Pricing & Negotiating: Social Media Shoot For International Beverage Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental 15-second video portraits of talent interacting with products and the environment. Videos needed to be vertical in format, and created on iPhone 12.

Licensing: Web advertising use of up to two 15-second videos on TikTok for three months, and web collateral use in perpetuity.

Photographer: Lifestyle/portraiture specialist with motion capabilities

Client: International beverage brand

Here is the estimate:

Fees: This shoot was a part of a larger motion project being simultaneously produced by a video production company. The production company’s charge was to find a lifestyle photographer to create two 15-second environmental portrait videos of up to 3 talent directed into action. While the content creation seemed rather straightforward, the client was smart to seek a photographer with a strong portfolio of lighting and a proficiency of directing talent into joyful emotion, as well as capturing people in motion within a frame. Another need from the photographer was the ability to capture strong content in a very short amount of time due to the talent’s limited availability. On paper, the assets could be captured quickly, but the larger ongoing production and talent schedule meant we needed to estimate for two 12-hour shoot days to mirror the video production schedule. These combined needs put upward pressure on the fee. For the licensing, the client requested 3 months Paid Social Media Advertising. I felt $12,000 would be appropriate for one year of usage for this client, and then we subtracted 50% for a shorter duration. This brought us to $6,000, which we further lowered a bit to $5,500 after learning about a very tight budget. We also added a $500 fee for the photographer pre-pro work on the shoot direction and social media platform research.

Crew: We added a first assistant to help with lighting and the ease of the photographer’s days. These rates were appropriate for an advertising production in the given market. The production company required the estimate account for a 12-hour day, so 2 hours of overtime were estimated for each day at a 1.5x hourly rate.

Equipment: We included $1,000 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. Without knowing the specific location, we knew the photographer would need some LED and HMI lighting, modifiers and support. The specified camera, an iPhone 12, wouldn’t be able to support different exposure adjustments in aperture and ISO speed, so advance lighting tests were needed. The iPhone was brand new and provided in advance by the production company for the photographer to do some imaging and lighting tests prior to the shoot.

Miscellaneous: We had $250 as miscellaneous expenses. This would cover mileage and parking for the photographer and assistant, as well as any additional snacks/beverages before or after their time on set each day, and provide a bit of buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Client Provisions: We included a Client Provisions note that all locations, product and product styling, all talent, wardrobe and wardrobe styling, hair, makeup, catering and craft services, Covid safety protocols, as well as all post-production, would be handled by the production company.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success!

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Headshots For A Law Firm

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Headshots and environmental portraits of law firm partners

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 20 images for 5 years

Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Southeast

Client: Law Firm

Here is the estimate:

Fees: The client initially presented a project scope resembling a corporate lifestyle production with a seemingly endless shot list and a request for a one-day shoot (for what looked like a two-day shoot at a minimum). We had a discussion with the client, letting them know what we felt was feasible in a single day, and we were able to put a tighter box around the scope by just including portraits of their four main employees/partners in and around their office. It was at this time I asked about their budget, and we were told they had $10,000 to spend. This wasn’t a surprising budget, but I knew it would be a challenge to include appropriate fees/expenses across the board while capping the bottom line.

They had initially wanted 50 images, but given the budget, we limited that to 20 images and included a $6,000 fee, which happened to break down to $300/image. It felt light given the usage, but the straightforward nature of the newly defined project scope put downward pressure on the fee. Also, given all of the factors, the photographer was pleased with this amount. In addition to the creative/licensing fee, we also included $500 for a tech/scout day, so the photographer could see the location ahead of time and talk through logistics and creative approach with the client.

Crew: I included a first assistant to attend both the tech/scout day and the shoot day. I also included a digital tech who would double as a second assistant on the shoot day.

Equipment: This covered the photographer’s own equipment, and while I would have liked to charge more for the camera/lighting/grip he’d be bringing, we kept this expense to a minimum, given the budget.

Misc: I included $100 for any unforeseen expenses.

Postproduction: I included $300 for the photographer to provide the client a gallery of content to choose from, and then $100 per image to cover retouching for each of the 20 selects.

Feedback: The client demanded that they needed usage in perpetuity rather than be limited to five years. Typically, we would have gone back to them with an increased fee to accommodate that, but they essentially let us know it would be a deal breaker to increase the budget. The photographer was begrudgingly willing to simply include the perpetual usage to seal the deal.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.


Have questions? Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out.

We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Lifestyle Photo/Video Shoot For A Hospitality Brand

By  Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental Lifestyle & Architecture images featuring hired talent using client space(s)

Licensing: Unlimited use, excluding broadcast, of all images captured for three years from first use

Photographer: Lifestyle & Architecture specialist

Client: Mid-sized Regional Hospitality Brand

Here’s the initial estimate:

 

 

Fees: The agency contacted the photographer to put together an estimate for a three-day shoot featuring talent interacting at the client’s property to showcase the location’s uniqueness, amenities, and aesthetics. The agency provided us preliminary scouting images and a creative brief and wanted to see an estimate for both stills and video, as well as robust production to include talent and styling.

Deliverables initially included up to 20 final still images and a two-minute video edit. The client had requested unlimited use excluding broadcast. We priced each image around $500, plus $8,000 for a director fee and video usage, based on the client’s intended use of the content — primarily on client web and social media platforms — and possible regional advertising. While we would’ve liked the fees to be higher, the client didn’t have a media buy plan and we got some pushback from the agency on higher creative/licensing fee rates within their budget guidelines.

Crew: Given the nature of the project, I included a producer as well as a production coordinator to help schedule the days and hire/manage the rest of the crew and styling team. We added a skilled camera operator/Director of Photography along with a first assistant for stills, a gaffer for the motion team, and a second assistant to swing. Both the DP and first assistant would accompany the photographer on the tech/scout to help inform the lighting and equipment needs within each location. We added a digital tech/media manager to handle the files on set. These rates were appropriate for the given market; the digital tech’s day rate included a $700 fee plus an additional $650/day for their workstation.

Equipment: We included $7,500 for cameras/grip/lighting, $700 for hard drives, and a modest fee to cover production needs like tables, chairs, steamer, wardrobe racks, etc.

Casting & Talent: We included $2,000+20% per talent for up to 15 people to be used over the three shoot days. We also added a $2,400 casting fee for the director and producer to take on the casting, which was to be a mix of friends/family and professional talent.

Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist plus an assistant, a wardrobe stylist plus an assistant, a prop stylist (who would also attend the scout) plus an assistant, and appropriate wardrobe costs based on the talent, scenes, and creative direction with a TBD caveat pending final creative plans.

Meals: We estimated $5,610 for catering and craft services based on $85 per person, per day.

COVID Safety: We included three days for a COVID compliance officer, plus a PPE budget advised by the CCO. Our CCO would arrive each shoot day with a screening questionnaire, check everyone’s temperature each morning, and monitor the set throughout the day with cleaning and guidance for craft services and meal breaks. We would have all crew/talent/agency PCR Covid tested before the shoot days and included $130/test x 27 anticipated people as the cost for doing this.

Misc.: We included insurance costs for the director to cover their premium — pending any additional client insurance requirements — as well as a line item to help offset parking, possible additional meals/craft, and any other small needs that would arise during the week.

Post Production: We included $1,000 for the photographer to perform a basic cull, curves/color correction, and provide a gallery of their selects. Simple retouching for up to 20 images was estimated at one hour per image, with a TBD as a caveat, to be based on final agency creative notes. The photographer would be doing all retouching at a $125/hr. rate. Video editing was estimated at $3,500, with a “TBD” added that this would be pending final client/agency creative notes and revisions.

Feedback & Revisions: As we’ve seen more and more lately, when the initial RFP (request for proposal) came to us, the agency had not yet sold the project to the client. This estimate was being used alongside the agency creative to have the client sign off on the project. This isn’t ideal, as we’ve seen photographers jump through hoops just for a project to never get off the ground. With that said, as the client conversations continued, there were quite a few adjustments to the creative plans and costs and, as a result, our estimate was revised a number of times over several months.

As the shot list grew, the on-set days increased to four and the talent needs expanded to hired professionals — though a decreased quantity. With a casting agent present, we added additional crew to our motion team, a drone operator for two days, and a props/set decorating team to help style the location. The post-production fees expanded to cover the additional images, video editing time, and an agency request for a colorist and audio licensing to be added.

While the shoot would be rather straightforward, the ten-hour shoot days would be stuffed and required a competent team with a concise plan. As stated previously, there was some pushback on our initial creative/licensing fee, but we landed not too far off and felt that a creative/licensing fee of $22,000 was fair. We previously had a fee for the director to attend a tech/scout day on the location, but with the increased SOW (statement of work), I added an additional $1,100/day fee for a few days of pre-production needs.

Our updated estimate still had the same tenets as the original, but the new needs increased the budget by more than $50,000 to the subsequent estimate below:

 

 

Results: The photographer was awarded the assignment, and the shoot is currently in post-production. It was a very successful project and the client and agency are very happy with the work created!

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Celebrity Shoot For Alcohol Company

Concept: Environmental portraits of a celebrity

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images captured for two years from first use

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Client: Large alcohol brand

Here is the estimate (click to enlarge):

 

Fees: While the portraits would be rather straightforward, the celebrity talent required a photographer who had experience working with high-profile subjects and — due to said talent’s busy schedule — the ability to capture strong content in a short amount of time. That put upward pressure on the fee, and I felt that a creative fee alone was worth $4,000.

For the licensing, even though the client requested unlimited use, they were most likely to place the content in regional advertisements — primarily on in-store displays. I felt $6,500 was appropriate for one year of usage, then added 50% to account for a second year, bringing me to $9,750. I arrived at a $13,750 fee by combining the $4,000 creative fee and the $9,750 licensing fee. On top of that, I added a $1,500 fee for the photographer to attend a tech/scout day on location.

Crew: Given the nature of the project, I included a producer and PA to help coordinate the day and help hire/manage the rest of the crew and styling team. We added a first assistant (who would also accompany the photographer on the tech/scout day), second assistant, and a digital tech as well. The digitech’s rate included a $500 fee and $1,000 for a workstation and, overall, the rates were appropriate for the given market.

Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist and a wardrobe stylist, as requested by the client. The wardrobe stylist would just be preparing clothing provided by the talent, so no shopping/return days were needed.

Equipment: We included $1,500 for cameras/grip/lighting and a modest fee to cover production elements like tables, chairs, etc.

Health and Safety: We included two days for a COVID compliance officer (which covered the tech/scout day and the shoot day), plus a few hundred dollars for PPE.

Meals: This rate was $75 per person on the day of the shoot.

Misc.: The venue was a bit out of town, so this fee covered mileage, parking, some additional meals, and bit of overhead for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Postproduction: We included $500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction and provide a gallery of his favorite shots. We also added $350 for a hard drive to deliver all of the images, as the client would handle retouching.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the client ended up expanding the usage to include an additional year for one image for a fee of $3,750.

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Human Interest Video For A Restaurant

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Testimonial video of a real customer and employees

Licensing: Internal and Web Collateral use of all content captured in perpetuity

Director: Lifestyle and hospitality specialist

Client: Large restaurant chain

Here’s the estimate (click to enlarge):

Pricing & Negotiating: Pharmaceutical Product Shoot

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle content of a patient using a medical device and interacting with their caregiver

Licensing: Trade Advertising and Collateral use of up to 6 images for 2 years from first use.

Photographer: Lifestyle and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Pricing and Negotiating first estimate for a Pharmaceutical company production

Creative/Licensing Fees: The agency was in need of images showing a medical product being used, along with images of a patient interacting with their caregiver and family within multiple scenarios taking place in and around a house, as well as a few outdoor scenarios as well. The exact shots were a bit TBD at the time of estimating, but we did know they wanted to end up with six final images, and they’d be used for trade advertising and collateral purposes for two years. Based on recent similar productions and a knowledge of previously palatable fees/expenses for this client, we landed on a creative/licensing fee of $7,500. It broke down to $1,250/image, which we felt was reasonable for the intended use and the given variables.

Crew: We included adequate prep, scout, shoot and wrap days for a producer to help coordinate the production, and included two assistants, one of which would also attend the scout day. Additionally we included a digital tech on the shoot day and a PA to help with prep/shoot/wrap as well.

Styling: We would only be capturing one main hero talent, and three others, and we were confident that one hair/makeup stylist could handle that without an assistant. In an effort to reduce people on set, we combined the roles of wardrobe stylist and prop stylist, and included adequate shopping time in addition to the shoot and time to return the items procured, while providing them with two assistants to lend a hand. We included $500 per talent for wardrobe, and $2,250 for props, however we marked that as TBD since the shot list was still under development and the final scenarios would dictate the exact prop needs/costs. We also included $500 for stylist kit fees, shipping and misc. expenses.

Health and Safety: I’ve started to break out all things related specifically to COVID protocols and prevention into a new category when estimating projects, and here I added 2 days for our CCO, as she’d join us on the tech/scout and the shoot day, and $300 to cover PPE and supplies. I’ve found that $300-$500 is an appropriate amount for PPE and cleaning supplies for a shoot this size.

Casting and Talent: We had to find one main adult hero talent to portray a patient, a secondary adult talent to portray their caregiver, and two children to portray grandchildren. The casting agent we worked with would hold virtual casting sessions remotely, rather than have talent attend an in-person casting session, and I knew this price would cover their time for at least 2 days work of casting to help find the talent we needed. I included $1,800/day, which was appropriate for this particular market based on the usage.

Locations: Since the shot list was still a work in progress, it was a bit of a challenge to estimate location scouting and location fees, but I felt confident that we had enough time/money built in to handle the anticipated request of finding a residential property and a couple nearby outdoor locations. We also included $1,000 for location cleaning to address the anticipated concerns from the homeowners regarding COVID.

Vehicles: In order to try and keep the bottom line down, I marked a production RV as TBD, as there was a chance we could use the house and the exterior locations as a staging area, rather than an RV. I also added modest funds for van rentals to help with equipment and supplies.

Equipment: I included $1,000 for the photographer’s gear, $750 for the digital tech’s workstation, and $500 for production supplies such as tables, chairs, tents, heaters, etc.

Meals: I included $75 per person for breakfast and lunch

Misc.: To address potential mileage, additional meals and miscellaneous expenses that might arise, I added $500. I also included $300 for insurance.

Post Production: I included $500 for the photographer’s time to go through the images and make initial edits and provide a gallery of content to the client, and then $200/image for 6 images to handle the retouching.

Feedback: The numbers were well received, however we were informed that they wanted to add a video component to the project. They weren’t sure exactly what would need to be captured, but they asked for a quote and told us they had an extra $15k budgeted for it.

Here is the quote we provided:

Pricing and Negotiating first estimate for a Pharmaceutical company production

Crew: We got a quote from a local team and consolidated their numbers into this bid. We anticipated bringing on a DP, along with one or two assistants.

Casting and Talent: We increased the talent fees by an extra $500+20% to account for the video usage.

Vehicles: Now that we had extra crew with the video team and a padded budget, I took the opportunity to add the production RV into the estimate as I felt it would be necessary.

Equipment: This covered the minimal gear rented from the videographer.

Meals: We added a small amount to include extra meals for the additional crew.

Misc.: I added $800 to cover miscellaneous expenses that might arise.

Overtime: Now that we planned to shoot video, I felt that the time necessary to do so would cause us to go past a 10-hour shoot day, so I included an extra hour for everyone involved with the production, billed at time and a half.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

 

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Last Minute Automotive/Portraiture Assignment

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Portraits of a community leader posing with a vehicle

Licensing: One-time Print Advertising use of one image in a single publication, as well as Web Collateral use for 6 months.

Photographer: Portraiture and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Large automotive brand

Here is the estimate:

Redacted estimate for an automotive/portrait shoot

Fees: The agency reached out about a shoot that was to take place within a few days of the initial correspondence and needed the project to be pulled together quickly. The project revolved around a major sporting event taking place elsewhere, and the creative assets to be generated at that event were driving the creative approach and the timeline for this project. The scope was relatively simple, and they needed portraits of a person who was heavily involved in their local community photographed in front of a vehicle. The subjects and vehicle would be provided, no styling was needed, the client/agency did not plan to attend, nor would they need remote approval as the shoot unfolded. Those factors made the project very straightforward. For usage, we were told that they only needed one final image, and the licensing would be very limited and include placement one-time in a single publication, and the image would live online for 6 months. Given the straightforward nature of the project and limited licensing, I decided to include $3,500 as a creative/licensing fee. Additionally, I included $500 as a fee for the photographer to go scout the provided location ahead of time.

Crew: I included two assistants for the shoot day, based on local rates

Equipment: This was to be shot in an editorial style without any major lighting setups, and I included $800 to cover the photographer’s own camera, lenses, lighting, and grip.

Health and Safety: On most shoots these days, I’m typically including fees and expenses for a COVID Compliance Office to be on set to ensure that everyone is complying with COVID prevention protocols. In this case, considering the very limited amount of people on-site, the lack of items/areas that would need continuous cleaning, and the fact that they’d be outside the entire time, we decided to omit a compliance officer.

Misc.: While we anticipated the shoot would only take about a half day to accomplish, I included a few hundred dollars to cover a quick meal, mileage, and a bit of extra money for unforeseen items.

Post Production: I included $500 for the photographer’s time to batch process all of the images and provide a web gallery for the client to review. I added $300 to cover the retouching of one image and noted that this included up to 2 hours of retouching time.

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs

Pricing & Negotiating: Combining Food Still Life Projects

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Still life images of food products

Licensing: Trade Advertising, Trade Collateral, Publicity, and Internal use of up to seven images in perpetuity.

Photographer: Food specialist

Agency: Medium in size, exclusively works with food and beverage clients

Client: Food manufacturer

Here is the estimate:
Pricing and Negotiating estimate for still life of food products

Creative/Licensing Fees: The initial project scope included seven still life images of multiple products for a single food brand. Some of the shots would be individual products on a white background, and others would be multiple products in a single image with environmental elements/props. After discussing the requested usage with the agency, I learned that this project was definitely not consumer oriented, and the images would primarily be used to promote the products within the food/beverage industry. There was a chance the images could be used in trade advertisements, but mostly they would be used for collateral, internal and publicity purposes. While they requested perpetual use, many of the products would be seasonal and have a short lifespan, therefore naturally limiting how long they would be useful for the client. This information coupled with the straightforward nature of the assignment and a discussed budget of less than 10k put significant downward pressure on a creative/licensing fee. Since each shot featured a different product or group or products, I decided to put equal value on each image, rather than coming up with a tiered pricing model, and I landed on $500/image totaling $3,500. I had wanted to add a few thousand dollars as a creative fee to this, however based on a conversation with the agency, I knew they hoped to keep this under $10k, and I knew the photographer would be comfortable with this rate considering the circumstances.

Assistant and Digital Tech: I included an assistant to help with grip/lighting and a digital tech to help display the images to the client as they were being captured on the shoot day.

Prop Styling: At the onset of the project, the creative direction was a bit too loose to dial in exact prop styling needs, so they asked us to detail the rate of a stylist should one be needed, but to hold off on including it in the bottom line. I noted that a prop stylist would be $900/day plus prop expenses and marked it as TBD.

Studio Rental: This included one day at moderately sized studio

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the photographer’s time to do an initial edit of the images and provide a web gallery for the client to review

Color Correction, File Cleanup and Delivery of 7 Selects by FTP: This was based on $150/image for the basic post production.

Mileage, Parking, Shipping, Misc.: The photographer was likely to have $100 in mileage/parking for the day, and the additional $200 provided a bit of buffer and would cover unforeseen expenses.

Lunch Catering: This was based on $50 per person, and in addition to the photographer and their crew, we anticipated 4-5 people from the client/agency attending.

Feedback: The estimate was well received, and we were told that there were three additional projects for other brands (all owned by the same parent company/client) that they hoped we could bid on. While each one was slightly different in terms of shot count and styling/production needs, they all shared a simple creative direction, and the images would all be used in a similar manner. We developed three additional estimates, with fees fluctuating only slightly, and with expenses based on the individual needs of each assignment. To incentivize the client to work with the same photographer on all four projects, we told them that we’d offer a 15% discount on fees and find as many production efficiencies as possible if they were able to commit to all four projects at the same time. They asked us if we could formalize all of the estimates together and detail the discount/efficiencies, and we submitted an estimate that included a cover page with an overview of all four projects, followed by each individual estimate for reference. In addition to the 15% discount, we noted that two pre-production days were removed, and a prep day for both a food and prop stylist were also removed as a result of efficient pre-production.

Pricing and Negotiating estimate for still life of food products

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs — from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Real Families for a Technology Client

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of real families interacting with technology

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 60 images for two years from first use

Photographer: Reportage and Portrait Specialist

Agency: Large, specializing in digital campaigns

Client: Large technology company

 

Here is the estimate:
Pricing and Negotiating Real Families for Technology Client

Creative/Licensing Fees: The photographer came to me having never done a commercial assignment with an ad agency or a client of this size before. His previous work focused on family portraits and reportage, and that was exactly the kind of content this campaign called for. The agency hoped that the photographer could present options of real families to them using his personal connections, rather than working with a casting director or talent agency. These families would be photographed in their actual homes interacting in staged setups, that would ideally look as authentic as possible considering they were real family members. The shoot would take place over two shoot days, with two families, each in their own homes. While the shot list was a bit of a collaborative effort, we settled on 60 final deliverables for unlimited use for two years. Based on previous similar projects I’ve estimated, I had a sense that this client would want to end up paying a few hundred dollars per image if broken down that way, and likely around 10-15k/day for a creative/licensing fee. We were asked to break out the creative fee from the licensing, and I landed on $3,000/day plus $20,000 in licensing fees. There would also be two pre-pro days added in, which I included $1,500/day for. As we approached $30,000 for these items collectively, I felt confident that we were in the right ballpark, especially considering this would be the photographer’s first assignment like this.

Crew: I included a first assistant and a digital tech, each for the two shoot days

Styling: The families would wear their own clothes, so we didn’t need a wardrobe stylist, but there was definitely a need for specific props based on the creative brief and the situations being prescribed by the shot list. I therefore included a prop stylist with an assistant and the appropriate expenses, but marked the prop costs as TBD since we were still sorting out the exact prop needs.

Casting and Talent: Based on previous projects we decided that $3,000 per family would be appropriate to cover each family and their property.

Equipment: While we initially started much lower due to the photographer’s style and lighting approach, the agency specifically asked us to include $3,500/day for equipment.

Health and Safety:  On all shoots now, we are considering PPE and cleaning supplies at a minimum, and on some shoots we include a health/wellness officer. In this case, since we were still sorting out the exact families and their comfort level with a minimal production, we marked this at $1,000 while bidding. At most, we anticipated hiring a cleaning company to come clean the location after the shoot.

Misc.: I included $250/day for each day to cover miscellaneious and unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Post Production: I included $1,500 for what I anticipate would likely be about a day of post, just to organize the assets and delivery them, even though the agency would be handling the heavy lifting on the retouching.

Feedback: The first item the agency wanted to discuss was the licensing. Rather than select 60 images after the shoot and have the usage period start when the first image was used, they wanted to be able to make selects over the course of the two year licensing period, and have each image start a two year licensing period when each image was used. It seemed odd to me, but regardless, I wanted to account for the potential lengthier usage term that would be possible, and the work that the photographer would have to do each time more files were requested throughout the two years. I had a very frank conversation with the art buyer about this request, and they suggested that they had $15,000 potentially available to put towards this licensing request. That seemed like an excellent deal, so we ran with it and adjust our estimate. Additionally, we learned that the production company involved with this project planned to pay the crew, styling team and talent directly via a payroll company, and that they’d handle any cleaning fees directly as well. They therefor asked us to revise our estimate to reflect that.

Here was the final estimate:
Pricing and Negotiating Real Families for Technology Client

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight: Given the extra $15k that magically appeared, I wonder if we started too low initially. Also, it seems many shoots in these strange Covid times revolve more around the resources that a photographer has available to them (family/friend talent and locations specifically) as opposed to the actual appropriateness of that photographer for the assignment, which is a bit disconcerting. I think the photographer was a great choice for this campaign, but I’ve seen other projects where seemingly perfect photographers drop out of the running because they don’t have that perfect talent/location at their fingertips.

 

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: A Large Production Cancelled by Covid-19

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Stills and video content featuring seven athletes participating in various sports, as well as images of each athlete posed with product.

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images captured for 2 months from first use.

Photographer: Sports and portraiture specialist

Agency: Canadian office of large international group

Client: Large telecommunications company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: The scope of the project included stills and video to capture seven athletes participating in five unique sports over four shoot days in two different cities. Each athlete had unique needs in terms of gyms/facilities where they would need to be captured, and the need for posed shots on white led to some unique scouting and location needs. Some of them could entirely be captured in a studio, and others were a combination of them at a facility where a seamless background would be set up.

The creative needs called for a specialist who was technically savvy and could photograph/direct athletes who had limited time. These needs, along with the large agency/client, put upward pressure on a creative fee (which they asked us to break out from a licensing fee, as opposed to combining the two numbers), and we landed on $5,000/day for each of the four shoot days. While the high exposure and request for all images captured put upward pressure on the licensing fee, we knew that they had hoped to get about 30 total images, and would likely use just two for each athlete. Additionally, while they asked for unlimited use, the duration was very limited with a request for just two months. With those factors in mind, and based on previous experience, I thought that around $3,000 per subject or less than $1,000 per image for 30 shots would likely be appropriate. We initially settled on $19,500 for a licensing fee, which broke down to $650/image for the 30 shots we had been discussing, and just under $1,400/image for the 14 shots they were likely to use (7 athletes X 2 shots each).

On top of the creative and licensing fees, we included two travel days and two tech scout days based on an itinerary we detailed in the job description.

Producer Day(s): While the talent would be provided and the styling would be minimal, this project had a ton of moving pieces, and the logistics required a seasoned producer to lend a hand. We included six prep days prior to the travel/tech/scout/shoot days plus a wrap day.

Production Assistant Day(s): We included 10 days, two of which would be prep days to lend a hand with whatever tasks arose, plus the travel and shoot days.

Assistant Day(s): We included four assistants in total, two of which would travel with the team to both locations, and the other two would be locals and just be needed on the individual shoot days. Given how fast the team would have to move, the multiple setups/scenarios that would be needed, and the equipment requirements, we needed a lot of hands-on deck.

Digital Tech Day(s): We’d hire a digital tech locally in each city, and this accounted for each of the four shoot days.

DP/Camera Operator Day(s): We included $3,500/day for each of the four shoot days, and $1,500 for two travel days. While the photographer would be capturing stills and directing the video, we felt it was important to have a separate person actually capturing and focusing on the video content.

Grip and Gaffer Day(s): To assist the DP/Camera Operator, we included a grip and a gaffer to help with equipment and electrical needs, hired locally for each shoot day.

Hair/Makeup and Wardrobe Stylist Day(s): The subjects would be providing their own wardrobe and would have minimal hair/makeup needs, so we just included a single hair/makeup stylist and a single wardrobe stylist, hired locally in each city, just for the shoot days without any prep/wrap time or expenses.

Location Fees: This was a big TBD, since we were told that that the athletes might be able to leverage relationships with various training facilities for scouting purposes, but we needed to account for the payment of those facilities in our budget. We ballparked some numbers here, and also added $2,000 for the day where we’d just rent a studio instead of shooting on location.

Equipment: We included $8k for both photography equipment and video equipment, based on $2,000/day for four shoot days.

Catering: We anticipated about 22 mouths to feed each day and included $90 per person to include breakfast, lunch, craft and additional meals to support a long day with overtime.

Travel Expenses: I based this on the schedule detailed in the job description and the number of people that would be traveling to each of the locations. The cities were within driving distance, which eliminated the need for airfare.

Parking, Expendables, Additional Meals, Misc: I included $1,500 here, truly as a buffer for unforeseen expenses that might arise throughout the production.

Insurance: A loose rule of thumb I use to calculate insurance is to base it on 2% of the expenses. In this case that was closer to $3k, but I wanted to come down a bit as it was feeling a bit excessive, so I included $2k.

Post Production: We included $2,000 to handle basic processing of 30 selects. The agency would handle most of the retouching, and this just included both color correction and file cleanup but would still take a decent amount of time to sift through the images and perform those tasks.

Overtime: On three out of the four shoot days, we anticipated 14-hour days rather than a typical 10-hour day. It’s customary to bill for crew at time and a half for up to 12 hours, and double time after 12 hours. So, in this case, we had two hours per day at time and a half, and two hours per day at double time, for three shoot days.

Once the photographer and I finished collaborating on these numbers, we looped in a local producer to further tweak the fees/expenses based on local knowledge and preferred logistical approaches. Overall, she bumped up the estimate by about $12k, bringing the bottom line just under $200k.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project…but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This led to a lengthy process of uncertainty regarding how to tackle the project. Since the dates for each part of the project were spread out, they had discussed canceling some dates but just postponing others, and each day brought a new update on how it might shake out. Surprisingly, given the size of the agency, their purchase order didn’t detail any sort of cancellation policy, so we stuck to the cancellation policy in our terms/conditions. At the time when they asked us to formalize what a cancellation agreement might look like, we were a few days out from the first shoot date, with the next trip schedule just over a week away. They asked us to focus our cancellation fees/expenses on just these first two projects for now, hoping to just push the later shoots/dates. Here is what we came up with:

I noted that the out of pocket expenses would be billed at 100% and handed this off to the photographer’s producer to help detail what those exact expenses were, and she tackled it from that point on. Ultimately, they cancelled the entire project. The photographer was able to charge part of his creative fees, half of his licensing fees, and all out of pocket expenses based on how our terms/conditions were worded.

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Corporate Lifestyle Shoot for a Tech Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Employees at work in an office space

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

Photographer: Portraiture and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Small, based on the West Coast

Client: Large technology company

Here is the estimate:

Initial quote of expenses for corporate lifestyle photoshoot.

Creative/Licensing Fees: The original project scope included corporate lifestyle images of six employees at work, and they hoped to license one shot of each employee for use on web ads and placement on their website for one year. Based on a conversation with the agency, I knew this would be a low-profile project for them and therefore have a tight budget. I started at $500/image, and while I wanted to add at least $2,000 as a creative fee, we decided to cut that in half and go with $4,000 as a combined creative/licensing fee.

Pre-Production/Scout Day: We included $1,000 to account for the photographer’s time to line up his crew and briefly visit the office to see the space beforehand.

Assistant: We included $500 for an experienced assistant to help lend a hand for the shoot day.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: $900 was an appropriate rate in this market for a stylist to make sure each subject was presentable and camera ready.

Equipment and Digital Workstation Rental: The photographer would have minimal equipment, and this accounted for his cameras, lenses, grip, lighting and a laptop for the client to review the images as they were being captured.

First Edit for Client Review: This accounted for the photographer’s time to do an initial edit and provide the client a web gallery of images to review, as well as delivery of six images by FTP.

Retouching: We were asked to detail a rate for retouching as an option, but not include it in the bottom line, so we noted a fee of $200/image should the client decide to outsource the post-production to the photographer.

Mileage, Parking, Misc.: This included a light lunch for the photographer and his two crew members, as well as some buffer funds for unforeseen expenses.

Feedback: A week later we were asked to revise the estimate and reduce the number of subjects from six to three while maintaining six shots (two per subject). Additionally, they requested perpetual use, rather than usage for just one year. I considered that perhaps the second shot per subject was less valuable than the first, but ultimately decided to base this new request on a per image fee of $1,500 each ($9,000 total). Prorated, the original $4,000 fee broke down to just over $650/image, so more than double this amount per image felt reasonable as a fee for perpetual use. While I might typically triple (at least) the price to go from one year to perpetual use, I felt that the shelf life of these images was just about a year or so as the subjects would primarily be working with technology in the images, which would quickly become out of date.

Here was the revised estimate:

Second estimate for corporate lifestyle shoot.

Feedback: We were told a few days later that the project scope was being tightened up to include just two subjects, and they wanted two images per subject. We were also told that they were hoping to keep everything under $10k. Based on $1,500/image, we included $6,000 as a creative/licensing fee. They also asked us to include basic post-processing for these images, and we added $150/image for the light retouching.

Here was the revised estimate:

Third revision of the estimate for the corporate lifestyle shoot.

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 1 610 260 0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Point of Sale and Collateral Content for a Wine Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Wine and food pairings with lifestyle and cooking images in an outdoor environment

Licensing: Point-of-sale and collateral use of up to 26 images in perpetuity

Photographer: Portraiture and home/garden specialist

Agency: N/A

Client: Large wine brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: The client presented a shot list that included six food/wine pairings, each with two variations: one featuring the owner of the company and one without. Additionally, they asked for one hero shot featuring the same subject preparing food. For each of these 13 images, they asked for a vertical and a horizontal option, totaling 26 shots. The primary purpose of the shoot was to create point-of-sale content to accompany the bottles in stores, and they anticipated using some of the shots on their website and for other collateral purposes. I priced the first image (the hero shot) at $2,500, images 2-7 (the first six food/wine pairings) at $1,000 each, images 8-13 (the next six food/wine pairings) at $500 each, and images 14-26 (the second orientation of each shot) at $300 each. That totaled $15,400, which I rounded down to an even $15,000. While I wanted this number to reflect a fee for a one-year license, and then double or triple it to account for the perpetual duration, based on my experience I knew that aiming higher than $15k for a one day shoot would likely put this photographer out of the running for this particular project, so we stuck with this number.

Tech Scout, Pre-Production and Travel Days: We included one day for the photographer to scout the location ahead of time and another day to line up their crew and work out logistics/scheduling with the client. We detailed that two travel days were waived because the photographer was willing to work as a local.

Assistants: We included a first and a second assistant for the shoot day to help with lighting/grip and to be extra sets of hands on set.

Digital Tech: We included a digital tech to help display the images to the client as they were being captured.

Equipment: This included the photographer’s cameras and lenses, as well as their grip and lighting equipment and workstation for the digital tech.

Airfare, Lodging, Transportation: We detailed that these expenses were waived as the photographer was willing to work as a local.

Mileage, Parking, Additional Meals, Expendables, Misc.: This included about $250 for mileage and supplemental meals and another $250 for a bit of buffer and to cover unforeseen expenses.

First Edit for Client Review: This covered the photographers time to do an initial edit of the content, and provide the client a gallery of content to review.

Retouching: We included $200 for each of the 26 shots, and noted that this included up to 2 hours or retouching per image.

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 1 610 260 0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Farmer Portraits for Financial Services Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental portraits of farmers at work

Licensing: Print and web collateral use of up to 12 images for three years

Photographer: Industrial and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium, based in the South

Client: Financial services company

Here is the estimate:

Redacted estimate for farmer portrait photoshoot.

Creative/Licensing Fees: The agency planned to line up customers of the client who were farmers, and photograph them at two different farms over two shoot days. While we weren’t sure of exactly where the farms would be, we found out that one of them would likely be within driving distance of the photographer, while the other might require a quick flight and some travel. We were told that they needed six images from each farm, and they requested collateral use for three years. Based on a conversation with the agency, it was clear that these would likely end up being used for trade shows, social media, and possibly for their website. I started by coming up with a tiered pricing model based on one-year usage, with the first image being worth $1,500, the second image worth $750, and images three through six worth $500 each. That totaled $4,250, which I then doubled to reach a three-year price, and then doubled again to account for both sets of images/farms, landing at $17,000. That broke down to $8,500/day or just over $1,400/image, and based on the limited use, along with our understanding that they might have a tight budget for the project, we decided to shave the fee down to $13,000. The agency had also asked for a licensing option to include unlimited perpetual use, and we decided to base that additional cost on the $17,000 that we initially came up with, which would total $30,000 if they went for that option.

Travel/Scout and Pre-Production Days: We detailed a schedule in the job description that combined all of the travel, scouting and shooting into a four day window, as the photographer wanted to take advantage of dusk and morning shoot times while minimizing the length of the project. In total, we included two days to account specifically for travel and added one day to account for the pre-production work that the photographer would tackle ahead of time. This included lining up his assistant, booking transportation, and communicating with the agency about the project before the shoot.

Assistant/Digital Tech Day(s): The photographer and the agency wanted to keep a minimal footprint on location, so we combined the roles of assistant and tech into one. We included all four days of traveling and shooting for this person’s rate.

Equipment: This included the photographer’s cameras, lenses, grip, and lighting equipment, plus his laptop for the assistant/tech to use on site.

Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental: Since we didn’t know exactly where each shoot would take place, it was hard to estimate travel costs, and the agency asked that we just put in some placeholders while they figured out the logistics. I based the numbers on $500/flight, $250/night for lodging, and $350/shoot for a van rental.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: Again, since locations were a bit unknown, it was hard to be accurate, and I included $500 per assignment/farm to account for these items. Roughly, I anticipated about $300 in meals/per diems, and $200 for other miscellaneous expenses.

First Edit for Client Review: This included the photographer’s time to do an initial edit on all of the content and prepare a web gallery for the agency to review.

Color Correction, File Cleanup and Delivery of 12 Selects by FTP: We based this on $100/image for the minimal post-production work.

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 1 610 260 0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: A Corporate Lifestyle Project With an Expanding Scope

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Corporate lifestyle images of employees at work

Licensing: Collateral use of 30 images in perpetuity

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Mid-sized, based in the Midwest

Client: Large law firm

Here is the estimate:

Corporate lifestyle photoshoot initial estimate.

Creative/Licensing Fees: The project started like many others I’ve seen. A law firm needed corporate lifestyle images of their employees at work within their offices. Based on the brief we received, we decided that two shoot days would be necessary to check off all the boxes and to make sure that all the key employees were available to participate. They hoped to license 30 final images, primarily for use on their website and for other collateral purposes. Based on my experience on other similar projects, I anticipated that a fee somewhere between 4-5k/day, or a few hundred dollars per image would be appropriate, despite the perpetual duration requested. I decided to include $4,500/day, or $300/image, to arrive at a creative/licensing fee of $9,000.

Scout/Pre-Production Days: I included $1,000 to account for the photographer’s time to look at the location prior to the shoot, and discuss the project with the agency/client.

Assistants: We wanted to keep a relatively small footprint, and we included one assistant who would play double duty as a digital tech, as well as a second assistant to lend an extra pair of hands for both shoot days.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: We anticipated the need for light hair/makeup styling, and included a stylist for both days.

Equipment: This included the photographer’s camera, grip, and lighting equipment for both days.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: We anticipated $35 per person per day for the crew for meals, and included approximately $100/day for mileage, parking, and unforeseen expenses that might arise.

First Edit for Client Review: This included the photographer’s time to do an initial edit through everything captured, and provide a gallery of content for the client to review.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, and Delivery of 30 Selects by FTP: We based this on $50/image for the light post-production that the photographer would perform on the selected images.

Feedback: The agency was receptive to the fees/expenses and told us that there was a chance this project could potentially grow in scope, but they needed to continue the conversation with their client. About two months later, they finally got back in touch to inform us that they wanted to expand the project to include five cities. Additionally, rather than corporate lifestyle images, the creative scope shifted to focus more on environmental portraits of individual employees, and there were 353 employees collectively in each of the five different cities/offices. While it wasn’t completely dialed in, we acquired a rough breakdown of approximately how many people were in each office and developed a plan for ten shoot days. Five days would be at a location local to the photographer, and the rest of the shoot days would be at a mix of locations, a few of which required a bit of travel.

Here was the revised estimate we sent:

Second estimate for corporate lifestyle photoshoot.

We included a breakdown of subjects in each city along with an itinerary to ensure we were on the same page with the agency regarding the approach for the project. Since the scope changed to individual portraits, I thought that each image might be a bit less valuable than evergreen corporate lifestyle shots, and there was less of a chance they’d use a portrait of a lower-level employee as the face of any larger marketing campaigns. I decided to go with $100/image totaling $35,300, which also broke down to just over $3,500/day, and I felt this was reasonable given the additional fees the photographer would make for their travel days, equipment and post-production time.

For the crew, I broke out separate prices for travel days and shoot days for the first assistant/digital tech, who would be traveling with the photographer. We anticipated hiring local second assistants in each market, and while the plan was the same for the hair/makeup stylist, we included a slightly higher rate for them for a shoot in a larger market that would demand a higher fee for such a role. We kept equipment charges modest compared to the first estimate since the photographer owned his gear, and used Kayak.com to estimate travel expenses. For post-production, we brought the per image fee down from $50 to $25 for the color correction and file cleanup.

After reviewing the estimate, the agency let us know that they wanted to add back in the corporate lifestyle shots, along with some group photos of staff and detail shots of the office environments as well. However, they only wanted to do this at their headquarters where most of their staff was, and focus solely on the individual portraits at the other locations. We submitted the following revised estimate:

Third estimate for corporate lifestyle photoshoot.

In order to accomplish the new project scope, we felt that we would need two additional days at their headquarters, which was the location local to the photographer. Additionally, we needed to account for 24 additional images. While I discussed pushing the fee higher with the photographer, I also wanted to stick around the $3,500/day mark even though I felt the value of these additional 24 images was higher than the individual headshots. We also wanted to include a slight discount in return for a commitment to hiring the photographer for so many days. Ultimately, we landed on $42,500 as a creative/licensing fee, which was based on a candid conversation with our agency contact on what would be palatable to the client.

Additionally, we were asked to remove the hair/makeup styling, and were informed that they had hoped for us to stay around an 80k bottom line. We removed the styling, dropped equipment down a bit, and came down even further on the post-production on a per-image basis (while still including what we felt was appropriate overall for the time dedicated to retouching).

The project was awarded, and the shoot went off without a hitch.

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Architectural and Still Life Images for Grocery Store

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Still life images of produce, architectural images, and group portraits of employees

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 83 images in perpetuity

Photographer: Food and portrait specialist

Agency: Small, based in the Northeast

Client: Grocery store and produce distributor

Here is the estimate:

Image of the first estimate for grocer store client.

Creative/Licensing Fees: The project had four components consisting of 1) still life images of food items against a solid background, 2) interior architectural images, 3) exterior aerial architectural images, and 4) environmental group portraits of employees, which would be captured over two days at two facilities/markets. Overall, they were hoping to end up with 50 product shots, 20 exterior architectural images, 7 aerial exterior architectural images, and 6 group shots, and they requested unlimited use of these images in perpetuity. The client only had one major market for customers in which they’d be advertising, and despite the request for unlimited use, the images were most likely to be used for collateral purposes. As much as I’d prefer to come up with a tiered pricing model, I had a feeling that based on previous projects with similar clients, we’d be looking at a couple of hundred dollars per image if we were lucky. I initially thought that a fee somewhere between $6-8k per day would be appropriate given the limited exposure. While I first suggested a creative/licensing fee of $16,000 to the photographer, we decided to come down slightly to $14,000, which we thought would be palatable on both ends.

Tech/Scout and Pre-Production Days: We anticipated that the photographer would scout both locations prior to the shoot on a single day. Also, I included a pre-pro day to account for the photographer’s time to help line up the crew and correspond with the agency about the details/logistics.

Assistant: The photographer wanted a lean crew to be as nimble as possible, especially because we anticipated working in a tight environment. We therefore included just one assistant for both shoot days.

Food Styling: We included a stylist for two days to account for one prep day and one shoot day, as all of the food images would be captured on just one of the two days, and we included an assistant for the stylist on the single shoot day as well. The client told us that they would provide all of the food items, and even though the stylist wouldn’t have to shop for food, their prep day accounted for product intake and organization.

Drone Operator: The photographer planned to outsource the aerial exterior architectural images to a drone operator, and they would capture the content on just one of the two shoot days. We included $1,500, which we anticipated would cover the operator and their equipment.

Equipment: I included $1,000/day to cover basic camera, lighting, and grip equipment, all owned by the photographer.

Mileage, Parking, Misc: I included $250/day for miscellaneous expenses that might arise, mainly as a buffer to account for unforeseen expenses.

First Edit for Client Review: This was based on $500/day and included the photographer’s time to batch edit all of the content and create web galleries for the client to review.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, and Delivery: I typically include at least $50-$100/image for basic post-processing, but since we wanted to keep the expenses to a minimum, we went with $25/image for the light post-production work. Overall, that totaled just over $2k, and I felt this was reasonable for the photographer’s time.

Feedback: We were asked to separate the project into two different proposals while making a few updates. First, they reduced the number of still life product shots from 50 to 25. Also, rather than shooting still life images of the products on location, they were interested in capturing that content at the photographer’s studio. This was a direction that the photographer suggested and hoped they would want to go in, and she was willing to integrate a discount into her fee and charge a very modest studio/equipment fee to steer them this way. Additionally, they would be bringing all of the prepped and organized products to the studio, so a food stylist would not need a prep day. As for the architectural images, they were willing to do without the drone content, and overall they were hoping we could find ways to come down collectively. We accomplished that by dropping the photographer’s fee a bit in consideration of the reduced shot count and by making a few tweaks to the expenses. Here were the estimates:

Second estimate for grocery store client.

Third estimate for grocery store client.

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 1 610 260 0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any pricing & negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

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 five 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 to create content for social media, and there was also the possibility of the images living on the client’s website and being used for other collateral purposes. They only needed five shots and were willing to limit the usage duration to one year. These restrictions put downward pressure on the fee, as did the photographer’s limited experience working on commercial productions. I felt that each image was worth $500-$750, and on top of that I wanted to add $2-3k for the photographer’s creative fee. I ultimately decided that $5,000 was appropriate for a combined creative/licensing fee given the factors.

Photographer Scout Day: I included one day for the photographer to go see the location and do a walkthrough with the team. Typically I’d include a fee closer to $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 photographer’s digital tech, and we included a second assistant as well for the one 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 agency I marked props as TBD which would be dependent on 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, we’d cast from cards rather than hold a live casting. Oftentimes I’d charge $500-$1,000 to handle this process, but we waived it and integrated the work into the producer’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 it’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 help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Patient Portraits for Regional Hospital Campaign

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

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

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

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Healthcare-focused

Client: Hospital

Here is the estimate:

July Pricing and negotiating

Creative/Licensing Fees: 

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, however it was more likely that one or two images per person would be used in any significant way.  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, however I’ve priced a handful of similar projects recently, and given all of the factors, 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: This covered the photographers time to walk through and see the location prior to the shoot.

Pre-Production Days: 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 photographer’s wheelhouse, and he had strong connections and the ability to line up the crew and coordinate logistics quickly on his own.

Assistants: We included a first assistant for both the shoot day and 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: We included one day to help with minor touchups and make sure the patients looked presentable. I’d typically aim higher on the rate, but again, this was appropriate for the crew in this particular city.

Wardrobe/Prop Stylist: The exact scenarios were 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: 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 I’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: 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: This was based on $50 per person

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

First Edit for Client Review: 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: The post-production would be pretty minimal, and we based this on $50/image.

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

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. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: “Real People” Lifestyle Images for Fashion Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of real people going about their day while wearing the brand’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 models 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 brand’s website. It was clear in our conversations that they’d likely use one hero shot of 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 be worth $1,500, the second image $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 being 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 they’d ultimately rely on for 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): The photographer had amassed a huge library of talent with whom he collaborated and developed relationships with while working on a personal long-term project, and he planned to rely on that network to find talent for the this production. That 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 agency 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  $2,000 per person was appropriate to offer to models, and this fee was in line with rates we previously paid when working with “real people” 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 initially unclear if we’d be shooting in their workplace or out on the street, I wanted to make sure that at least a few hundred dollars would be 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 six 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 wouldn’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 fee covered the photographer’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:  Even though the client requested a “lean and mean” shoot at first, it soon became clear that they wanted a higher level of production for the project. We added a wardrobe stylist and a producer, both of whom would travel with the team. Considering the addition of a producer, we decided to forgo the pre-pro days for the photographer and assign the logistical tasks to the producer. 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 photographer’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 help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610 260 0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.