Category "Pricing & Negotiating"

Pricing & Negotiating: Product Interaction Shots for Beverage Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Professional talent interacting with various beverages in a residential property

Licensing: Collateral use of up to fiveย images for one year

Photographer: Food/beverage and portraiture specialist

Agency: Mid-sized, PR-oriented, based in the Northeast

Client: Beverage brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: We learned early on that the goal of this project was primarily toย create content for social media, and there was also the possibility of the images living on the clientโ€™s websiteย and being used for other collateral purposes. They only needed five shotsย and were willing to limit the usage duration to one year. These restrictions put downward pressure on the fee, as did the photographerโ€™s limited experience working on commercial productions. I felt that each image was worth $500-$750,ย andย on top of thatย I wanted to add $2-3k for the photographerโ€™s creative fee. I ultimately decided that $5,000 was appropriate for a combined creative/licensing fee given theย factors.

Photographer Scout Day: I included one day for the photographer to go see the location and do a walkthrough with the team. Typically Iโ€™d include a fee closer toย $1,000, but I had a feeling the budget would be tight on this project, and the photographer was willing to go with a $500 fee for this.

Assistants: The first assistant would double as the photographerโ€™s digital tech, and we included a second assistant as well for the oneย shoot day.

Producer: I included five days for a producer to help pull the project together and handle all bookings and logistical elements.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: I included one stylist to help prep the five talent we anticipated booking.

Wardrobe/Prop Styling: While I often break out these roles, I felt that given the minimal number of talent, a stylist could help arrange both of these elements, depending on the creative direction. I included appropriate shopping and return time for one stylist along with an assistant. I also included $500 per talent for wardrobe, and based on a conversation with the art producer at the agencyย I marked props as TBD which would be dependent onย the final creative direction and location provisions.

Location Scouting and Location Fees: I included three days for a scout to help find a location and to be the liaison to the homeowner on the shoot, and I marked the location fee at $3,500. Additionally, I included $500 to cover floor protection and cleaning supplies.

Casting and Talent: As a cost-saving measure, weโ€™d cast from cards rather than hold a live casting. Oftentimes Iโ€™d charge $500-$1,000 to handle this process, but we waivedย it and integrated the workย into the producerโ€™s time. I included $1,800 per talent based on a rate of $1,500+20% agency fee.

Equipment: This covered the photographer’s camera bodies, lenses, lighting, and grip equipment.

Catering: This was based on $65 per person for a light breakfast and lunch.

Production RV: I marked this as TBD, as itโ€™s nice to have for a production like this, but the location could also serve as a staging area. We planned to discuss the potential need or lack thereof after we had a sense of what the location options were.

Post Production: I included $300 for the photographer to do an initial edit and provide a gallery of content for the agency/client to consider, and $100 per image for basic color correction, file cleanup, and delivery.

Mileage, Parking, Additional Meals, Misc.: I included $500 to cover transportation and miscellaneous unforeseen expenses that might arise during the production.

Feedback: After submitting the estimate, we were told that they had a $25k budget, and we were asked to revise based on this. Fortunately, the agency was willing to handle location scouting as well as retouching, and we compiled a revised estimate based on this. In addition to addressing those items, we also marked the scout day for the photographer as TBD and reduced a day for the producer. While we couldn’t quite get down to $25k, we felt that dropping it to under $30k would still be in the ballpark. Here was the revised estimate:

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. During the pre-pro process, the agency requested two additional talent to match an updated shot list, which impacted talent fees, wardrobe costs, catering, and a few other misc. expenses. Additionally, after the agency chose a location and had a conversation with the prop stylist, they approved additional shopping days and prop costs. In total, they approved nearly $10k of overages.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any pricing and negotiatingย needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Patient Portraits for Regional Hospital Campaign

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Portraits of three people who received treatment from a hospital

Licensing:ย Unlimited regional use of up to 30 images for two years

Photographer:ย Portraiture specialist

Agency:ย Healthcare-focused

Client:ย Hospital

Here is the estimate:

July Pricing and negotiating

Creative/Licensing Fees:ย 

The agency identified three patients to feature in a regional advertising campaign to promote the hospital, and all of them would be photographed on one day at a single TBD location. We knew they hoped to license about 10 images per subject, howeverย it was more likely that one or two images per person would be used in any significant way.ย  Putting upward pressure on the fee was the unlimited use requested and their intent on using the images in print ads and on billboards. Downward pressure was placed on the fee due to the campaign’s geographical limitations, the likelihood they’d use just a few shots per person, and the duration of use capped at two years. One way I thought about it was per subject, basing the fee around $2,000 per person. Another approach was that perhaps the first set of images was worth $3,000, and the second and third sets were worth $1,500 each. Both approaches initially felt a bit low, howeverย Iโ€™ve priced a handful of similar projects recently, and given all of the factors,ย I knew a palatable fee would be somewhere between $5,000-$7,500 plus expenses. We wanted to be competitive, thus landing at $6,000 for the fee. The agency also asked us to give them an option for perpetual use, and I quoted that at an additional $12,000 ($18,000 total creative/licensing fee), which was three times the 2-year price.

Tech/Scout Day:ย This covered the photographers time to walk through and see the location prior to the shoot.

Pre-Production Days:ย While the concept was straightforward, the photographer would still need to spend a decent amount of time lining up the production, and this accounted for that time. Often, for a shoot like this, we include a producer to do pre-production work. However, many of the tasks were within the photographerโ€™s wheelhouse, and he had strong connections and the ability to line up the crew and coordinate logistics quickly on his own.

Assistants:ย We included a first assistant for both the shoot day andย the tech/scout day. We also included a second assistant for the shoot day to be an extra set of hands, and these rates were appropriate for the local crew in this area.

Hair/Makeup Stylist:ย We included one day to help with minor touchups and make sure the patients looked presentable. Iโ€™d typically aim higher on the rate, but again, this was appropriate for the crew in this particular city.

Wardrobe/Prop Stylist:ย The exact scenarios wereย still TBD for each patient, but we knew they would each participate in some activity that required a mix of supplemental wardrobe and props. In addition to the shoot day, I included a day to prep and a day to return wardrobe/props. I based the wardrobe/prop expense on $500 per scenario/talent.

Location Fee:ย We were initially told that the location should be non-descript, but based on the creative brief, it seemed as if a residential property would offer a few indoor and a few outdoor locations, and would be appropriate to help stage the shoot. Typically Iโ€™d include a location scout to help find such a property, but the shoot needed to happen very quickly, and the photographer was comfortable offering up a few houses of local family/friends, and we felt this rate would be adequate to reimburse their favor.

Production Supplies:ย This covered a few items to help reduce the footprint within the house, and to ensure that the crew and client had a place to set up shop.

Catering:ย This was based on $50 per person

Equipment:ย This covered the photographer’s own grip/lighting gear and cameras/lenses.

First Edit for Client Review:ย This covered the photographers time to do an initial edit on the content captured, and provide a web gallery for the client to choose from.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, and Delivery of 30 Selects by FTP:ย The post-production would be pretty minimal, and we based this on $50/image.

Mileage, Parking, Misc.:ย While likely not needed, this included just a bit of buffer for unforeseen expenses.

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: โ€œReal Peopleโ€ Lifestyle Images for Fashion Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of real people going about their day while wearing the brandโ€™s apparel

Licensing: Web Collateral and Web Advertising use of up to 30 images for one year

Photographer: Lifestyle and portrait specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Large clothing manufacturer

Here is the estimate:

Pricing and Negotiating Initial estimate

Creative/Licensing Fees: Five modelsย would be photographed over three shoot days in different cities, resulting in 30 total images (six images per subject). The usage was limited in duration to one year and limited in exposure to web ads and placement on the brandโ€™s website. It was clear in our conversations that theyโ€™d likely use one hero shot ofย each talent for web ads, and the rest would land in a gallery on their website. For each subject, I decided the first image would beย worth $1,500, the second imageย $750, the third $500, and the remaining ones $250. That amounted to $3,500, which I then multiplied by five to account for the number of subjects, arriving at a total of $17,500. Separately, I included a creative fee of $5,000 per shoot day. While I typically combine the creative and licensing fees, in this instance I decided to break it out. In addition to the photographer beingย accustomed to pricing this way, he was bringing something unique to the project, and I wanted to make sure the value of the contribution was detailed. Specifically, the photographer had recently completed a long-term personal project that resulted in a library of talent that theyโ€™d ultimately rely on forย casting (more on that later).

Pre-Production Day(s): There would be a fair amount of travel coordination and crew to line up. I decided three days would be appropriate for the photographer to line everything up.

Travel Day(s): The shoot would take place consecutively over the course of a week, with a day of travel before, after, and between each shoot day.

Casting Coordination Day(s):ย The photographer had amassed a huge library of talent with whom he collaborated and developed relationships with while working on a personalย long-term project, and heย planned to rely on that network to find talent for the thisย production. Thatย was, in fact, the main reason he was being considered for the project. We included two days of casting coordination for each city, allowing the photographer to reach out to talent prospects, fill them in on the project, gauge interest, present them to the agencyย and coordinate bookings.

Assistants: The photographer planned to travel with his first and second assistant, and I included the appropriate amount of travel and shoot days for each.

Hair/Makeup Stylist Day(s): We included one local stylist per day for each of the three cities.

Talent Fee(s): We decided ย $2,000 per person was appropriate to offer to models, and thisย fee was in line with rates we previously paid when working with โ€œreal peopleโ€ talent.

Location Fee(s)/Permits: While this was a bit of an unknown, we included $300 per subject to account for location fees and/or permits. Because it was initiallyย unclearย if weโ€™d be shooting in their workplace or out on the street,ย I wanted to make sure that at least a few hundred dollars would beย available to cover permitting for each subject.

Equipment: I included $1,000 per shoot day for the photographer’s own camera, grip, and lighting gear.

Airfare: This was based on research for one-way flights to each of the cities and then back home for the photographer and his two assistants.

Lodging: I based this on sixย nights, at $350 per night, for three rooms/people.

Per Diems: I included $75 per person per day for the photographer and his assistants to cover meals while traveling.

Van Rentals: This included transportation and fuel for two days in each city.

Lunch/Craft: We were initially told by the agency we wouldnโ€™t need to include catering but instead should budget for craft and a light lunch. I included $35/person.

Parking, Expendables, Misc.: I included $500 per shoot day to account for these items and other unexpected items.

First Edit for Client Review: This was based on $500 per shoot day. The feeย covered the photographerโ€™s time to do an initial pass of all the images and generate a web gallery for the agency to make selects from.

Retouching: This was based on $150 per image, which I anticipated would cover an hour of retouching for each subject.

Feedback: ย Even though the client requestedย a โ€œlean and meanโ€ shoot at first,ย it soon became clear that they wanted a higher level of production for theย project. We added a wardrobe stylist and a producer, both of whom would travel with the team. Considering the addition of a producer, weย decided to forgo the pre-pro days for the photographer and assign the logistical tasks to the producer.ย Additionally, a digital tech was requested, which we added as well. Instead of hiring another person to play to role of digital tech and budgeting for their travel, we decided that the first assistant would pull double duty. That meant we had to increase their rate, as well as travel expenses, accordingly. We were also asked to break out an option for two years of usage, which I priced at 50% of the one year rate for both the photographerโ€™s licensing fees and the talent fees. Lastly, the client requested that production insurance be included, and we based this on approximately 2% of the production expenses. At this point we had a better understanding of the client’s budget (around 130k), which we kept in mind and were fortunately able to stay within as well. Here was the revised estimate:

Here was the revised estimate:

Pricing Negotiating Final Quote

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610 260 0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing and Negotiating: Multi-City Portraits for Tech Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental portraits of employees in six cities

Licensing: Unlimited regional use of up to nine images for one year from first use.

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the South

Client: Technology company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: The goal was to capture environmental portraits of nine employees in front of various landmarks within six different cities. Three of the cities would focus on just one employee, and the photographer would capture two employees in each of the other three cities. All of the locations were within driving distance of one another.ย Upward pressure was placed on the fee due toย the unlimited use requested;ย however, we were able to limit the licensing to regional placement for just one year. The geographic reach was even more limited, with each image being advertised only within the city where the photo shoot took place. Considering this, I priced the first six images at $2,000 each, and the three photos of employees in the same location at $1,000 each. I then added $1,250/day as a creative fee for each of the six shoot days, which brought me to $22,500. It conveniently broke down to $2,500/image. I often increase the creative fee closer to $2,500-$5,000/day, but the nature of the project and my inclination to a tight budget made me err on the side of caution.

Pre-Production: I included five pre-pro days for the photographer to line up the projectย or for a producer to help with pre-pro work. It included three days to work with scouts in each location and two additional days to line up crew and make travel arrangements.

Assistants: I anticipated that the photographer would bring a first assistant (who would double as a tech) and a second assistant for the entirety of the trip/shoot.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: While the talent would be asked to arrive camera ready, we included a stylist for each of the six shoot days to help with touchups and manage light wardrobe adjustments as well.

Equipment: I included $500/day for a basic grip/lighting package that the photographer would bring, rather than renting.

Mileage, Parking, Misc: I included $100/day in mileage and $50/day in miscellaneous expenses for each day,ย then rounded down a bit.

Meals for Crew, Per Diems: This included $50/day for the photographer, first assistant, and second assistant โ€” covering each of their travel/shoot days. I added $30/day for lunch to cover the hair/makeup stylist. We anticipated half-day shoots at most, which is why we didnโ€™t initially include catering.

Lodging: I anticipated $250/night for two rooms, for six nights.

Location Scouting, Location Expenses, Permits: I included two and a half days per city for each of six cities. It was a challenge to estimate, and I initially anticipated at least three different scouts would be involved โ€” each of which could cover multiple locations, but we could have potentially needed a scout in each of the six cities depending on availabilities and the demands of the areas. They would have to make recommendations from their files, scout the location in person, pull permits, negotiate location fees if necessary, and potentially be on-set if needed. I felt 15 days total would cover the task collectively. I included $250 per city for miscellaneous expenses like mileage and meals that the scouts would likely incur. I included $500/city for permits and marked additional location fees as TBD because we wouldnโ€™t know of any additional costs until specific locations were dialed in. Some public spaces might only require a permit, but other โ€œrecognizableโ€ landmarks may need a location fee or a necessary payment to acquire a release. Other locations might not demand any permit depending on the local film office guidelines but could require a space for staging. I felt that the expenses we included were a good start based on the initial project description; however, we anticipated that weโ€™d have to re-address this as the scope of the project solidified.

First Edit for Client Review: I included $1,000 to account for the photographers time to go through the assets each day and compile web galleries for the agency to review.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, and Delivery: I included $100/image for basic post-production.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight: Initially, we discussed a relatively lean production level with the art buyer, assuming each day would likely be a half dayย and the client/agency contacts on site would be minimal. We ultimately received a lengthy list of attendees, and it became clear that they needed a higher level of production on-site. The photographer, therefore, brought on production assistants in each city to be dedicated to client services.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610 260 0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with anyย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing and Negotiating: Lifestyle shoot for Telecommunications Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of families interacting in a residential property

Licensing: Print Collateral use, Web Collateral use and Web Advertising use of up to 35 images for two years from file delivery.

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Telecommunications company

Here is the estimate:

 

Creative/Licensing Fees: There were approximately seven scenarios the agency hoped to capture, each focusing on different talent interacting in various setups around a house. They primarily planned to use the images for collateral and web advertising purposes, and in addition to excluding print advertising use, we were able to limit the usage to two years. I felt the first image was worth $3,000, the second and third worth $2,000 each, the fourth and fifth $1,000 each, and the sixth and seventh worth $500 each. That totaled $10,000, and I added a creative fee of $2,500 on top of that to reach $12,500. While they anticipated licensing 35 total images, it was clear that theyโ€™d be variations on a theme, with them likely walking away with one hero shot per setup, which is why I priced this by the scenario/setup and not by the image.

Tech/Scout and Pre-Pro Day: We included one tech/scout day for a walkthrough of the location before the shoot, and one pre-pro day for the photographer to line up his crew and prepare for his responsibilities detailed in the expenses.

Assistants and Digital Tech: The first assistant would attend both the shoot day and the tech/scout day, while the second assistant and the digital tech would attend the shoot.

Hair/Makeup Styling: We included a stylist and an assistant for the shoot day. Weโ€™d be working with real people, rather than professional talent, and the hair/makeup would likely be rather minimal.

Wardrobe Styling: The talent would be bringing their primary wardrobe, however, we included a wardrobe stylist to shop for supplemental clothing pieces before the shoot, and anticipated that theyโ€™d have an assistant attend the shoot and then help return any unused items. We also included $1,000 to cover the actual costs of the supplemental wardrobe.

Prop Styling: Itโ€™s always a bit of a challenge estimating prop styling for a shoot in a residential property without first seeing scouting photos or knowing the full scope of prop needs. Sometimes itโ€™s just about adding minor items into the scene or tweaking whatโ€™s already there, and other times major pieces of furniture need to be acquired and brought to set. In this case, we included four days for a prop stylist and an assistant, anticipating theyโ€™d need at least a day or two to shop, a day to be on set, and perhaps a day to accompany the team to the tech/scout to assess the location, in addition to making returns if needed. We marked these line items TBD, as well as the $2,500 prop budget we estimated.

Styling Expenses: This covered miscellaneous expenses primarily for the wardrobe and prop stylists related to the acquisition and transportation of their provisions.

Van Rental: The photographer would likely rent a van to help transport his equipment and his immediate crew to set.

Equipment: This covered a mix of the photographerโ€™s gear, as well as supplemental lighting/grip he would likely need to rent.

Mileage, Parking, Additional Meals, Misc.: ย This covered miscellaneous expenses for both the tech/scout day and shoot day, and also provided a bit of a safety net for unanticipated costs.

Delivery of Content on Hard Drive: All of the content would be provided to the client on a hard drive upon completion of the shoot.

Client Provisions: Detailed at the top of the estimate were all of the items that the client would provide, that would be necessary for such a production. These items/tasks included casting, talent, releases, location, permits, production coordination, catering/craft, production RV and all post processing/retouching.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project with only some negotiation regarding the shoot date.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with anyย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Headshots, Stills and Video

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Corporate headshots of 50 employees

Licensing: Unlimited use of all content captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Large, based in the Northeast

Client: Pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: At first, the project seemed rather straightforward. The request was to capture about 50 employee headshotsย against a solid background on one shoot day. While 50 people would be a lot to cram into one day, the client was in charge of scheduling the employees,ย and we discussed spending just a few minutes with each subject, so it seemed doable. The client/agency also requested unlimited use of all images captured in perpetuity.ย In this case, the images would primarily be displayed on a website with no intention of advertising use. Nonetheless, we were told that we could not limit the licensing in any way. Unfortunately, we see this quite often, whenย a clientโ€™s requested use varies drastically from their intended use.ย While I always do my best to limit usage whenย I can,ย I knew the client could easily find a photographer willing to grant unlimited use on a project like this. Taking that potential competition into mind, the photographer was willing to throw it all in and trust that the usageย would not escalate. Iโ€™ve quoted a lot of similar projects in the past, and Iโ€™ve had success starting with a fee of $1,500 and adding $100 per subject. In this case, that totaled $6,500.

Tech/Scout Day: The photographer planned to do a walkthrough of the location prior to the shoot to ensure that there would be adequate space, and to talk through the project with the client. We included $750 for their time to do so.

Assistants: The photographer would bring their first assistant along for the tech/scout day, and both the first assistant and a second assistant would attend the shoot day.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: We included one stylist to perform very light touchups of each subject prior to being photographed.

Equipment: This covered the cost of the photographerโ€™s own equipment, including two camera bodies and the lighting and grip that heโ€™d need for a basic setup.

Mileage, Parking, Misc.: The photographer was local, and this primarily covered parking and miscellaneous expenses that might pop up during the shoot day.

Delivery of Content on Hard Drive: Simply put, the photographer would provide the images on a hard drive to the client; this covered that expense.

Color Correction and File Cleanup: The agency planned to handle the retouching, as detailed in the job description, but asked for a cost to cover basic color correction and cleanup, should the photographer take on that task. We detailed a fee of $40/image for this if needed.

As we were compiling the above estimate, we were asked to also provide an estimate to addย video. In addition to the 50 headshots, they hoped to capture short videos of 12 leadership team members. There would be no speaking (and therefore no audio capture needed)ย but rather minor expression changes and small movements captured in a very short clip. We felt this necessitated an additional day, so we compiled an estimate for a two-day shoot. Shooting over two days was actually advantageous as it would allow forย more breathing room with the 50 portraits, and the ability to have them overflow on to the second day if needed, with half a day dedicated to the video. Here is that estimate:


For the creative/licensing fee, I added $1,500 for a modest creative fee to account for the additional day, and then added $200 per person for the video, which brought me to $10,400, and I then rounded up to an even $10,500. We increased the crew to account for the additional day, and increased equipment as well to $1,500 to cover extra equipment that the photographer might need to rent for the video. We also added a digital workstation rental at $750 so the client could see the video that was being captured of their leadership team, and the photographer planned to have his first assistant jump in to play the role of a digital tech in this regard. We increase our mileage/parking/misc. line to account for the second day, and kept the expense the same for the delivery of a hard drive.

Feedback: After speaking with their client, the agency reported backย and told us that rather than capturing headshots of 50 people, they wanted to focus primarily on the leadership team. They asked for a new estimate to capture individual portraits and short videos of just the 12 members of the leadership team, plus a group shot of 20 people. After speaking about the reduction/change with the photographer, and knowing the client’s intended use and desire to keep costs down (ideally under 10k), we decided to include a creative licensing fee of $5,000. This was loosely based on a $1,500 fee plus $300 per person and then rounded down a bit to make it more palatable. We made a few other small tweaks to equipmentย and were asked by the agency to add basic post-processing of 8 portraits, which we included in the following estimate:

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Portraits for a Fashion Accessory Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: 6 subjects photographed against a solid background wearing fashion accessories                                                                                          

Licensing: Unlimited use of 12 images for 6 months

Photographer: Portraiture specialist on the East Coast

Client: A fashion accessory brand                                                                       

Here is the estimate:

Pricing and Negotiating Example of a Contract by Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer at Wonderful Machine

Creative/Licensing Fees: The client asked the photographer to bid on a project for the brandโ€™s new campaign, despite having little to no creative brief. The client saw a picture they liked in the photographerโ€™s portfolio, and wanted to accomplish a similar aesthetic while integrating their product. We knew that they envisioned photographing 3 men and 3 women, all in a similar setup against a solid background, and they hoped to walk away with 2 images for each subject, totaling 12 final shots.

Initially, the usage was described to us as primarily being focused on social media, placement on their website, limited print advertisements and a mix of other guerilla style postings out-of-home, all for 6 months. When I discussed the usage with the client, it became clear that they wanted unlimited use during this time frame, despite the limited intended use they described. On one hand, the usage did seem quite limited, especially in duration, but on the other hand, the prominent brand would likely take out ads in high profile publications, and would likely pay a lot for their ad buy. Additionally, downward pressure was put on the fee due to the photographerโ€™s limited experience working with such a brand, his eagerness to collaborate, the simple nature of the project, and the likelihood that only one or two images might see the light of day in advertisements, as most of the images would likely just end up on their website and on social media for a short duration.

After weighing all the factors, and based on the clientโ€™s intended use, I initially priced each of the first 6 images at $1,500 each, and then each of the additional 6 images (the second portrait for each subject) at $750 each, which brought me to $13,500.  My gut instinct based on other similar projects was that a fee between $10k-$15k would be appropriate for the day, and based on this experience and the eagerness of the photographer to get the job, we ended up going with $12,000, which broke down to $1,000/image if you look at it that way.

Travel and Pre-Production Day(s): The shoot would take place across the country, and the photographer would need a full travel day to fly there, and a full travel day to fly back. I also included one pre-production day for the photographer to book travel, wrangle crew and go through the paces with the client prior to the shoot. Typically Iโ€™d include a producer to help with these tasks and to handle the coordination of the entire project, but the client planned to coordinate many of the elements for this project, and the photographers was comfortable with just 1 day of prep to handle his tasks.

Assistant and Digital Tech Day(s): The photographer would be bringing an assistant with him, and hiring another one locally. Iโ€™d typically anticipate that the traveling assistant would be the โ€œfirst assistantโ€ and the local would most likely be the โ€œsecond assistantโ€, but we flipped that in this case, as the photographerโ€™s traveling assistant gave him a favorable rate for the three days out of town. We included one day for the digital tech, anticipating $500 for their day, plus another $500 for a basic workstation.

Hair/Makeup Stylist and Assistant Day(s): The client said that they had a few people in mind for hair/makeup styling who they planned to hire directly, but asked us to provide a sense of cost if they wanted the photographer to handle this. So, we therefore detailed TBD prices that didnโ€™t impact the bottom line.

Studio Rental: This was based on feedback from a few local studios that we contacted to discuss rates and availabilities.

Equipment: While the photographer would be traveling with a bit of gear, heโ€™d still need to rent a decent amount upon arrival, and this rate was primarily based on quotes received from the studios to provide such equipment.

Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental: I used Kayak.com to price appropriate travel expenses for the photographer and his assistant.

Parking, Per Diems, Misc.: This included $60/day/person as a per diem for the photographer and his assistant while traveling, plus $50/day in miscellaneous and unforeseen expenses.

First Edit for Client Review:  This covered the time it would take for the photographer to do an initial pass on the images, and provide the client with a gallery of images to consider

Retouching: This was based on a post processing rate of $150/hour, assuming two hours per image for each of the 12 images.

Insurance: We included this expense to help the photographer increase and maintain an appropriate policy.

Results: The client asked for two revisions. First, they decided to put hair/makeup responsibilities on the photographer, and asked that we send a revised estimate including those expenses, which was not a problem at all. Second, they asked if they could get 1 year usage for the 6 month price we quoted. I typically donโ€™t recommend giving up something for nothing in return, but based on my previous experience with similar projects/budgets, and given how eager the photographer was to get the project, we decided to accept their offer. We submitted a revised estimate, and the photographer was awarded the project.

A few days later we were told that the client might want to add an additional day to the production, to capture a few additional shots with different talent, and with a slightly different background/setup. Specifically, they hoped to capture 3 subjects, with this additional day yielding 10 more images. Initially we were told that they only had $13,000 for this additional day, including all associated fees/expenses.

After calculating some rough numbers, I knew we werenโ€™t going to be able to hit that, so I gave them a ring to negotiate. I learned that they could limit the usage to Web Collateral use and placement in up to 10 window displays of 3rd party retailers. This was a big jump down from the Unlimited use we were previously granting them. With this in mind, we submitted the following estimate:

Pricing and Negotiating Example of a Contract by Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer at Wonderful Machine

We landed on $6,000 for this additional day/usage which was appropriate considering all of the factors. We also detailed the associated expenses with the additional day. We removed the first assistant (while essentially marking it as TBD) since the photographer didnโ€™t feel theyโ€™d be needed on the second day consider the lighting setup would be similar to the first day, and his second assistant and tech could lend a hand as a cost savings measure. We increased equipment a bit for this additional day to account for a specific background the client wanted to procure, and included appropriate travel expenses in addition to more post processing time.

The overage for the additional day was approved, and the photographer quickly launched into pre-production to line everything up.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Architectural Images for International Hotel Chain

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Interior and exterior architectural images of seven hotel properties

Licensing:ย Web Collateral and Web Advertising use of up to 56 images in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Architectural specialist

Agency:ย Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client:ย A hotel brand part of a larger international hospitality conglomerate

Here is the estimate:

Estimate for Architectural Images for International Hotel Chain

Creative/Licensing Fees:ย When the project first landed on my desk, it was similar to a lot of hospitality projects in that the brand wanted a mix of images showcasing everything their hotels have to offer. The creative brief initially encompassed architectural images, lifestyle shots, food, amenities, and more. In my experience, many agencies that propose similar shoots are typically biting off more than they can chew, and their budgets typically donโ€™t align with reality. After learning more about the project and discussing what it would take to accomplish a production of that scale in multiple locations, I was ultimately happy to hear that they decided to focus the efforts of this particular project on just acquiring architectural images, and putting the lifestyle shots on hold. That being said, they had seven different properties, three of which were in foreign countries, and they had a very specific style of black and white photography that they hoped to achieve.

In discussing what was feasible in one shoot day, we landed on eight shots per hotel as a reasonable deliverable. They were willing to limit the usage to web advertising and web collateral use (mostly their website and social media), although they did request perpetual use. On one hand, I wanted to start around a few thousand dollars per image, however I also knew that the photographer would be up against other architectural photographers (both domestic and abroad), and we wanted to make it appealing for them to hire one photographer, rather than several. Additionally, it was likely that theyโ€™d use just one or two of the images in a more robust way on their website, and many of the shots would ultimately just fall to social media. While the parent company of the hotel chain was one of the largest in the industry, this particular hotel chain was a smaller brand in their portfolio, and I had a sense they might not have what we wanted in terms of a creative/licensing fee within their budget. Based on the photographer’s experience working with this agency for some of their other clients, and on my experience on similar projects with other brands, we landed on $24,500, which ultimately broke down to $3,500/hotel.

Travel/Scout Days:ย The first four shoots would be at hotels within the US, and we anticipated one travel/scout day prior to each shoot. We then anticipated a full travel day and a full scout day prior to each of the international locations (which helped to account for limited flights, travel delays and more extensive travel time), followed by one travel day back home.

Pre-Production Day(s):ย In addition to lining up all of the travel plans, the photographer would also need to communicate with each of the hotel chains and essentially plan seven different small productions, and this covered all of the time involved to handle that workload.

Assistant Days(s):ย The photographer would bring their assistant with them, rather than hiring locally, and this included 7 shoot days and 11 travel/scout days.ย While it would have been cheaper to hire local assistants and not include the expense for their travel, sourcing crew (especially internationally) would unnecessarily add to the photographer’s workload. Additionally, working and traveling with a single assistant who understood the project just as well as the photographer would help to streamline communications and execution.

Airfare:ย This covered one-way flights to/from each location, and I used Kayak.com to help research pricing. When estimating projects like this, I typically add 15% to the cost of a ticket to account for price fluctuation, and also add around $100 in baggage fees per person to account for equipment and oversized/overweight items.

Lodging and Meals:ย The agency specifically asked us to mark this as TBD and not include this in the bottom line of our estimate. We were comfortable doing so for the lodging since we assumed the hotels could provide accommodations, and while we anticipated that meals could be covered within the hotel property, we still included additional funds for supplemental meals while in transit in the per diem line items below.

Equipment:ย The photographer owned all the gear they would need to bring, and we based the charge on $1,000/day, factoring in a discount of 3 days equaling a weekly rental, times two weeks.

Car Rental and Local Transportation:ย I included $350 for each of the domestic trips and $450 for each of the international trips to account for car rentals, taxis, and other modes of transportation needed for each shoot.

Per Diems, Parking, Carnets, Misc.:ย I included $50/day/person as a per diem, and anticipated at least another $1,000 would need to be spent on other miscellaneous expenses that would arise during the productions and while traveling.

Shoot Processing for Client Review:ย I included $250 per shoot for the photographer to do an initial pass on the images, and provide the agency with a gallery of images to consider.

Post Processing Day(s):ย I initially anticipated that weโ€™d charge at least $100 per image, but it felt a little light, and I knew that it would take the photographer the better part of a week to handle the post for this shoot, so I included 6 post processing days, rather than basing it on a per image rate.

Results:ย We were asked to provide the client with the cost difference between this estimate and one where each of the domestic shoots would be independent trips, followed by a trip to capture the international locations consecutively. We determined it would add roughly $6,000 worth of travel expenses and additional travel days for the photographer and their assistant. The client opted to go with our initial proposal, and the photographer was awarded the project.ย As for lodging and meals, the client did end up providing accommodations and meals on-site.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Testimonial Video for Camera Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Video interview of a photographer and a retoucher

Licensing:ย Web Collateral use in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Portrait and fashion specialist

Client:ย Photographic equipment and software company

Here is the estimate:

image of the photographic estimate for a video interview of a photographer and retoucher

Director/Talent Fee:ย In addition to a successful career in commercial photography, the photographer was well known in the education community, and was a brand ambassador for a handful of equipment manufacturers. One of the companies he frequently collaborated with was designing a website for a new product and wanted to feature a video of the photographer and his retoucher talking about the product on the landing page. The photographer would direct the video, and would also be the on-camera talent along with his retoucher. The fee needed to take into account the photographerโ€™s directorial input, along with a fee for them to use his likeness, as well as a usage fee. I started at $3,000 for a director fee and added $2,000 to account for both the licensing and the usage of his likeness. I had wanted to add a bit more to the licensing/talent fee, however, based on other similar projects the photographer had worked on, and his relationship with this brand, I felt that $5,000 would likely be the maximum fee palatable for this client.

Retoucher Talent Fee, Travel Days and Travel Expenses:ย In addition to a talent fee of $1,000 (which the photographer knew would be acceptable to his retoucher, and not far off from what weโ€™d expect to pay as a โ€œreal peopleโ€ talent rate), we included two travel days since the retoucher was based in a different city and would need to travel in for the project. Airfare, lodging, and car rental expenses were based on research, and I included $75/day for meals while traveling.

Studio Rental:ย The photographer owned his own studio, and we charged a modest rate for its use.

DP/Videographer:ย While the photographer was certainly capable of shooting this kind of project, heโ€™d be the on-camera talent, and couldnโ€™t do both at the same time. Weย included this fee to bring on another person to film the testimonial. This person, along with the help of his assistant would also help capture audio.

Grip/Assistant:ย We included anย assistant to lend a hand on set with equipment, audio, and other miscellaneous tasks.

Equipment:ย The photographer owned all the gear needed for the project, and we charged appropriately for its use.

Meals, Production Supplies, Misc.:ย I include $50/person for meals, plus $100 for misc. unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Video Editing:ย We knew that the client wanted two separate videos,ย each twenty seconds in length. Other than length,ย the exact parameters were vague at the time of estimating so we erred on the side of caution and included $2,000 to cover 2 days of the photographerโ€™s and retoucherโ€™s time to collaborate on the edit together.

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight:ย Given how quickly the project was awarded, I do wonder if we could have aimed a bit higher on either the fees or overall bottom line.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Food, Product, and Lifestyle Library Shoot for a New Cookware Product Launch

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Food, product, and lifestyle library shoot for a new cookware product launch

Licensing:ย Unlimited use of 80 images in perpetuity, Owned-Social Media use of an additional 100 images in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Food and lifestyle specialist

Client:ย A Large Multi-National Brand

Here is the estimate:

Screenshot of a redacted real-world photographic estimate

Creative/Licensing:ย The creative called for a narrative approach to a series of casual family/friend gatherings, revolving around a meal and meal prep, at 3-4 residential locations. The photographer would be tasked with capturing the lifecycle of the meal, from ingredient details to recipe process shots, to product details, to kitchen lifestyle, to plated dishes, to lively dining experiences, and everything in between. Basically documenting a fun dinner party, four times over to cover a variety ofย recipes, locations, and demographics.
This was a somewhat unique ask from a licensing standpoint. The client wanted a reasonable number of โ€œheroโ€ or โ€œlibraryโ€ images, 20 per day, to include in their brand library and about 25 outtakes per day (really subtle variations of the “heroesโ€) for owned social media use only. 45 images/day may (or may not) seem crazy, but we were sure to set appropriate expectations and explain that 25 of those, if not more, would fall squarely in the realm of โ€œsubtle variation.โ€ With the client duly informed and in alignment, and based on how the photographer stages and shoots, and the narrative nature of the shot list/creative, she was confident she could deliver the 20 โ€œheroesโ€ and requisite outtakes.

This was a rare instance when a client not only provided a budget, but provided aย reasonableย budget. Though they were asking for “library” or unlimited use, the lion’s share of the images would be used in sales materials and brochures for the product. The occasional shot might find its way into an ad, but for the most part, the usage would be below the line. Normally, we might start a library day rate, including usage, around $7,500-$10,000, and push up (or down) from there based on the specifics. In this case, there was a limit on the number of images (which is not always the case for โ€œlibraryโ€ shoots), a somewhat limited intended use, four consecutive days of shooting, and a fixed budget. As the industry continues to shift and evolve, we see these pressures/forces often and, unfortunately, have been conditioned to presume that the rates must be “discountedโ€ accordingly. This wasnโ€™t exactly a unicorn of a project, but it was close. The scale of the brand, volume of work, and scope of use called for a healthier rate, which we set at $65,000 (a shade off $16k/day). Fortune, and a realistic client smiled on us and the budget could bear the fees.

Photographer Pre-Production and Tech/Scout Days:ย We donโ€™t often include straight pre-production days for photographers, but in this case, they were needed. We were working with an amazing, collaborative clientย without an agency. Even though the client knew what they wanted, and were pretty well buttoned up, during the initial conversations, it became clear that there would be a fair amount of conceptualization and oversight required of the photographer. Accordingly, we included four days of pre-production time to cover her considerable involvement in the lead-up to the shoot. We also included one tech/scout day for the location walk-throughs the day before the shoot.

Producer Days, Production Coordinator and PA Days:ย This was a substantial production: eight talent per day, three locations, product inventory, a total daily headcount around 30 clients, talent, and crew. Sort of an all hands on deck situation. We included a producer and production coordinator toย oversee all the moving pieces for the fairly straightforwardย but relatively large production. Though they worked as a team, the producer ran the show, directing the coordinator through pre-production and clearly delineating roles during the shoot. We also included a PA to help out on the tech/scout day, shoot days and a wrap day.

Photo Crew:ย With the creative relying on a fair amount on available light, we wentย with the photographerโ€™s preferred first assistant, second assistant,ย and digital tech, with the PA as a swing assistant as needed. The first and second assistant both had an extra day included so that the could help out with gear prep and wrap. The tech and her workstation would only be covered for the four shoot days, but the photographer asked that she attend the tech/scout and covered her day rate out of pocket.

Equipment:ย Though we were reliant on available light to a degree, with such a large production hinging on somewhat uncontrollable environmental factors, we needed to make sure we could replicate daylight, and light the entire scene if need be. This meant a healthy amount of lighting and grip equipment. We also factored in a medium format camera system and a few production supplies like pop-tents, tables,ย and chairs. Like most rental houses, our local shop offered โ€œthree days, same as a weekโ€ rates, meaning that we only paid for three days of rentals despite having the gear for six days.

Post:ย We quoted the post a little differently than I typically would. The photographerโ€™s first assistant was actually on staff and managed most of the photographer’s post-productionย work. This gave her a fair amount of flexibility in post pricing, and also allowed her to quote/bill for it a little differently. Based on lengthy conversations about post expectations, we determined that, at the most, it would require ten days of her assistant’s time to handle the retouching. However, even though she had that luxury, we also had to prepare for the possibility that, despite a pretty generous post schedule, another project might come up, forcing her to outsource the post. Given the volume, ~80-100 hours, we were confident that many of our retoucher contacts would be glad to take the project on what amounted to about a $100/hr rate.

Location:ย The client wanted to shoot in four distinct residential settings, three inside the home/kitchen/dining room and one outside on a residential patio or in a backyard. Our local scout quoted us five days of scouting and five days of location management at $750/day plus $3,000/day for each location. We donโ€™t always need a location manager, but with such a large crew we wanted to make sure we had one on set to ensure it was returned as it was found. We also included a location RV, primarily for hair/makeup and wardrobe styling. Weโ€™d be able to set up props, catering, etc.ย under tents in the driveways.

Styling:ย We were looking for realย peopleย to be enjoying their family/friends and food in authentic,ย luxurious spaces. We budgeted for an excellent team of wardrobe stylists, propย stylists, and food stylists to set the stage and build a believable, authentically layered scene. We also included the cost for the requisite assistants, prep/return time, supplemental props, wardrobe, and food.

Casting and Talent:ย Our local castingย agentย provided a quote for a three day live casting event, including prep and the costs for real people lifestyle talent. We would usually expect to pay a bit more for talent, but most of the models would be booked for multiple days, and the nature of the shoot (food being the main focus)ย meant that weย were mostly looking forย background talent rather than principals.ย We also included a talent payroll service to cover talent paymentsย to ensure that we were complying with all of the tax and insurance regulations.

Catering, Insurance,ย and Misc:ย We estimated $50 per person per day for breakfast and lunch and $250/day for craft services. We also include insurance to cover the premiums for the gross production costs and a miscellaneous line to cover local transportation, working meals, and any other expenses that were sure to come up.

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project and subsequently photographed another market-specific production for the same product line.

Hindsight:ย The food prep became a little more complicated and messy than weโ€™d hoped. We could have added rented kitchen equipment or a catering truck to manage the food prep off-set. Otherwise, the production went off without a hitch!

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with anyย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Marketing Materials for a Real Estate Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Cityscape images capturing the vibe of a neighborhood as well as portraits of the residents and business owners

Licensing:ย Unlimited use of 20 images in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Portrait and landscape specialist

Agency:ย Design firm in California

Client:ย Real estate and property management company

Here is the estimate:

image of redacted photographic bid for a case study in pricing and negotiating by Wonderful Machine Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer

Creative/Licensing:ย The design firm was establishing the branding for their clientโ€™s new real estate development and intended to use a variety of landscape images of the neighborhood and portraits of people within the community in their marketing materials. They anticipated a need for 10 neighborhood shots and 10 environmental portraits and had originally requested b-roll video content to be captured as well. The design firm hoped to capture everything in 1-2 days, and while they would provide the talent without any need for styling, we recommended a 3-day shoot considering the logistics and timing needed to capture everything, and presented a comprehensive estimate.

While the requested licensing was for unlimited use of 20 images in perpetuity, the intended use was limited to their website and various collateral purposes. Considering the limited intended use and my experience estimating projects for similar clients, I based the licensing fee on $500/image, plus $3000 for the video, and separately broke out the photographerโ€™s creative fee for each of the three shoot days. The photographer also planned to scoutย the area beforehand and handle some basic prep, so we included a fee for a pre-production day as well.

Assistants and Digital Tech:ย I included a first assistant and a second assistant on each of the three days who would lend a hand with grip/lighting and help keep the pace as the shoot moved from spot to spot within the neighborhood. I also included a digital tech for each of the shoot days, and in addition to a $500 fee for each day, I added another $500 per day for their laptop workstation.

Producer:ย The producer would be responsible for booking the crew, collaborating to develop a schedule, acquiring permits, and figuring out the best plan for meals, and we felt that 2 days would be sufficient to help line everything up. In an attempt to keep the crew lean and mean on set, we didย not include them on the actual shoot days. While they would have been helpful on-site during the shoot, we were asked to keep the team as small as possible, and the photographer felt that he could do without them once the details were all lined up.

Permits:ย We included $500 to help cover fees charged by the local film office to issue a shooting permit.

Equipment:ย The photographer primarily relied on natural light along with a minimal lighting system for the portraits, and we included $500/day to cover his own gear. It was a bit on the low end, but we anticipated their budget would be tight, and the photographer was comfortable charging a nominal fee in order to keep the bottom line modest.

DP/Videographer and Video Equipment:ย We included a DP at $1,500/day to capture the b-roll content, and a similar equipment budget as we anticipate for the photography. The exact parameters for the video were still in the works, but based on the conversations up until this point and their minimal needs, we did not anticipate that an audio tech or any extra sets of hands would be necessary for the video.

Parking, Meals, Misc.:ย I included $100/day for a light lunch plus $50/day for parking and miscellaneousย expenses for each of the three days.

Post Processing:ย $500 would be dedicated to the photographerโ€™s initial import, edit, and presentation of the images to the client. Once the design firm made their selects, we included $100/image for basic color correction and processing for each of the 20 final images.

Video Editing:ย Since the scope of their video needs was still developing, the agency wasnโ€™t able to articulate the total run time or style of an edit they might want, so we marked the editing as TBD.

Feedback:ย In an effort to be more budget conscious, the design firm asked what we might be able to do in order to keep productionย to two days. We felt that if we were to streamline the schedule and remove the video component of the project we could squeeze the shoot into two days by capturing five portraits per day and shooting as many cityscape images as possible while in transition from one location to another. We submitted a revised estimate that reduced the days for the crew (except the producer prep days) and adjusted appropriately for equipmentย andย expenses. The licensing fees also came down a bit and the DP was removed since the video was stripped away, and all of these changes brought the bottom line down to a place we felt would be more palatable for the client.

Here is the revised estimate:

image of redacted photographic bid for a case study in pricing and negotiating by Wonderful Machine Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project. Since the request for video wasnโ€™t fully fleshed out, the client didnโ€™t seem to mind us removing that element, especially since it allowed the project to be executed within two days, and ultimately help reduce the bottom line.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Comparing Two Bids with Identical Concepts

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Employee profileย in multiple workplace situations

Client A:ย Fortune 500 professionalย servicesย and consulting company

Client B:ย Fortune 500 insurance company

Here are the estimates:

screenshot of a pricing estimate for a professional services and consulting company

Estimate for Client Aย 

screenshot of a pricing estimate for a large insurance company

Estimate for Client Bย 

I thought it mightย be interesting to present two bids for very similar projects, in similar markets, shot by comparably experienced photographers, for two different Fortune 500 companies with wildly different bottom lines.

One client (A) was a professional services and consulting company, the other (B) was a large insurance company. Both concepts were nearly identical – profile an employee, shoot in a few different situations in/around the workplaceย in an “editorial style,” with a change or two of wardrobe ranging from street clothes to active-wear to business attire. The resulting imagery wouldย effectively be the same from both shoots.

There was a subtle but significant disparity in the usage; Client B required more limited use (just Web Collateral) of an unspecified number of imagesย forย one year.ย Client A required aย slightly broader use (Collateral and Publicity)ย of an unspecified number of images for a much longer duration (forever). Despite not being willingย to limit the usage to a specific number of images, they both expressedย reasonable expectations, 3-5 finished images. Generally, we prefer limiting the usage to a set number of images, but considering the nature of the concepts and usage, it was pretty clear that whatever value they might be able to squeeze out, the entire shoot would be limited by the fact that we were shooting just one subject in 2-3 different scenarios. The variations would be subtle and likely wouldnโ€™t generate a significant amount of value relative to the hero images. As such, we were comfortable foregoing the limitation on the number of images in both cases.

The other divergence was in the production expectations, which varied quite a bit.ย Client A expectedย a low-impact, editorial-style approach, while Client B expected a more comprehensive approach with a fair amount of production support, replete with a tech/scout day, stylist, digital tech, supplemental wardrobe, and catering.

What’s most interesting and noteworthy is the difference in the overall budget allocated, and specifically the photography fees. Bear in mind these are two companies that operate on the same scale. We were only able to muscle out a $1,800 creative fee fromย Client A, including the more extensive usage. Our first bid was more than double the bottom line shown here and we were ultimately presented with a take it or leave it budget. On the other hand, Client B accepted a $5,500 creative fee for more limited usage.

There are countless justifications for the discrepancy. Organizational structure, intended use (passive profile page vs. anย internal campaign), the importance of the subject, fiscal timing (one may have had money to burn, who knows), audience (consumer, trade, internal, external, etc.) all factor into the value a client attributes to any given project.

Licensing value is subjective, driven more-so by the client’s expectations than anything else. Until weย determine otherwise, weย approach each potential project and bidย with the assumption that the client hasย highย expectations for quality and a budget to match. From there, we sometimesย whittle down as needed to land the gig, while avoiding the pitfalls of underbidding (leaving money on the table, doing more production work than agreed to, etc.).

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach outย byย email. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Still Life Images for a Home Goods Brand

Julia Hanley, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Still life images of a consumer product

Location:ย A studio in a major market

Licensing:ย Out-of-Home,ย Print Advertising,ย and Web Advertising use of up to five hero images and ten insert images in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Still life specialist

Client:ย A large US-based home goods brand

Here is the estimate:

PDF of pricing and negotiating estimate for a US American home goods brand

Creative/Licensing:ย The agency came to us with five distinct conceptual ads, each of which featured one hero image portraying a single product in use, accompanied by two to three smaller images (referred to as “insert images” by the agency) showcasing specific features of each product. Additionally, each ad incorporated conceptual text/copy that would need to be created in post via CGI.

Each conceptual still life scene was uniqueย and involved a complicated set in terms of the design and prop elements. For each set, we had toย incorporate both 3D layout copy and create an effect where the set began to blend into the studio background. In order to execute the desired effects, we would need a top-tier prop styling team in addition to supplementing with CGI in post. The use of CGI would enhance the three-dimensional textย and the textured background elements.

The agency requested out-of-home, print advertising, and web advertising use of the final ads in perpetuity. I considered factors that increased the overall value of the images, such as the brand’s name recognition, the photographerโ€™s expertise and creative input, the usage requirements and uniqueness of each ad,ย etc. Based on previous experiences and similar projects, we determined the appropriate creative/licensing fee to be $41,000, which broke down to $8,200 for each final ad.

Pre-Light Day(s):ย Due to the technical lighting needed for the various sets, we included one pre-light day at the studio space for the photographer and incorporated this day throughout the estimate for the crew.

Producer Day(s):ย I estimated four prep days, one pre-light day, three shoot days, and one wrap day for the producer. We expected a large amount of pre-production in a short windowย to hire a crew, book a studio, rent equipment, manage talent, etc. The producer would also help manage the CGI post-production components.

Assistants and Digital Tech:ย I included two assistants for the shoot days and pre-light day and a digital tech for an equal amount of days. The digital tech’s fee also included the cost of theirย workstation and kit.

Studio Rental and Equipment:ย We’d need ample space to work within, which didn’t come cheap in this market. A studio in this major market can range from $1,500-$3,000/day. We included $3,000/day for a studio to account for one pre-light day and three shoot days, and an additional $2,000/day for grip and lighting equipment.

Prop Stylist, Assistant, and Props:ย Each hero image involved sophisticated prop styling as well as minor set design skills. Although the sets consisted of simple materials, it would require a seasoned professional to pull off such sophisticated styling, so I wanted to be sure the stylist had the assistance and prep time needed to source the necessary items. Being a New York-based prop stylist, it is not unusual that the price is higher as stylists cost more in bigger markets, on top of a typical agency fee. I estimated two prep days, one pre-light day, three shootย days, and one day of returns for the prop stylist,ย and included an assistant for one of those prep days, each shoot day and one day of returns.

Wardrobe Stylistย and Wardrobe:ย The wardrobe stylist’s fee and wardrobe expense covered one day of prep, one day on set, and one day of returns. The wardrobe specs were very straightforward, with minor shopping needed, and covered one unrecognizable talent for a half-day.

Casting and Talent Day(s):ย We had to cast one adult male, from cards, for a half-day on set as unrecognizable talent. Because of this, we negotiated a modest fee for the talent, inclusive of unlimited use.

Post Production (Retouching Hours, CGI Rendering, CGI Contingency, File Transfer, Hard Drives):ย We received three different quotes (and treatments) from CGI artists. The CGI rendering fee was based on one of the quotes we received, determined by the number of shots, the complexity of the scenes, and the deadline for images (which was a tight turnaround). Because of these factors, we incorporated a rush fee and a contingency fee, in case we exceeded the estimated number of retouching hours or needed to pull in additional resources to meet the agency’s deadline.

Catering/Craft:ย Catering/Craft covered three days on set with as many as 10-12 people on set per day.

Insurance:ย This covered a policy that would meet the requirements of the agency, based on an industry standard rate of approximately 2% of the production expenses.

Parking/Shipping/Tolls/Misc.:ย Finally, we included a miscellaneous fee to cover some costs that may be incurred during the pre-light day and any last-minute production costs that could arise.

Feedback:ย Although the art buyer assured us that our numbers were competitive, it came down to creative preference and they decided to move forward with a different photographer.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach outย by email. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Usage Extension of an Existing Lifestyle Library

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Original Shoot Concept:ย Real People Lifestyle Library License Extension

Licensing:ย 1-year extension for 48 images Web Collateral use

Photographer:ย Established Midwestern portrait, youth culture, and fashion specialist

Client:ย National For-Profit College

Here’s the quote:

When negotiating a given agreement, one is often faced with the challenge of balancing a clientโ€™s budget, their licensing requirements, and the intended use. As you no doubt have experienced, those three donโ€™t often align. And just about as often, the client is resolute on the terms and unwilling to budge on any of those points. However when a negotiating window does open, Iโ€™ve found the limitation presenting the greatest upside on the backend is the duration, provided itโ€™s short enough on the front end.

Certainly, there are instances when limiting the scope and image count can present a terrific opportunity for future revenue, and you should always press for limitations on those. But generally speaking, by the time weโ€™re talking with a client, theyโ€™ve got a really good idea of how many images they need and how they plan to use them and arenโ€™t likely to be open to limiting either. However, in spite of having a firm grasp on their intended usage, most clients can only anticipate, plan and budget for that use within a relatively short time horizon, typically a year or two. Beyond that, the additional duration theyโ€™re requesting is usually for peace of mind and not a concrete intention. This, combined with the facts that new budget is usually made available annually and the staying power of a given set of images is uncertain, clients are occasionally open to limiting the duration of use.

In 2015, Iย shared a postย about a four-day library shoot, including unlimited use of the imagery for about 2.5 years. Just before the license was set to expire, we followed up with the client to see if they were interested in extending the usage. Unlike the initial agreement which included the license to all images, at this point the client was only interested in renewing the licensing to a subset of the library, 48 images, for just one additional year, and for Web Collateral use only.

Normally, we might have discounted the additional year along the same curve that we build out the majority of quotes (a doubling of duration yields a 50% increase in value, ie. 1year = x, 2 years = 1.5x, etc). Usually, that equation is applied on the front end when the value is less-than-certain to all parties. On the back-end, leverage shifts. Now the images are a โ€œknown quantityโ€ and have enough value to the client to seek additional use. In this case, the approach we took was to simply prorate based on the original quote and duration, which came to $16,000 per year. Finally, we had to consider the pricing ceiling,ย which would be the cost to produce a new project substantial enough to generate 48 unique location-specific lifestyle images. Itโ€™s safe to say that would be considerably more costly than our re-use quote, so we werenโ€™t in any real jeopardy of the client considering a re-shoot alternative.

Although it is becoming increasingly difficult, limiting licensing is an integral component of a sustainable commercial photography business model and can generate continual opportunities for residual income such as this. So keep pressing for limitations, on every project, and you may be able to generate these opportunities for yourself.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Lifestyle Images for a Non-Profit Organization

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Images of volunteers and foundation members interacting

Location:ย An office and a TBD social setting in a European city

Licensing:ย Work-made-for-hire

Photographer:ย Portrait and lifestyle specialist

Client:ย A large US-based non-profit organization

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing:

While the exact scope of the project was initially vague, the client hoped to capture images of their employees and volunteers in variousย scenariosย over two shoot days at one of the foundationโ€™s office locations and an additional social setting in a European city. The locations, talent, and production coordination would be the responsibility of the client, and theyย needed a photographer with minimal crew to capture everyone interacting.

On one hand, it seemed pretty straightforward, but on the other hand, the request came with a creative brief showing usage of the images on billboards along with a contract stating that the project would need to be on a work-made-for-hire basis (meaning, the copyright of the images would belong to the client). A handful of other non-profits Iโ€™ve encountered have required similar agreements, however, their budgets havenโ€™t typically matched the value of such an arrangement. That being said, such organizations are typically relying on volunteers to go above and beyond in various ways, and I suppose they expect that notion to apply towards vendors for other goods/services as well.

When working on projects like this, I simply just ask what their budget might be, and in this case (after asking the same question a few different ways), I found out that they typically pay $3k-$4k plus expenses per day, regardless of the project scope. In this case, the photographer was comfortable with this considering the client and seemingly simple project scope. We priced the creative/licensing fee at 3,000 Euro per day, taking into account the currency conversion (about $3,700 USD) to be sure it would be palatable. There are two ways to create an estimate when currency conversion is necessary. One would have been to price the estimate in the currency of the client, which could make things progress smoothly internally, and could perhaps be more palatable. The other is to price the project in the currency of the local photographer, which is what we did here, and this ensures that the photographer receives exactly the anticipated amount of money estimated, regardless of the conversion rate at the time of payment.

Photographer Scout/Pre-Production Day(s):ย We included one day prior to the shoot for the photographer to scout the locations.

Assistants:ย We included a first assistant who would double as a digital tech, as well as a second assistant to help with equipment and lighting on both shoot days.

Hair/Makeup Stylist:ย While the client would provide any necessary wardrobe and/or prop styling, they requested for us to include a hair/makeup stylist to handle some light grooming on both days.

Equipment:ย This covered 800 euro/day for the photographer’s own gear, and any minor pieces of equipment he may need to rent.

Mileage, Parking, Meals for Crew, Misc.:ย I included 150 euro each day, anticipating a light lunch for 4 peopleย and miscellaneous funds for parking and misc. expenses each day.

Delivery of All RAW Content on Hard Drive:ย The client planned to handle all of the post-processing, and simply wanted all of the images provided to them on a hard drive. This including the cost of the hard drive and international expedited shipping.

Feedback:ย Despite a seemingly clear conversation about their budget initially, we were told that our estimate was a bit too high for them. We discussed a few items that we could adjust to bring the expenses down while keeping the creative/licensing fee intact. We dropped the scout/prep day by 150 euro, removed the second assistant, reduced the equipment to 1k and cut the misc. expenses in half. Additionally, the client said they could provide a hard drive and cover shipping costs, so we removed that expense. Those changes helped us get just under 10k euro, which we thought should do the trick. Here was the estimate:

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project, and we began talking about another project in a different city as well.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Portraits for Web Collateral and Digital Billboards

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Portraits of sales reps against a seamless background at a sales conference

Licensing:ย Web Collateral use of all images captured in perpetuity

Photographer:ย Lifestyle specialist based in the Southern U.S.

Client:ย A national health and wellness brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing:ย While the photographer primarily shoots lifestyle assignments, he had a relationship with this brand from earlier in his career, and they approached him for a seemingly straightforward portraiture project. The company had a large roster of sales reps around the country who would be attending a four-day sales conference, and they hoped to capture individual portraits of as many attendees as possible. We were told that they were unsure of how many attendees would need to be photographed, but that it could be around 50 people each day. While that initially sounded ambitious, it became clear that they were anticipating a yearbook-style approach, spending just a few minutes with each person who would arrive camera-ready.

Since they couldnโ€™t dial in a number of final shots they hoped to license, and because they planned to handle all of the post-processing internally, they requested to include usage of all images captured. Also, they initially planned to use the photos only on the brandโ€™s website and in emailers to clients. From this information, initially, I felt that $100/person would be a good starting point, which based on approximately 50 peopleย per day over four days brought me to $20,000. Based on my conversations with the client, I knew $20,000 would likely eat up their entire budget, so in order to make room for the expenses, I backed the fee down toย $16,000. This broke down toย $4,000/day, and it seemed in line with the nature of the project and the value of the images for the requested usage.

Assistant and Digital Tech:ย While the lighting setup would be simple and remain the same each day, we included an assistant to help set up/breakdown each day and monitor the lights. Additionally, while the client wouldnโ€™t necessarily be present for each portrait, we knew that the consultants would want to review the images as they were captured, so we included a digital tech for each day as well, and theyโ€™d be working off of the photographerโ€™s laptop.

Equipment:ย The photographer would likely rent a backup camera body (approx. $150/day) and backup lenses ($50/day) for each day, and the remainder of this expense would be put to covering the photographers own grip/lighting and primary gear.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.:ย I included $30/person/day for lunch, plus $50/day for miscellaneous expenses like parking and/or mileage, and then rounded down just a bit.

Delivery of RAW Files on Hard Drive:ย Since the client would be handling all of the post-processing, and because they wanted all of the images captured, it was easiest to have the digital tech transfer all of the images to a hard drive and hand it over at the end of the last day of shooting.

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project, and about a month later, the client informed the photographer that they planned to use the images for a digital billboard in New York Cityโ€™s Times Square, and wanted to know the cost to expand the licensing. After speaking with the client, we learned that they hoped to use just 10 of the portraits for an animated mosaic within a large digital billboard for four weeks. On the one hand, a billboard in Times Square is undoubtedly a prominent (and likely expensive) media buy, but on the other hand, the use would be limited to just a few weeks, and the ten photographs would be used to composite a single larger image. I ended up pricing this at $7,500, which is comparable to how I might typically assess the value of one image for one year of unlimited use for a large brand. Given the client and the media buy (and the fact that it broke down to $750/image when viewed that way), I felt that this was appropriate.

The client approved the $7,500 for the licensing, and it was just a few months later when they reached out again for yet another shoot. The specs were the same as the original assignment (they were planning another conference), except they hoped to just wrap up both the web collateral use and digital billboard use for a single fee. Adding the two previous creative/licensing fees together gave us a figure of $23,500. Given the quick approval of the previous fees, we believed that we could push a little higher, so we rounded up just a bit to an even $25,000 plus expenses. The client approved this fee as well.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Exterior and Aerial Architectural Images for Oil Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Exterior and aerial architectural photography of an oil refinery.

Licensing:ย Public display of 15 images in a corporate office.

Photographer:ย Architectural and landscape specialist.

Client:ย Large oil and gas company.

Here is the estimate:

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Creative/Licensing:ย The photographer had a longstanding relationship with an architectural firm who was working with the client to develop new office spaces, and they connected the photographer directly to the client to discuss the creation of artwork to fill the new space. They hoped to capture images of their oil refinery both from the ground and from above to showcase the scale of their complex in an artistic way. They were interested in 15 images, and after speaking with the photographer about different angles/shots, they anticipated needing two shoot days to accomplish the project. Based on conversations with the client, they intended to make use of the images in various ways, ranging from a large-scale display in the lobby to smaller-sized prints throughout the office.

Since a few of the images were going to be more prominently displayed than others, I developed a tiered pricing model starting at $2,500 for the first image, $1,000 each for images #2-4, $500 each for images #5-8, and $250 each for images #9-15. That brought me to $9,250, which I initially doubled considering the potential shelf life of the images. When pro-rated, that brought me close to $1,250/image, which I felt was a bit high, so I brought down to $1,000/image and an even $15,000 (breaking down to $7,500/day when viewed that way). Given the size of the client, it felt a bit light, but with expenses bringing ourย bottom line up near $25k, I felt this was appropriate based on other similar projects Iโ€™ve estimated.

Photographer Scout Day:ย Before shooting, the photographer would do a walkthrough of the location to determine the best angles and time of day to capture each shot.

Helicopter Rental:ย The photographer had previously rented helicopters for projects, and anticipated paying $450 per hour. Based on where the helicopter would take off/land, and the few shots that were needed, we included 2 hours and rounded up just a bit. Sometimes chartering a helicopter for this purpose requires the rental of special safety or stabilization equipment, however, it was not required in this instance.

Equipment:ย This included the photographerโ€™s camera, backup body, and specialty lenses for two days.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.:ย I included $50/day for meals and $100/day for mileage and miscellaneous expenses that might arise.

Shoot Processing for Client Review:ย This included the photographer’s time to transfer all of the images from the cards to his computer, review and batch color-correct the content, and prepare a web gallery for the client to choose from.

Retouching:ย I included two hours of retouching, based on a rate of $150/hour, for each of the 15 images.

Results:ย The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight:ย Considering the size of the clientย and the lack of negotiation, I think we could have aimedย higher on the creative/licensing fees. It can actually be reassuring when a bit of resistance is met, which lets me know when we’re at the top threshold of a budget range, but since there wasn’t anyย pushback, there may have been some room to charge more initially. That being said, considering the market and the limited usage, I still feel the fees wereย appropriate.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 orย reach out. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Vehicle Owner Portraits for Automotive Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept:ย Portraits of multiple vehicle owners, as well as images of the vehicles by themselves, each in unique locations.

Licensing:ย Unlimited use of all images captured in perpetuity.

Photographer:ย Portrait and lifestyle specialist

Agency:ย Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client:ย Large automotive brand

Here are the estimates:

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Creative/Licensing:ย The automotive brand had a well-established group of brand ambassadors across the country that they planned to photograph with their cars. Theย agency hoped to capture at least six of them that were local to the photographer, with the possibility of photographing two more in a location that would require a bit of travel. Each subject would be photographed at their home and/or garage, and with a limited production approach, the agency anticipated that the photographer would be able to capture three subjects per day. Given the potential additional subjects and travel, they asked for two estimates (one for the local shoots, and another for the shoots requiring a bit of travel).

There was a very large discrepancy between the unlimited use they were requesting and their intended use which was primarily social media focused, with the possibility of placement within some collateral pieces. While Iย always push to limit the licensing in some way, the agency told us it wasย non-negotiable. Unfortunately, thisย is often the case for very large brands, evenย on projects focusing on non-campaign oriented imagery. In these instances, I do my best to determine a creative/licensing fee thatโ€™s appropriate for the clientโ€™s intended use. For this project, each subject would likely have two types of shots: a portrait of them with their carย and a picture of the carย alone. I priced the first image at $2,000ย and the second image at $1,000, totaling $3,000 for each subject. In some instances, Iโ€™d be inclined to develop a tiered pricing model and discount additional images (or in this case subjects), but since each set of images would be unique, I felt their value was equal, so I stuck with $3,000 per subject across the board for a total of $18k and $24k for each project.

Pre-Production and Travel Days:ย I included a prep day in each estimate to account for the photographerโ€™s time to plan all of the shoots and correspond with each subject. For the estimate with 8 subjects that would require travel, I included twoย travel days for the photographer to get there and back, before and after the shoot day.

Assistant:ย I included one assistant on each shoot day, and added travel days for the assistant to accompany the photographer on the trip to capture the additional subjects as well. Since the client wouldnโ€™t be attending the shoot, a digital tech wasnโ€™t critical, and since the people/cars would be captured in an editorial style, there wasnโ€™t a need for anyย additional crew to help with excess grip/lighting.

Equipment:ย I included $500/day to cover the photographerโ€™s personal equipment, which included a camera with a backup, a few lenses, and minor lighting gear.

Mileage, Parking, Meals for Crew, Misc:ย For the local shoots, I included $100/day to cover mileage and parking, plus $100 to cover meals and other miscellaneous expenses over the two shoot days. For the estimate that required travel, I added another $60 per person per day for meals while they would be traveling for three days ($360), plus approximately $400 to cover mileage, parking, and miscellaneous expenses while they were on the road.

Lodging:ย On the estimate that included travel, I estimated $200/night for two nights, with rooms for both the photographer and his assistant.

Delivery of All Images on Hard Drive:ย The agency planned to handle all of the retouching, and simply wanted all of the images to be sent to them on a hard drive at the completion of the shoot. This fee covered the cost of the drive and priority shipping.

Results:ย Based on subject availability, the agency was unable to coordinate the project with the vehicle owners out of town, but they were still interested in capturing the subjects local to the photographer. The agency let us know they had a $20,000 budget to accomplish this and asked us what we could do to reduce costs. While Iโ€™d typically suggest limiting the licensing in some way to provide a discount, given the small amount we had to shave, the photographer was willing to take $1,000 off his fee, waive his equipment expenses, and bring the miscellaneous expense line down a bit to hit $19,500. He was awarded the project. Here was the final estimate:

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If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimatingย orย producingย a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. Weโ€™re available to help with any and allย pricing and negotiatingย needsโ€”from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.