as well as cost estimates for both extending the previous eComm and Web Collateral use and the new request of Unlimited use excluding Broadcast in perpetuity. These new uses would entail new fees and agreements with our 2 talent. We negotiated fees with the talent agents and submitted the below cost estimates to the agency:

eComm and Web Collateral use in perpetuity. Additional fees:
$8,500 licensing fee
$2,880 Talent 1 use fee ($2,400 +20%)
$2,880 Talent 2 use fee ($2,400 +20%)

Unlimited use in perpetuity. Additional fees:
$14,000 licensing fee
$5,760 Talent 1 use fee ($4,800 +20%)
$5,760 Talent 2 use fee ($4,800 +20%)

Note

In our experience, it is tough to get talent agencies to agree to perpetual use. Especially for Unlimited perpetual use without a very high rate. Agencies do this to protect their clients from a company using their likeness years in the future when that client might be very recognizable if they become the next Cameron Diaz etc. Agents also limit the use duration often. This occurs for fear that their clients might not get booked for projects with competitor brands. In this case, neither of those scenarios was a factor since the talent was hand/hair models without recognizable faces.

With my advice, the Director/Photographer agreed to present a lower Unlimited use rate for themselves with the goal of selling that through to the client over the limited use in perpetuity. As of the writing of this article we have yet to hear back from the client/agency on their decision to expand or extend the use.

Follow our Consultants @wonderful_at_work.

Pricing & Negotiating: Brand Narrative For Medical Equipment Client

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.

Summary

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.

Fees

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.

Crew

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.

Equipment

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.

Travel

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

Results

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

Follow our Consultants @wonderful_at_work.

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?


Need help pricing or negotiating a project? Reach out!

Pricing & Negotiating: Trade Show Photos For Healthcare Client

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

Summary

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.

Fees

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.

Crew

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.

Equipment

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.

Travel

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

Results

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.

Follow our Consultants @wonderful_at_work.

Pricing & Negotiating: Celebrity For Food Brand

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

Summary

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:

Fees

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.

Crew

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.

Styling

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.

Locations

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.

Vehicles

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

Equipment

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.).

Meals

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

Misc.

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.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project.

Pricing & Negotiating: Retail Store & Product Images For An Athletic Apparel Brand

Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Photography of employees and brand ambassadors showcasing their new product line within a new flagship New York City retail location

Licensing: Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of up to 25 images for one year from first use

Photographer: Architecture, Interiors, and Still Life specialist

Client: Large global athletic apparel brand

Summary

I helped one of our New York City photographers build an estimate for an athletic apparel brand that had just opened a new flagship store in NYC and was launching a product line to coincide with the opening. In our conversations with the client, they described the need for photography of the retail store and on-location still-life images of their new product line being worn and used by their staff and brand ambassadors. The final use of content would primarily be used for web collateral purposes, but the client had plans for a few web advertising placements within regional news and sports sites, as well as paid social media placements.

The photographer reviewed the time the sun would come through the buildings and determined that a 12-hour day would be needed in order to capture sunlight on the storefront and conquer the entire shot list. I added a note of Client Provisions to describe what the client was to provide, including all location coordination, products to be photographed, all staff/talent to be photographed, and all hair/makeup/wardrobe/product styling.

Take a look at the estimate below:

Fees

I put the Photographer’s fees at $7,000 for the 12-hour shoot and licensing of up to 25 images. The client was very complimentary of the photographer’s portfolio and had mentioned on a call that they had wanted to work with the photographer for some time. We took this into account, but at the same time, we understand that the NYC market is a very competitive one. While this photographer might very well be the absolute best for this project, there are many other photographers in the area that could accomplish this job. The saturated market (unfortunately) put downward pressure on the photographer’s fees. While the per-image rate is quite low, at a couple of hundred dollars an image, we felt that it was a fair and competitive fee for the bulk images and duration limited one-year use. The client did not offer a budget for the project, but based on our experience quoting similar projects and the intended media buy, I estimated that they would want to spend between $12-14,000 total.

Crew

We added a first assistant at $550/day to help with lighting and camera equipment management. We also included a digital tech to manage the files and display the content for the client while it was being captured. Two hours of overtime were added for both crew members at a 1.5 increase in their hourly rates. These fees were consistent with the photographer’s crew rates on past projects of this nature.

Equipment

We included $650 for camera, lighting, and grip rentals. The photographer brought their own cameras and lenses and intended to obtain a few orange cones and reflective safety vests for when they would need to be on the street/sidewalk photographing the storefront. We added $300 for the digital tech workstation rental laptop, cables, etc., and included $160 for a hard drive to backup files.

Meals

We added $300 for meals and craft services to cover the three people who would be on set for the 12-hour shoot day.

Miscellaneous

We added insurance coverage at $250 and added $240 for the anticipated taxis/car services, additional meals, and other miscellaneous costs.

Post Production

We added $500 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and delivery to the client and retouching at $120/hr for an estimated 30 minutes per image.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was set for a gorgeous day in New York City. The photographer let me know that while on set there were initial discussions about future collaborations with this brand and we all are looking forward to working with this client again!


Need help pricing and negotiating a project? Reach Out!

Pricing & Negotiating: Marketing Materials For A Medical Device/Software Manufacturer

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

Summary

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:

Fees

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.

Crew

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.

Equipment

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.

Travel

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

Results

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!

Pricing & Negotiating: Advertising Campaign For A Restaurant Group

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Multi-day photo shoot of food still life, and chefs/talent portraiture

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding Broadcast) of up to 20 images for 10 years from the first use

Photographer: Food/Drink Still Life, and Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-size, full service

Client: High-end restaurant within a major metropolitan city

Summary

I recently helped a photographer build an estimate and negotiate a project for a high-end restaurant client. The creative brief and subsequent conversations described a multi-day production featuring styled food/drinks and studio portraiture of chefs and patrons. The final use of the photography would be client web, local OOH placements, and web/social advertising.

While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the agency, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 4 shoot days, with a tech/scout day prior to visiting the locations. We discussed this approach with the agency and client, and after review, they asked that we keep this production to a three-day shoot. In order to hit the entire shot list, we created a plan for each shoot day, with one of the days needing overtime to accomplish the project.

As our client would be handling various items, I added a note of the Client Provisions to describe precisely what the client was to provide. In this case, they would handle all location(s), location coordination, all casting and people to be photographed, all food/drink to be photographed and food/drink styling, and client-specific wardrobe.

Take a look at the estimate below:

Fees

I put the fees at $26,000 for the three-day shoot, including unlimited use of up to 20 images for 10 years. I came to this fee by discussing the project with the photographer and learning that they had previously worked with this client. Their previous projects had been billed at a $2,000/day fee plus $200/image for web collateral use. Originally I assumed a $1,800/per image fee but reduced this to ~$1,000/per image based on the number of images and our estimate of the client’s total budget. The combined Creative/Licensing fees included $2,000/day for the photographer, plus $20,000 for the 20 image use. I added $1,100/day for the photographer tech/scout day and anticipated 2 hours of overtime at $375/hr. We added a description within Licensing Options for additional still images to be included for $2,200 per image, as well as the option to extend the use of the 20 images in perpetuity for an additional $21,000.

Crew

We added a first assistant at $550/day to help with lighting and camera equipment management, and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the location needs and help advise on lighting equipment. A second assistant was added to the project at $400/day and a digital tech was hired to manage the files and display the content to the agency and client as it was being captured. We added a Producer and anticipated they would need 11 days of work, a production assistant for the 3 shoot days, as well as a prep day. As a final consideration, we added two hours of anticipated OT for each of these roles at 1.5x their hourly rate based on a 10-hour day. These fees were consistent with appropriate rates in this city.

Equipment

We included $3,600 for camera, lighting, and grip rentals. The photographer brought their own cameras, and lenses, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting and grip from a local rental house and a few specific specialty items were purchased as well. We added $750 per shoot day for the digital tech workstation rental to consist of a laptop, 4 external monitors, a cart, cables, etc. As we expected a large client presence on set, we planned for additional monitors to set up a viewing area for the client away from the set.  We also included $480 for 3x 1TB hard drives, and $3,300 for production supplies like tables & chairs rental, styling racks, production book printing, etc.

Styling Crew

As we planned to have one day of portrait photography, we added a hair/makeup stylist for $900/day, as well as an assistant. Because the portraits would highlight people’s hands, we added a nail artist/stylist at $1,200/day. A wardrobe stylist was hired along with an assistant to dress our five hired talent and help prep the chefs/staff. We anticipated wardrobe at $2,000 assuming $400 per outfit for our five talent. We added a prop stylist at $1,000/day for all three shoot days, plus two shopping/prep/returns days. We anticipated props might cost $2,300 but added a TBD here pending final creative needs. As we did with the other roles, we added two hours of anticipated OT for each of these roles at 1.5x their hourly rate based on a 10-hour day.

Covid Safety

Since we would be photographing indoors within client-owned spaces, we 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 $200 per person for these test costs and/or a stipend to all. We also added $400 for PPE and necessary healthcare supplies.

Meals

We included $3,055 for meals and craft services to cover the 21 people to be on set over the 3 days, as well as $250 for the scout day meals/crafty.

Miscellaneous

As we would need to pay for garage parking for all attendees at each of our locations, and added $3,200 for the anticipated parking, mileage/taxis, as well as additional meals. Our final estimate for insurance coverage was $1,500 for the project.

Post Production

We added $1,000 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and delivery to client for review and included retouching for up to 20 images at $150/hr.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the work is currently a large part of the client campaign currently running. The photographer even informed me that they recently met with the client and were told the campaign has increased their web traffic and look forward to another shoot in early 2023!


Need help pricing and negotiating a project? Reach Out!

Pricing & Negotiating: Travel Photography For A Large Financial Institution

By: Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: 4-day photo/video shoot capturing environmental portraiture, architecture, and scenic photography of a travel destination.

Licensing: Perpetual Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all content captured.

Photographer: Travel, Portraiture, Interiors, and Architecture specialist.

Client: Large Financial Institution and their partner restaurants/hotel/hospitality clients.

Summary

A NYC-based photographer recently came to Wonderful Machine for help building an estimate and negotiating a project with a large well-known financial institution. The client brief and subsequent conversations described a multi-day travel shoot and production needs with multiple subjects/locations each day. It also described the need for scenic interiors and architecture imagery, as well as environmental portraiture of notable proprietors and chefs within various client partner establishments (restaurant, hotel, and hospitality). The final use of the photography would be on the client’s web platforms and web ads to promote their financial services while highlighting the various hotels and restaurants within the travel destination. The video needs included 10 second – 20 second clips mirroring the stills shot list, and would be used for social media and potentially a few banner ads.

While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the agency, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 8 shoot days, with a tech scout day prior to visit the locations, determine sun times, etc.

Take a look at the Estimate here:

Fees

I put the fees at $40,000 for the 8-day shoot, including Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all images captured in perpetuity. We found this number to be appropriate for the client’s use, the number of potential locations/scenes that we anticipated per shoot day and considering the project scope and what the competition might charge. This fee was in line with what this photographer was accustomed to charging for a project with similar deliverables. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The agency requested two “Hold Days” on location to account for potential weather delays, and we included this for the photographer at $1,000 for each day.

Crew

We added a DP/Camera Operator for 8 shoot days at $2,500/day, plus five Scout/Travel/Hold days at $1,000 each. We added the first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the shoot needs and help advise on equipment needs. The second assistant would be local, but we needed to account for the hold days as well. We also chose to bring the second assistant on the scout day, potentially as another set of hands or driver as needed. As a final member of the crew, we added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured, and who would be traveling with the photographer and first assistant. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.

Equipment

For all gear needs, we included $3,200/day for stills, video cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items from a local rental house. An estimate of $350 per shoot day was determined by the digital tech for their workstation rental, consisting of: a laptop, external monitor, mobile power supply, and cables. We also included $2,500 for 3x 8TB hard drives.

Travel

The traveling party would include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. I included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. We added Per Diems at $75 each for the 3-person traveling party.

Miscellaneous

Given the crew, equipment, and travel necessary for the project I included $1,200 for insurance coverage.

Post Production

Lastly, I added $2,500 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and deliver it to the client for review. We assume this process would consist of culling images, global curves, simple color balance needs, and export to jpg for client review and backup.  Even though there would be a digital tech on set, we estimated that going through 8 days of photo/videography would take approximately 20+ hours. At the agency’s request, we also included hourly retouching for up to 50 images at $125/hr.

Results

After the agency reviewed this estimate with the client, they let us know that these shoot days and bottom line numbers would need to be reduced significantly. The agency followed up to provide a reduced shot list and a large reduction of video needs. They advised that we should include crew transportation on location and lodging, as the client previously was leaning on their partners to provide lodging for all. During these negotations it was established that the client wanted to keep the total to approximately $65k all in.

With this info, we discussed the shot list with the creative team, and ended up slimming the shot list a little further. As a result we estimated a 4-day shoot, plus 1 scout day. While we were reviewing the video shot list and budget parameters, it was decided that the photographer would now be able to handle all video needs themselves. The agency would be handling all on-site production including all location(s), location coordination, employee/staff talent, and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals and craft services, and COVID safety protocols. We included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would be handling these items, as well as any/all final video editing.

Below is the updated Estimate:

Fees

As the agency was now anticipating a $5,000/day fee, I put the fees at $22,000 for the four days with an increase of $500/day for the photographer to now handle the video needs themselves. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The previous “Hold Days” were removed so that if needed they would be approved on-site.

Crew

We reduced our first assistant and digital tech to seven days, including scout, shooting, and traveling. As noted above, we had removed the previous DP/camera operator need. At the agency’s suggestion, we added two producer days for pre/post-production assistance with securing travel and invoicing/paying crew.

Equipment

We included $2,000/day for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. As we said before, the photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items. The same $350 per shoot day was estimated by the digital tech for their workstation rental, however, we adjusted the budget to $1,500 for 3x 4TB hard drives and $1,000 for any production supply potential needs.

Travel

The traveling party would still include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. As requested by the agency, we included six hotel nights for each based on anticipated rates in that area. We included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. Additionally, 21 Per Diems at $75 per day were added for the 3-person traveling party.

Vehicles

I added five days for passenger van rental, so the crew and agency personnel could move about town together. We were told that a local fixer/PA hired by the production team would handle the van driving and pick-up/return.

Miscellaneous

We adjusted the insurance to $1,000 for the project.

Post Production

We adjusted the first edit and client review of all content to $1,750. Because we reduced the amount of shoot days, we determined that going through 4 days of photo/videography would take 8-12 hours. At the agency’s request, we included hourly retouching for up to 50 images. Initially, we suggested $125/hr, but this rate was discounted to $75/hr by the photographer in order for us to slim down the bottom line.

Final Results

The bottom line was $3,575 above the client’s stated budget, but all needs were met and the additional funds were approved. The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success! The client was thrilled with the work, and is currently running the project all over the internet!


Need help pricing and negotiating a project? Reach Out!

Pricing & Negotiating: International Hospitality Stills And Video

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Two talent enjoying the amenities of a hotel, captured in both stills and video.

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding broadcast) of up to 10 images and all video content captured in perpetuity.

Photographer: Lifestyle and hospitality specialist.

Client: Hotel Brand.

Here is the estimate:

Fees

This project was part of three other similar shoots the agency was coordinating around the world, and at each one, they hoped to capture two talent enjoying the amenities of the hotel. While stills would be the priority, they asked for some b-roll video content to be captured of the same sets, primarily for web advertising. While we’ve seen higher fees for more limited usage for such brands, it became apparent that the usage would essentially be five images, delivered in both horizontal and vertical. Given the local market where the shoot would take place, and the limited quantity of images and intended usage, I decided to include $10,000 as a creative/licensing fee. I also added two scout days for the photographer.

Crew

The agency hoped for a minimal crew to keep the production footprint as small as possible. We included a producer, videographer, assistant, and a digital tech, all with appropriate travel/shoot days and rates for the given market.

Casting

We planned to cast from cards, rather than do a live casting, and include $750 for the time to accomplish this. We split the fees for the two talent into three categories; a session fee for their time, a usage fee for their likeness based on the unlimited use, and a travel fee for them to get to the locations.

Styling

Rather than a full styling team, and in an effort to keep the footprint small, we included one stylist to help ensure the talent looked presentable and to help with the wardrobe the talent would provide. I typically break out these roles and have a separate person handle hair/makeup while another stylist handles wardrobe, however, the agency preferred to bundle the roles.

Equipment

We included appropriate fees for both stills and video equipment, along with a rental fee to use the digital tech’s workstation. These rates included cameras, lenses, and all of the supporting grip equipment and sliders needed to get the shots noted in the provided creative brief.

Health & Safety

To maintain public health and safety on set we included a fee that would compensate each crew member, upon providing us with a negative covid test result that they would receive prior to the shoot.

Miscellaneous

While the client’s onsite services would provide catering, we included $500 for additional meals and $1,750 for unknown expenses incurred during international travel.

Travel

Eight people would be traveling to the location, and we included airfare, transportation, and per diems for each of them, based on the number of days they’d be traveling. Despite the client being a hotel where the shoot would take place, they were not able to provide lodging for the crew and asked for us to include lodging elsewhere for the team.

Post Production

Lastly, we included $500 for the photographer to sift through the content and provide a gallery to the agency, along with a fee of $200 per image for the photographer to ultimately retouch the agency’s selects. Additionally, we added $400 for hard drives and shipping.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project.


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Portfolio Images For Interior Design Firm

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Architectural and Lifestyle images of employees within an office.

Licensing: Collateral use of up to 12 images in perpetuity.

Photographer: Interiors, architecture, and lifestyle specialist.

Client: Interior design firm.

I recently helped a NYC-based photographer quote on and negotiate a project for an interior design firm that had just finished a 3-floor redesign of the office space of a well-known social media company. The creative deck from the design firm described images of people working, drinking, eating, and utilizing the newly designed vast spaces. The final use of the photography would be web and print materials to promote the design firm’s portfolio. It was requested that the licensing would be conveyed to the social media company as well. While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the client, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 3 shoot days. The client requested this be completed within 2 shoot days due to the location and staff needs. Once we revised the shot list with the client, we let them know this could be accomplished in 2 days, with overtime on one 12-hour day. The client let us know that no production support was needed, as they would be handling all location(s), location coordination, location styling, employee/talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals and craft services, and necessary medicines, and COVID safety protocols. We included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would be handling these items.

Here is the estimate:

Fees

The client would be handling all production elements and requested an estimate for up to 12 images taken over a two-day shoot. The client had previously hired the photographer and was accustomed to a $ 3,000-day rate. This was noted in some of the first notes from the client. I put the fees at $700 per image, for each of the 12 images, for perpetual collateral use. The images and the established “day rate” totaled $14,400. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images to be $800 each including up to 1 hour of retouching. I added $750 for the photographer to attend a tech scout day.

Crew

We added the first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the shoot needs and help advise on equipment needs. We also added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured. We added 2 hours of overtime for these two positions at 1.5x their hourly rate. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.

Equipment

We included $3,200 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer brought their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items from a local rental house. The digital tech estimated $650/day for their workstation rental and we also included $350 for three hard drives.

Miscellaneous

We included $700 for insurance based on client-provided specific insurance requirements that were a little outside of the photographer’s existing policy coverages. We also added $500 to cover taxis, additional meals, and any other small expenses.

Post Production

We added $1000 for the photographer to perform the First Edit for Client Review. Even though there would be a digital tech on set, we estimated that going through two days of photography, the compositing mock-ups needed, client delivery of roughs, and client calls discussing the images, would take 8-10 hours. We also included retouching for the 12 images at $150/hr.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a phenomenal success! The client was thrilled with the final work and added two additional images to the final license order.


Need help estimating or producing a project? Reach Out! We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs!

Pricing & Negotiating: Membership Campaign For Prominent Art Museum

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle and architecture images of talent enjoying the museum.

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 30 images for 5 years from first use.

Intended Use: Web and print marketing materials.

Photographer: Interiors, architecture, and lifestyle specialist.

Client: Internationally known art museum.

I recently helped one of our east coast photographers quote and negotiate a project for a large, well-known art museum. The creative brief from their ad agency described images of people enjoying the art exhibits within the museum galleries and showcasing the architectural features of the building. The final campaign would use the photographs in web and print marketing materials to promote the museum’s membership program. At this time, no OOH placements were planned, but the agency requested an unlimited-use license for potential future placements.

Here is the estimate:

Client Provisions

We specified that the agency would handle location(s), location coordination, all location styling and cleaning, talent and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals, craft services, COVID safety protocols, and any image retouching.

Fees

The agency would be handling all production elements and requested an estimate for up to 30 images taken over a 2-day shoot. I put the fees at $600 per unique image for each of the 30 images totaling $18,000, with consideration of the number of images. While the per-image fee is low for unlimited use if it were just a handful of images, the bulk license of 30 images justified the fees to the photographer. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images at $750 each plus retouching. I also added $1,000 for the photographer to attend a tech scout day.

Crew

We added a first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day as well. We also added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.

Equipment

I included $1,600 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. While the photographer brought their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, they intended to rent a few specific modifiers and other items from a local rental house. The digital tech estimated $650 a day for their workstation rental and I also included $350 for 3 hard drives.

Miscellaneous

We included $350 for insurance and $250 to cover taxis, additional meals, and any other small expendables.

Post Production

Retouching was to be handled by the client and we chose to not charge for the first edit since we had a digital tech on set to compile all files on a hard drive for the client. This was done to keep the estimate under $26k.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a phenomenal success! During the tech scout, the photographer discovered they needed a few intricate set-ups, as well as multiple lighting setups at the same time. The final invoice we delivered included an updated $3,100 to cover equipment costs. The client and agency were very happy with the final work, and we are expecting to see marketing collateral launch on the web any day now!


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Ambassador Portraits For An Apparel Company

PRICING & NEGOTIATING: AMBASSADOR PORTRAITS FOR AN APPAREL COMPANY

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Studio portraits of four brand ambassadors for an apparel company

Licensing: Web Advertising, Web Collateral, OOH (out-of-home), and POS (point-of-sale) use in the US and Canada of up to 24 images for one year from first use.

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-size, full service

Client: Apparel company

The client had four brand ambassadors that they wanted to photograph in a studio on one shoot day, and we were provided a creative brief showing them interacting with a few props while dressed in the apparel company’s clothing. They needed two looks with three poses each for all four talent, which would yield 24 images.

Fees

While the licensing could be limited to one year, they did have broad usage plans, including potential placement on large out-of-home displays and within the retail environments (POS) where the apparel would be sold. Even though they wanted multiple looks and poses for each talent, it was clear from the brief that they’d likely use one final image per subject. I decided to price the usage by the subject, and included $4,500 for each, totaling $18,000, and then added a $2,500 creative fee on top of that. While we typically combine creative and licensing fees into one line item, we were specifically asked by the agency to break these two line items out on our estimate. In addition to these two fees, I also added a pre-light/fit day fee for the photographer at $1,000, which included one day in the studio prior to the shoot — to set up lights and for the styling team to assess wardrobe with the talent.

Crew

We included a producer to help line up all aspects of the production, along with two assistants, all of which would attend the pre-light day as well. Additionally, we included a digital tech and a production assistant. Typically, I don’t include half days for crew members, but the photographer had crew at the ready who could jump in for a half-day to help set up lights on the pre-light day, and I based these numbers on local knowledge of rates in this specific market.

Styling

While the client would provide all of the apparel, we included a wardrobe stylist for both the pre-light day and the shoot day to manage inventory, prep the outfits, and help the talent try on and ensure proper fitting. We also included a hair/makeup stylist and a prop stylist to acquire a few minor items. We anticipated the prop stylist could procure these supplemental items and just drop them off at the studio, rather than needing multiple shop and return days.

Health and Safety

We included a covid compliance officer and testing as requested by the agency. As a cost-saving measure, they asked us if we could include PCR tests just for the subjects (two of which would have parents in attendance who would also be tested) as well as the two clients attending. Everyone else was approved to just use rapid tests prior to the shoot.

Location

The photographer had a studio in mind that offered a flat $2,000 fee for a half-day pre-light and a full shoot day.

Equipment

We included an adequate fee for both the pre-light and shoot day for cameras, grip and lighting equipment, plus a fee for the digital tech’s workstation on the shoot day.

Meals

I included $60 per person for a light breakfast and lunch on the shoot day.

Miscellaneous

I added a bit of a buffer for unforeseen minor expenses and also a nominal fee for insurance to contribute to the photographer’s existing policy.

Post Production

We included $500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction of the content and delivery of a gallery, plus $300 for a hard drive. The agency would provide further retouching on the selects.

Results

The photographer was awarded the job.

Pricing & Negotiating: OOH Campaign For International Non-Profit

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: In-studio, on white, portraits of 2 client advocates. With various set-ups.
Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 10 images for 1 year.
Photographer: Lifestyle/portraiture specialist.
Client: International humanitarian non-profit

I recently helped one of our East Coast photographers quote on and negotiate a project for a well-known NGO. The creative brief from their ad agency described still photos showing the client advocates in heroic poses on a white background. The photos would be stripped into other backgrounds provided by the agency (and the agency would be handling the post-production).

The photos were intended for an OOH (Out of Home) campaign honoring those employees and would be primarily used on billboards and bus shelters in the U.S.

The photographer would be one of several photographers shooting subjects in different cities around the country.

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees

After creative calls with the agency and client, and with the understanding that the client wanted to stay within a $15k budget, I put the fees at $500 per unique image for each of the 10 images, totaling $5,000. They asked for the cost of additional images, and I priced each with a 10% discount at $450 each. The per-image fee is low for OOH use, but the photographer is a supporter of the non-profit’s cause and was eager to be a part of this project. I added $500 for the photographer’s pre-pro time to include meetings and securing crew and lighting equipment.

Crew

We included two assistants to make sure the photographer had enough help with lighting. We added a DigiTech to manage the files as well as run a Zoom remote viewing for the NYC-based agency not on set. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photog had paid these people on past productions. We added $1,000 for a producer to help book the studio, confirm crew, organize catering needs, and manage the remote viewing and client communications during the shoot.

Equipment

I included $1,100 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer brought their own cameras and lenses and rented lighting and grip from the studio. $500 was estimated by DigiTech for their needed gear rentals. I also included $350 for 3 hard drives.

Styling Crew and Expenses

We included $750 for a combo Hair/Makeup stylist. This rate was estimated by the stylist.

Locations

We included $1,300 for a studio rental day at a studio the photographer had worked in previously and found suitable. This fee included the studio cleaning fee.

Meals

$675 was estimated to cover a light breakfast, and lunch needs for 9 people on set. The $75pp also included simple craft services the photographer would bring to the set. Water, soda, snack bars, fruit, etc.

Covid Safety

We included $2,000 for third party on-site testing. The testing agency would bring PPE as well for the 9 folks on set.

Miscellaneous

We had $350 as miscellaneous expenses. This would include $200 of insurance for the photographer for, cover mileage and parking for the crew, as well as any additional snacks/beverages before or after their time on set each day, and tiny bit of buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Post Production

Retouching was to be handled by client, we chose to not charge for the first edit in order to keep the estimate under $15k.

Client Provisions

We included a Client Provisions note that all talent, talent coordination & releases, wardrobe and props styling, as well as all image retouching, would be handled by the production company.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a huge success! OOH ads for the project were running this past winter up and down the East Coast I-95, as well as a few locations in Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and SoCal.


If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs— from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Photography Retainer For Social Media

by Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Concept: Still life and lifestyle images featuring beverages and products

Licensing: Collateral use of up to 10 images per shoot

Photographer: Still life and portraiture specialist

Client: Beverage company

Here is the estimate:

 

A photographer came to me looking for help with developing a retainer agreement for a beverage company. The photographer had a previous working relationship with this brand, and they required a consistent stream of content for use on their social media channels. Additionally, the company operated multiple brands, and they had the same need for each brand. Each shoot would be similar and would involve a mix of still life images of the beverages, and possibly lifestyle images of people enjoying or interacting with the products as well. The location for each shoot would be provided by the client, and having done this multiple times, the photographer had a good sense of the limited production footprint the client wanted, and a rough sense of what they might be comfortable paying upfront as a retainer.

Pros and Cons of Negotiating A Retainer

Negotiating a retainer agreement can be a bit tricky, but there can be major benefits for both the photographer and the client. For a photographer, the benefit of a retainer is that a client is willing to commit to a large amount of money and multiple shoots upfront. For a client, a retainer allows them to offload finances in one lump sum, rather than having to pay for each individual assignment, and this often alleviates accounting headaches.

However, retainers do sometimes come with downsides. A photographer will need to be able to keep track of how a retainer is being applied, and will ideally be ready to present these numbers to a client when asked. Also, sometimes clients feel that after a retainer is paid, they can control the photographer’s calendar, and that can sometimes become problematic if a photographer has other clients they would like to shoot for as well. A retainer also typically works best if each shoot that is to take place is more or less the same in terms of creative direction, deliverables, and usage. A retainer can be a win/win if the right set of circumstances present themselves, as they did in this case.

Building A Retainer Agreement

The first step was to determine how much to charge for photography fees and expenses and outline the needs of the project. Based on pricing for previous projects, we knew the client was willing to spend about $5,000 for a shoot, inclusive of a $1,500 fee for the photographer, plus expenses. They also anticipated walking away with 10 images to use for collateral purposes (mainly social media). Based on that, and knowing they hoped to do one shoot a month for a year, we came up with a retainer fee of $60,000 ($5,000 x 12 shoots). Below is a breakdown of the expenses we detailed in the agreement.

  • Photographer Fees: We noted that the photographer’s creative/licensing fee would be $1,500/day and include collateral use of 10 images in perpetuity. If a pre-pro day was needed, that would be $500/day.
  • Crew: Most of the projects would just require one assistant, but I listed the fees per day for both a first assistant and a digital tech. I considered adding a producer line item and additional assistants/crew if the projects ever expanded to include talent and a higher production level, but ultimately based the crew list on what was included on previous projects. Additionally, if more crew became necessary with increased project scope, the photographer would still have an opportunity to estimate each project ahead of time and add those elements in at that point.
  • Post Production: We noted that retouching would be $50 per hour, but purposefully didn’t list a total amount of time, with the intention of that it would be quoted with each job.
  • Casting and Talent: Since this could vary wildly, we noted that this was TBD and would be based on the creative direction for each shoot.
  • Equipment: We anticipated $500 per day would cover basic equipment, and the photographer would plan to bring their own gear. If more elaborate lighting setups were needed, that could be quoted on each estimate ahead of time.
  • Styling: We noted appropriate stylist rates for this particular market and noted wardrobe and props would be based on the creative needs of each shoot.
  • Miscellaneous: We simply note that there could be items such as mileage, parking, and meals and that those would be TBD until a specific project scope came to light.

The Fine Print

To ensure the pricing accounted for actual costs, we noted that the expenses were not firm costs and that for each shoot the photographer would create an estimate showing the exact expenses based on the creative needs and each project scope. We also included a clause that stated that after each production, the photographer would provide an invoice that showed how much was being deducted from the $60,000 retainer and clearly show the balance remaining. The agreement states that if the fees and expenses go over the retainer amount, it would be brought to their attention throughout this process and that those funds would be billed on top of this retainer.

Results

The photographer shared the estimate with the client and they agreed to the retainer fee.


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: International Luxury Hospitality Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Architectural images showcasing a hotel and its amenities.

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 5 images in perpetuity. Unlimited use of up to 30 additional images for 1 year

Photographer: Architecture and Hospitality specialist

Client: Large International Hospitality Brand

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: This shoot required an experienced architecture and hospitality specialist with the ability to capture strong content in a very short amount of time. The shoot time was compressed as the location was re-opening with short notice due to the state’s relaxation of Covid regulations. Also, from what we could gather in our client conversations, was that a shoot took place recently and the agency was now tasked with getting it done right the second time. That put upward pressure on the fee, and I felt that a creative fee alone was worth $10,000 for the 2-day shoot.

The client requested two licensing terms for the 35 deliverables on the shot list. They requested 30 images with 1-year Unlimited use, and an additional 5 images to have a license for unlimited use in perpetuity.

For the 1 year Unlimited licensing, I felt $750 per image was appropriate for the quantity of 30 images.

For the perpetual Unlimited licensing, I felt $2,000 per image was appropriate for 5 images.

This totaled $32,500, and I arrived at a $42,500 creative/licensing fee by combining the $10,000 creative fee with the licensing fees. On top of that, I added a $750 fee for the photographer to attend a quick tech/scout of the location.

I added a Licensing Options section within the Job Description to outline possible additional image use fees, including possibly extending the use of the 30 images to perpetual use. This included a discounted rate for the bulk perpetual use.

Crew: We added a first assistant (who would also accompany the photographer on the tech/scout), as well as a second assistant. These rates were appropriate for the given market, and the rates the photographer’s assistants were accustomed to. I suggested to the photographer to bring on a separate person as digital tech, but the client pushed back on the crew footprint during Covid and the photographer was comfortable using his 2nd assistant to simply run a Capture One tether and backup files.

Equipment: We included $2,000 for cameras/grip/lighting, and a modest fee to cover the photographer’s computer set up to be used on set, and 2 hard drives.

Covid Safety: We included costs for 3 advanced Covid tests for the photography team, plus $75 for PPE.

Misc.: The location was about a 30-minute drive for the photography team. We added a line item to cover individual mileage for the 3 person team, parking, some additional meals, and a bit of buffer for any small unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Post Production: We included $1,500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction and provide a gallery of his favorite shots. The retouching estimate was based upon the photographer and creative team assuming each image would need roughly 2 hours of work. This would be billed at $125 per hour.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. The shoot was a success and images are out in the world currently!


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Lifestyle Images For A Pharmaceutical Client

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of talent interacting around a residential property

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images captured in North America for one year

Photographer: Lifestyle and portraiture specialist

Agency: Healthcare marketing specialists

Client: Pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: At the onset of the project, the scope was based around 4 talent interacting and participating in lifestyle activities in and around a residential property. We anticipated three unique setups over the course of one day, however, we did not have a specific shot list to work with. While the agency requested unlimited use for one year, we knew the images would primarily be used for very targeted advertising, mostly web-based, and likely used within printed collateral pieces. Given the duration of just one year, I decided to price the three scenarios at $3,500 each, and I added a $2,000 creative fee. Based on previous experience, I knew the agency would be looking for a creative/licensing fee somewhere between 10-15k, and we were told the budget was initially tight, so we ultimately landed on $12,500. We included a tech/scout day at $1,000 for the photographer, and we included $750 for them to attend a wardrobe fitting day as well, which was specifically requested by the agency.

Crew: We knew this would likely require some heavy lifting and a lot of moving parts, so we included a producer along with a PA, as well as two assistants and a digital tech, at rates that were appropriate for the given market.

Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist along with an assistant, and we combined the roles of the wardrobe and prop styling into one lead stylist with two assistants. At this point in the project, it seemed reasonable to combine these roles not only because the photographer had a stylist in mind that he was confident could handle it, but it was also a strategy to reduce the headcount on set, which is a covid compliance protocol we always try to implement. We made sure to include enough shopping time and extra days for attendance of a wardrobe fitting day prior to the shoot. We anticipate two outfits for each of the four talents and based the wardrobe costs on $300 per outfit. We included $4,000 for props but marked it as TBD since we didn’t have a clear sense as to what the exact needs would be at the onset of the project. Additionally, we included $750 for kit fees, shipping, and miscellaneous styling expenses.

Health and Safety: We included a covid compliance officer for both the shoot, tech/scout day and wardrobe fitting day. Additionally, we included one Covid test per attendee, as well as a few hundred dollars for PPE/supplies.

Locations: We had a general sense of the type of house that was needed, however, we also sensed that the client would be quite picky. We included what we felt was ample scouting days plus a location fee that would more than cover such a location in this market. We also included $500 as a location fee for the wardrobe fitting, as we’d need a location for that to take place.

Casting and Talent: I included $1,500 for casting, which was based on local knowledge of a casting agent who I knew would be able to cover our needs for that amount of money. Considering covid, rather than a live casting, they remotely collect virtual auditions that talent record themselves, with our casting director’s guidance. The agency planned to cover all talent fees, so we made sure to make a note of that.

Equipment: We made sure to include photographic equipment along with a workstation for our digital tech and production supplies. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve increased line items for production supplies considering the additional items needed to have a safe set (more tables/chairs to spread out, fans for airflow, etc.) in addition to normal items like tents and walkies.

Vehicles: While the house could possibly serve as a staging area, we included a production RV to help spread out and provide a dedicated styling area.

Catering: I included $70 per person for a light breakfast and lunch that would also conform to our covid protocols.

Misc.: I included $750 for insurance (however we did not know the policy limits at this point required by the agency), as well as added funds for miscellaneous expenses that might arise throughout the production.

Post Production: The agency planned to handle retouching, so this just included the photographer’s time to transfer the content to a hard drive and hand it over.

Results: The project was awarded to the photographer. During the pre-production process, a new concept came to light that would necessitate an additional day of shooting. We compiled another estimate to serve as an overage request that contained similar line items to the initial estimate but accounted for an additional day. The overage request for this new concept totaled approximately $60k, and that estimate was also approved.


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out.
We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: International Luxury Hospitality Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Architectural images showcasing a hotel and its amenities.

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 5 images in perpetuity. Unlimited use of up to 30 additional images for 1 year

Photographer: Architecture and Hospitality specialist

Client: Large International Hospitality Brand

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: This shoot required an experienced architecture and hospitality specialist with the ability to capture strong content in a very short amount of time. The shoot time was compressed as the location was re-opening with short notice due to the state’s relaxation of Covid regulations. Also, from what we could gather in our client conversations, was that a shoot took place recently and the agency was now tasked with getting it done right the second time. That put upward pressure on the fee, and I felt that a creative fee alone was worth $10,000 for the 2-day shoot.

The client requested two licensing terms for the 35 deliverables on the shot list. They requested 30 images with 1-year Unlimited use, and an additional 5 images to have a license for unlimited use in perpetuity.

For the 1 year Unlimited licensing, I felt $750 per image was appropriate for the quantity of 30 images.

For the perpetual Unlimited licensing, I felt $2,000 per image was appropriate for 5 images.

This totaled $32,500, and I arrived at a $42,500 creative/licensing fee by combining the $10,000 creative fee with the licensing fees. On top of that, I added a $750 fee for the photographer to attend a quick tech/scout of the location.

I added a Licensing Options section within the Job Description to outline possible additional image use fees, including possibly extending the use of the 30 images to perpetual use. This included a discounted rate for the bulk perpetual use.

Crew: We added a first assistant (who would also accompany the photographer on the tech/scout), as well as a second assistant. These rates were appropriate for the given market, and the rates the photographer’s assistants were accustomed to. I suggested to the photographer to bring on a separate person as digital tech, but the client pushed back on the crew footprint during Covid and the photographer was comfortable using his 2nd assistant to simply run a Capture One tether and backup files.

Equipment: We included $2,000 for cameras/grip/lighting, and a modest fee to cover the photographer’s computer set up to be used on set, and 2 hard drives.

Covid Safety: We included costs for 3 advanced Covid tests for the photography team, plus $75 for PPE.

Misc.: The location was about a 30-minute drive for the photography team. We added a line item to cover individual mileage for the 3 person team, parking, some additional meals, and a bit of buffer for any small unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Post Production: We included $1,500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction and provide a gallery of his favorite shots. The retouching estimate was based upon the photographer and creative team assuming each image would need roughly 2 hours of work. This would be billed at $125 per hour.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. The shoot was a success and images are out in the world currently!

Pricing & Negotiating: Industrial Images For Energy Company

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine< Concept: Images of employees at work in industrial settings

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of all images captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Industrial and Lifestyle Specialist

Client: Energy company

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: The client had three facilities across the country, and while the scope included one shoot day at each facility, the overall production including travel time would equate to a 10-day project. There wasn’t a defined shot list, but we knew the shoot would involve a combination of employee lifestyle images, and shots of the equipment within each facility as well. Rather than basing the fee on a certain number of setups/scenarios, I used previous knowledge of similar shoots to come up with a fee of $6,000 per shoot day, which felt right for the limited usage.

Crew: The load would be light, and the photographer only needed a first assistant for the production.

Equipment: We included $1,000 per shoot day for use of the photographer’s personal cameras, lenses, and grip.

Travel: I included appropriate rates based on local research for the 10-day production details in the job description

Misc.: This covered any unforeseen expenses that might arise during the production and while traveling.

Post Production: We anticipated about 20 images per location needing some basic processing, and we noted $100 per image, which would include up to 1 hour of retouching.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.