Pricing & Negotiating: Brand Narrative For Medical Equipment Client

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Fees

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

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

Crew

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

Equipment

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

Travel

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

Catering/Craft Service

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

Miscellaneous

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

Post Production

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

Results

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

Follow our Consultants @wonderful_at_work.

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


Need help pricing or negotiating a project? Reach out!

The Daily Edit – Hard Pack Magazine: Zach Seely

Hark Pack Magazine

Editor and Founder: Zach Seely

Creative Direction and Design: SOON Services, Brendan Dunne, Ken Tokunaga

Fashion Director: Benoit Martinengo
Designer: Christian Sant

Heidi: What compelled you to start a niche print publication based around skiing?
Zach: There’s a simple reason for starting Hard Pack. I have a passion for skiing, images and words. In that sense, it sounded like a lot of fun.A more complex reason is because I was tired of the images and media around skiing. To me, how the media had represented the sport felt stuck and ossified in a particular mode. For all the variety of the sport, why had the image of skiing felt so undifferentiated? The majority of media around skiing falls into two camps. The first camp comes from the perspective of an elite hobbyist. It focuses on apres ski, expensive gear, resort reviews, and pricey hotels. The second camp comes from the perspective of a ski bum. It focuses on lots of powder, steep lines and probably some Grateful Dead vibes.
I have nothing against these two images, but they are not my experience of the sport. There was an opportunity to subvert those traditional images of skiing. The new image would be multi-dimensional, philosophical, and weird. It would embrace stories on architecture, fashion, design, poetry, fiction and criticism.I started Hard Pack to publish new voices whom you would not find in other ski and outdoor publications.

What makes this magazine different from endemic titles that have (may have) disappeared or gone exclusively digital?
Our title Hard Pack is both an homage to Powder which I grew up with but also a provocation. Hard pack snow, of course, refers to the type of snow no one celebrates but the majority of us ski on. We take that provocation as our editorial mandate to do things other titles wouldn’t do. So, of course, we will never publish resort reviews or rankings or a gear review. But we go beyond that. We want to develop a new lexicon for the sport. To do this, we prioritize photographers and writers outside of the ski industry. And by working with these types of creators we end up with stories not typically seen in a ski magazine. We also have a fashion component. Benoit Martinengo is our fashion director. And he leads the fashion editorials for each issue. By engaging with the sport through the lens of fashion, we are able to have a perspective on the rise of outdoor technical clothes in the fashion industry. Finally, we are a print-only publication. We invest a great amount of our resources in the print object. The creative directors, Ken Tokunaga and Brendan Dunne of SOON Services, design the magazine. Each layout is custom. We don’t have a set flatplan. We let the stories inform the design and vice versa. Each issue has multiple paper stocks and unique print inks. We want to create an object you want to hold onto.

How old were you when you first started sliding on snow?
Apparently my dad told my mom that if I can walk then I can ski. He put me on skis at the age of three and took me to Alta in Utah. Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons became my playground essentially. I was able to see the tram at Snowbird from my bedroom window.

In a few words, tell us what skiing is for you and how it has shaped you personally, and creatively…
I’m not super interested in over-romanticising the sport. Obviously, I’m obsessed with it, but it’s only one aspect of my life. Skiing is my favorite outdoor sport among many others like surfing and road cycling. Skiing is also an intellectual pursuit of mine. I’m always reading about it, seeking out poetry that mentions it, and finding cinema that references it. It’s a generous sport to think with. But it’s also an expensive hobby that is part of an industry that is complex and not always good to every stakeholder. That means I have some complicated feelings about the sport, as well.

How did launching Sandwich magazine inform this work, both creatively and through the nuts and bolts of business?
Sandwich magazine was a surprise. I was running a marketing team at a small food CPG company. We needed something to bring a bit of energy to a very crowded and challenging category. We had grown tired of producing food content for the algorithms. We were looking for content that was more in-depth and that mirrored our own passion. We had been big fans of Lucky Peach, the independent food magazine. We thought we could publish something similar. We ended up partnering with TCO out of London to bring it to life. We called it Sandwich. Its mandate is to publish overlooked aspects of food and culture. Each issue takes inspiration from the ingredients of a sandwich to talk about new stories. It blew up on social media. It did well at newsstands. Sold surprisingly well online. It became a viable independent magazine. From that I learned a lot about the magazine publishing world. It gave me great contacts with printers, distributors and retailers. Also, it gave me my first peek into the life of an editor.

How are you trying to make the objects of skiing photographically arresting? Silent Snowfall by Lara Giliberto is gorgeous.
Well, one thing we are trying to do is bring in new voices to the sport. Lara’s work in issue two is one such example. Lara does incredible still life work working often with M Le magazine du Monde out of Paris. She collaborated with set designer Camille Lichtenstern for this work. What they achieved with “Silent Snowfall” is particularly gorgeous. They took ski objects like avalanche shovels, ski wax, and boots and paired them with high-fashion objects. That type of lens meant we’d be able to see a ski boot like never before. The idea of shooting a ski boot upside down is very simple but never done and that’s what they did. It’s quite the statement but hard to pull off. It takes an outside eye to achieve that. In main ways, this story is our response to the season-preview gear reviews that typical magazines publish. We happen to prefer to showcase these objects not as functional objects but as objects of high design.


Matthew Hensen and his legacy were celebrated in the launch issue with the story “That Went Downhill Fast”. The project is beautifully photographed by Samuel Bradley and exquisitely styled by Benoit Martinengo. Tell me about the evolution of this project.

Well, Benoit is our fashion director and he knows Samuel Bradley. Samuel is one of the best fashion and editorial photographers around. Benoit approached Samuel about contributing, and Samuel was immediately interested. We had discussions about different stories. We ended up landing on something that Samuel could shoot in London. The inspiration came from Matthew Hensen, who was the first man to reach the North Pole. The historical photos of this explorer are stunning. It became a cool collaboration for Samuel and Benoit. Benoit had the challenge of recreating those looks with contemporary brands. They still had to feel modern though. What he achieved feels very timeless. That’s thanks to many of the brands like Roa Hiking and Lemaire. Samuel is able to fill the entire story with a sense of humor. That humor is a necessary component to this story. The skier, our model, has veered off course finding himself in the streets of London. Samuel has a great eye for capturing humor while creating stunning images. In the end, the story is one of my favorites we’ve ever created. It is a fun commentary on the entire streetwear meets gorpcore movement. It’s able to make a nice comment while remaining thoughtful, sophisticated and beautiful.

What are your hopes for this printed project?
I generally hope that we get to keep making them. I hope that enough people want to read and own them that it becomes a sustainable business. Very simple stuff, to be honest. It’s rare to put a print object out in the world in our era. It’s meaningful to connect with others who share a similar passion for the sport and for print. On the creative front I hope we continue to work with exciting photographers like Samuel and Lara. Doing editorial work is a labor of love, and it’s so meaningful to have photographers who want to work with you. And, finally, I hope we are making a meaningful change to the ski industry and the way it portrays itself. Even if the impact is small, we hope we are widening the scope of the sport. We hope to make it accessible to people who have never picked up a ski magazine before.

What surprised you the most, now that you’re well into your 3rd issue?
Honestly, what surprised me the most is that we got so many inbound requests from photographers and writers asking to contribute after only our first issue. It’s a small thing but the response from the photo community has been special.

Any advice for anyone who is launching a print magazine?
Reach out to the editors of your favorite magazines and take them out for coffee. I find that the community is all about support. I’ve received so much help from countless industry veterans to newcomers.

How can photographers get involved in the magazine?
Send us a note at info@hardpackmagazine.com

The Art of the Personal Project: Scott Lowden

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:   Scott Lowden

Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful amalgamation of indigenous Mesoamerican and Catholic traditions, creating a culturally rich and visually stunning celebration. My fascination led me to Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, and Isla de Janitzio Mexico, where families gather at the gravesites of their loved ones, creating ofrendas (altars) with personal items, favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The above-ground burials are deeply rooted in the cultural and spiritual practices of the indigenous Purepecha people and add another element to the mystical scene.

The juxtaposition of marigolds and sugar skulls with Catholic icons and candles creates a visual poetry that speaks to the blending of these traditions. Iconic candlelit paths leading to hillside cemeteries, adorned with papel picado and the intoxicating aroma of copal incense, beckon the spirits to join the living in a celebration of life and death. Through my photographs, I strive to convey the profound connection between the Mayan reverence for the deceased and the Catholic rituals that permeate the island.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

The Daily Edit – Bikepacking: Nathan Khalsa


Bikepacking

Photographer: Nathan Khalsa

Heidi: How did this project come about, were you published by Bikepacking before?
Nathan: The project was born out of how most of my work is born. I want to go do a thing, and I bring a camera along. Lucky for me, I was accompanied by two other photographers so the body of work was much more substantial. This was my first time contributing to Bikepacking. An editor that follows me on Instagram had reached out to me to ask if I’d like to do a little write-up to be featured. I thought it was an awesome opportunity because I love that publication, I didn’t even realize it would be paid until after I turned it in. I was just stoked for the opportunity. I haven’t had a consistent writing practice since college, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging, but I’m eager to keep looking for more opportunities to develop that side of my storytelling.

Did you keep a journal to remember all the details of the trip?
I do find great value in a journal, but I don’t typically find that it fits into my process, especially when I’m trying to shoot and be present. For this particular narrative, I feel the photos did a good job of being the journal. They go a long way to bring back feelings and memories. On my next bikepacking escapade, I would like to make an effort to keep a journal, because it is a great way to document the little details you may forget.

How difficult was the photo edit and how many rolls did you shoot?
Between the 3 of us over a 4-day trip, I think we shot 10 rolls. I shot 3 and a half. The editing was extremely difficult, but I always have a hard time editing down. Especially with 2 other photographers, it was difficult getting it down to the number Bikepacking specified, telling the story, and making sure we all had good representation. I feel like a lot of interesting moments were captured, some that unfortunately didn’t make it into the final article. I suppose that’s just the nature of the beast. 

I know you can ride a lot and manage work from the hearty numbers you posted for the Patagonia Global strava challenge and your 2020 bike tour. When you’re bikepacking, there’s always something to prep or clean up, how did you find time to create the images?
Good question. There is also the dichotomy of living the experience and being outside of it to photograph it. I think I have been doing it for a long time, so at this point, I am always looking for those interesting moments. I’ll drop anything I am doing if the light is hitting just right, or a composition jumps out at me. It also helped to have 2 friends who are also very familiar with the photographic process, so they are easy subjects.  An ill-advised but handy trick is to ride with one or no hands and shoot from the bike, which allows for some really cool and dynamic shots. That is something I got lots of practice with on my 2020 bike tour. Being relatively comfortable with the activity is also important. I am comfortable living off of a bike, and have a system down that works, so I don’t have the stress of “Where the hell am I going to put tonight’s dinner in one of these bags?” or “I thought I packed my pump…” Being prepared goes a long way so you can focus on not only shooting, but enjoying.


It’s not bikebacking until your pushing, a friend once said. Tell us about this photo.
This photo didn’t make it in the final edit, but is a pretty good visual on how hard we were working climbing up Mt. Constitution. The trails were at inclines that were not bikeable, so it turned into a 2 mile slog pushing heavy bikes up the mountain. Paddy and I were both worried about Hank as he was having some health issues feeling faint, especially at high output. Not having many options besides keep going up, we were hoping to find the top sooner or later. Hank has one of the best attitudes though. Always down for an adventure, and hardly said no to anything, he pushed through and was ok. When we got to the top, the road coming up had closed, so the ride down was a smooth, fast, car free descent at sunset back to camp. Worth every ounce of hard work.
Where does your love of film and photography come from?
Photography is such a strong form of communication for me. It’s a form of creative expression I clicked with at a young age, and what drives me to keep shooting is to capture emotions, memories, and the intangibles of experiences and places.
While I don’t solely shoot film, 2 things draw me to it, but I’ll skip the cliche part everybody already knows about it having a timelessness and nostalgia that is very appealing. For me, it’s mostly the simplicity. Not staring into the back of your camera over-analyzing every shot, not having 10,000 photos to sort at the end, not having the plethora of settings to concern yourself with, not missing the shot because your nose made the focus go to the bottom left of the frame because your nose touched the touch screen. As a tactile learner, I have a big appeal to analog. Modern digital cameras are incredible tools, but film is invaluable for finding each shot a little more precious, and spending less time with the camera and more time in the experience.
Who are your photo inspirations, if any….
Chris Burkard has been a big inspiration to me over the years. Not only his images, but his whole life ethos is noteworthy. And he does some epic bike rides. Another would be Jeff Johnson. I have looked up to him and his adventurous spirit for over a decade, and I love his collection of work from 180º South. One more recent would be Joe Greer. He has an incredible eye for light, composition, and timing. His genre isn’t something I find myself shooting often, but his style I find very appealing that I’d love to draw from.

Are you working on any personal projects?
No personal projects at the moment, but I am looking to make some lifestyle changes to make some more time for photography pursuits soon.

A Commercial Lifestyle, Fitness and Sports Photographer/Director based in LA: $181k (net)

My first actual biggish commercial job where I had a digital tech for the first time and a few assistants was in 2015.

2022: Gross $388,000, Tax (30%) $107,000, Agent (25%) $89,000, Take Home $181,000
2021: Gross $705,900, Tax (30%) $208,000, Agent (25%) $179,000, Take Home $309,900
2020: Gross $427,200, Tax (30%) $128,000, Agent (25%) $106,800, Take Home $307,600
2019: Gross $551,500, Tax (30%) $165,450, Agent (25%) $137,800, Take Home $248,250

Above, I listed out of my income for the past few years. It has my gross income from my fees. We set aside 30% for taxes. We never pay that whole amount for taxes, but it’s a good forced savings account. My Agent gets 25% of all fees.

My partner is in the creative industry but doesn’t work directly with me. We jointly own our S-Corp and bill our fees through the same company. We use a payroll company to pay ourselves $6,000 monthly to cover most of our personal expenses.

Our business expenses are around 10K per month. This accounts for general business expenses like insurance, online storage, and other essential things. It also accounts for those random months when we buy some new equipment, hard drives, send out promos, or do a test shoot.

Altogether, we want to make around 20K monthly ($240,000 per year) to live relatively carefree. That income would let me generally shoot any test shoot without worrying about the cost too much. We could go on a vacation or two, but nothing too lavish. We could buy some nice furniture for the house or something like that.

I know that sounds like a ton of money, and it definitely is, but running a photography business can be expensive. For instance, I’m writing this from my 2019 Macbook Pro on a laptop fan stand to help keep it cool. Work has been too slow for the past year for me to get a new computer comfortably. We spend money now only on what we have to, not want to.

I don’t own a studio or too much gear. Our expenses are general business expenses like insurance, online storage, and other essential things.

We put as many expenses on the business as possible. I always take photos while we’re out, so it’s easy to justify.

Photography is about 90% of my income. I do direct, but generally, we lump that into the shooting rate. I do my retouching sometimes for clients which we bill for.

My clients are Fortune 500 companies that span from sports, fitness, technology, and pharmaceutical. I like to say, if it’s got people in it, I’ll shoot it.

My partner and I have 401K, and we contribute each year. We don’t do individual stock buying or anything like that.

Shoot Days:
2022: 48
2021: 62
2020: 59
2019: 87

It has fluctuated a lot, as you can see. It felt like I hit a high point in 2021, and now I’m riding the rollercoaster downhill at the moment. A few of my big clients underwent some changes, and I’m no longer shooting with them. I felt a significant shift in the summer of 2022. That’s when I noticed a real slowdown. Personally, I don’t think it’s picked up to where it used to be. The economy scares hit the folks I usually work with. One big Fortune 200 company I’ve worked with a lot relicensed almost everything I’ve shot for them instead of creating new work. That has helped my bottom line this year and is a testament to not giving up usage rights for unlimited time. Of course, we do that on some jobs, but we obviously see the value in limiting that usage, so things like this can happen.

My partner works in the creative industry but not directly with me. They still bill through our company for their work. I’m the general breadwinner in the family at this moment.

It ranges all the time, as I’m sure everyone does. I’ll talk about those bigger jobs that require treatments and lots of prep time. So when those jobs come in, this is how it all breaks down time-wise and financially:

– We get approached about the project and have our first creative call with the client/agency.
– We bring on a production company to work on the bid with my agent while I work on the treatment.
– Before we submit, we align on the creative and production process we will take with the job. I don’t want to say we’ll shoot all with HMI’s, and production has a strobe package put into the budget. It’s important to tell your production company everything you plan to do creatively because that can affect the budget.
– We submit the budget and treatment, and sometimes we get to have a second call to review both, which is great.
– We get awarded the job and immediately start on casting, locations, and the rest of it.
– We’ll do in-person location scouting and sometimes in-person casting for talent.
– These jobs at this scale are generally at least 3-5 days.

Jobs at this scale financially are generally pretty great. Let’s take a job I did recently at this scale with the same prep work as stated above. It was for a Fortune 100 company. The shoot was four days. I worked on this project (including treatment) for around 15 days off and on.

Rate: $10,500.00 per day for four days
Tech Scout: $3,500
Pre-Production/Fitting: $1,500
Total Fees: $47,000

Usage
This license is strictly limited to the terms and conditions below, and governed by the Copyright laws of the United States, as specified in Title 17 of the United States Code:
Duration: 3 Years
Exclusivity: Exclusive
Region: Worldwide
Media: Unlimited Media
Photographer retains ownership and copyright.

I pay $750 for my first assistant, $650 for second and so on. My digital tech gets $750 for his rate and at least $1,500 for his equipment. Generally, it’s around $1,850-2K depending on what we need. These rates are for 10-hour days.

My best paying shoots over the years:

2019: $80,000 – This was an 11-day job in Spain for a Fortune 200 company. My fees would be over 100K when we won the job, but the company had to strike some shoot days for budget reasons.

2020: $61,000 – This was five shoot days with two tech scout days alongside motion for a Fortune 50 company. I shot with motion, but when they moved on, we set up our own lights and reshot other things.

2021: $75,000 – This was additional usage of a complete buyout of work I had done for a company that year. We shot the job with a one-year usage agreement for $53,000 in fees. The company returned to us later that year and requested to buy out the library of images for an unlimited time.

2022: $41,500 – This was for a sports/fitness company. It was a travel job with four shoot days.

Worst shoot:
There’s one I’m about to shoot tomorrow that’s pretty bad. It’s a one-day shoot with two years of unlimited usage for $2,000 that I spent three days creating a treatment for and have already been on two pre-production calls, and I’ll be leaving my house soon to go on a scout. The entire production of the shoot is $70,000.

But here’s the thing: the creative is good, and the work could lead to some much bigger players in the space. Of course, the company said that if this shoot goes well, they will be shooting a lot more, which we never really take as a solid offer.

If a job has great creative and could lead to more work in a sector, we jump on the opportunity. We never like to give away usage for that cheap, but sometimes, you have to play the long game in this industry. If they come back, we will not do the shoot again for 2K. We always bump our fees up higher because we’ve proved ourselves.

For personal projects, I shoot the video myself. It’s not a huge percentage of my income at this point. I’d like it to be higher, but currently, it’s primarily stills. All of my personal projects now have a motion component to them.

For marketing, there’s pre and post-COVID lol. Pre covid, I was creating books, newspaper promos, and things like that. In this new world, I make promo items for clients I know personally. I last did a newspaper promo a few years ago, but I send out other fun things to them that they like. It’s all branded with my logo and contains a lovely postcard of a favorite image of mine.

I haven’t seen anyone else do this, so I’m not going to dive too into specifics on what I’m sending and how I’m sending it. But mainly, I send something out a few times a year and make it very branded.

I’ve started sending out a newsletter, which has been fun. I’ll take meetings when I’m in different cities. I keep up with clients on Instagram.

My agent does most of the marketing. They send out newsletters all the time, and they take meetings constantly.

I don’t know about the worst advice, but I have heard of a way of running your business that I can’t entirely agree with. There are people out there who take a slice of the whole budget for themselves. By that, I mean they will tell their crew their rates are one thing, but they’ve actually budgeted more and will keep that difference. I run my business differently. I make decent money, and I love my crew and want them to thrive. I will always give them as much money as possible.

That said, if we do a shoot with a budget of 100K and come in at 95K, I will pad the final invoice to get closer to that 100K and keep that money for myself. If the client has already allocated that money, we’ll use it! Of course, I like the extra money, but it’s also suitable for the client. If we come in under, their bosses will think that’s what it will cost going forward. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

As for best advice, god, I could go on and on about what I think is essential, and I’m learning new ones every day. I have a personal mantra: “I’ve just begun.” That allows me grace when I don’t love a shoot that I did, or I make a financial mistake. I’m constantly learning and trying to grow.

If I were to give advice, it would be the following:
– Always be creating personal projects.
– Treat every job like your last (I still need help to follow this).
– Shoot what the client wants and then try to find the time to shoot it the way you see it.
– Treat your crew well, and they will treat you well. I’ve heard so many horror stories from my assistants about photographers who are such assholes. How these photographers keep working, I’ll never understand.
– Figure out how to manage your money and do a personal budget.
– Figure out how to manage your money and do a personal budget.

Something like that. As I said, I’m still learning every day, but those are important.

I feel incredibly grateful for where I am in my career. When you read these numbers, I wonder what life you think I have. You might assume I’m rolling in cash and must not have a care in the world. I’m a represented photographer who works with some huge companies. I must feel like I’ve made it.

By no means is any of that true. Life can throw a bunch of crazy things at you at once, which will drain all your savings, which has happened to us. We were fortunate to survive, but we’ve been financially struggling for at least a year. Work has slowed down, and mixed with things that have happened in our life, it’s been pretty stressful. I have multiple photographers muted on Instagram because I swear every time I saw their posts, they were working. I couldn’t take it anymore. I constantly feel like my work isn’t good enough and strive to create work like I see on my feed every day. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve peaked in my career and taken those good times for granted. When the money was rolling in, I became complacent and stopped pushing myself as hard as I could. I’ve lived with this stress for years. I constantly think, what if the work stops, what am I going to do.

I am so grateful for where I am in my life, which are two opposite sides of the coin. I’m grateful that I can make a career out of photography, and I’m grateful for being this stressed about work and finances. I know it may seem funny to be grateful about stress, but it’s pushed me so much harder with creating new work, updating my website, starting a newsletter, and being more active on Instagram. I need to work on handling stress better as a human, but I’m going to try to hold onto that fear of it all going away. As a photographer, I’ve always been extremely hungry and pushed myself. Now, however, I’m pushing so much harder!

From this rambling part, if I were to instill one thing in anyone who reads this – next time you’re getting paid to shoot photos – STOP…for just a moment. Look around. You might be on a big shoot with tons of people or a small one. YOU are making money from photography! How fucking cool is that! Still, to this day, it amazes me! I absolutely love every second of it. From being on sets with tons of people and pressure to perform, to shooting personal projects with just me and an assistant. I love every second of it and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

So just know, a photographer like me, who you might think had made it, is still just as hungry, full of self-doubt, ambitious, and passionate as when I started.

The Art of the Personal Project: John Grande

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  John Grande

My series is called Under The Table[top]. The idea resulted from a happy accident. I was shooting a down shot on a matte plexi surface with a light underneath. I was under the table adjusting the light and saw that the object I was photographing projected onto the surface. Not in a typical fashion, but with the contact points sharp and readable and the areas further away more blurred and abstract.

I brainstormed ideas and produced 9 images total. They ranged from a breakfast table to a snack table with drinks, whiskey and cigars, a wine bottle and a spilled glass, roses and a vase and a cutter, and probably my favorite; melted ice-pops.

My name is John Grande. I am a still-life and people shooter specializing based in NYC. When I’m not in my studio or at my workstation I’m cooking for my wife, adoring my big gray cat, fly fishing in the Catskills or watching silly cartoons.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

A Photo Assistant based in Northern California: $28,700 (net)

These numbers are mostly from assisting, but also includes some of the photography work I did.

Technically, 11 years as a photographer. 8 years as a photo assistant.

My income is Photo Assistant – 90%, Event Photography – 5%, Portrait – 3%, Food – 2% All of my clients are local. The pay range for assisting is anywhere from $350-600 depending on the type of shoot.

I don’t have a lot of overhead. Either I do work in my apartment, but I am mostly on location doing my own work though mostly assisting.

I have retirement accounts, but unfortunately, I’ve had to dip into them so I really don’t have much.

I really try to take on what I can within reason of course. I make sure to have boundaries so I don’t get burnout and try to stick to other obligations.

My income started off really low when I first started freelancing. 2019 was a good year and my goal for 2020 was to gain more income than the previous year. Of course, we know how that went. This year is kind of feeling more like when I first started. There’s a lot of uncertainty and not a lot of income coming in.

I’ve sort of taken on a temp job, which has been helpful when things are slow. And though there’s no income in it, I’ve been volunteering at a local organization when I can.

Most of the shoots I’m on average about 2 days. But they can range anywhere from 1 day to 8 days.

My best recent job was a 2 day shoot with talent and two different locations. This was for personal care products. We had 10 hour days, which included wardrobe and HMU. Licensing was only for social for 2 years, but later the client wanted to add for web to the existing license. The brands could only use the images for web as well as internal use. Take home after (including the addition to the license) was $19,400. This was in 2021.

I don’t shoot video, but this is something I want to start getting into.

I need to work on marketing. I’ve been focusing on building up my portfolio again as most of my work is kind of old. But I plan to reach out to potential clients about possible future work.

It’s okay to want to perceive yourself as not being on the same track as your peers. We all work at our own pace and deal with our own setbacks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Do what works for you. Try to set aside those feelings. Keep your focus on your work and the work your peers are doing so that you can better yourself as a person and an artist.

A Commercial & Editorial Food Photographer based in Atlanta: $215,000 (net)

I do shoot food related subjects too (Chefs, Bartenders, Farmers, Makers, some liquid’s etc). I’ve been lucky enough to be able to really specialize and think it has helped with longevity.

I do have a presence on Wonderful Machine, but not a rep currently. I have had maybe 5 reps over the course of my career. Some good, some not so. Some international and some regional. I think if you have a good relationship with a good rep, then it’s a win/win, but if the relationship is unbalanced, then it will never work as well as it should.

My income is 80% Commercial Clients, 20% editorial clients and of that 80% about 75% is stills and 25% motion. I am structured as an S-Corp.

I have a range of clients from global brands to small independent businesses like mine. The majority of my clients are corporations, so don’t do a ton of agency work-maybe 20%. Occasionally I’ll get an agency project, but honestly prefer to work direct with client. There seems to be less stress and clearer flow of info. A lot of agencies i’ve worked with over the years seem unorganized and unrealistic with their expectations-especially when it comes to pricing. Even though I’m based in Atlanta I don’t do much, if any agency work here. It tends to be other markets for me. I do feel that generally Atlanta agencies don’t have the budgets NY/CHI/West Coast have, so find myself getting priced out of the Atlanta market to a certain extent. If I do work locally, I do feel there’s a lot of pressure to price myself competitively with the local market, but I feel my experience and knowledge are what clients should value and if I’m expected to price myself to be competitive with some of the local shooters, then I’m already feeling slightly under appreciated. I’m more than happy to work locally, but there has to be some compromise, at least as far as i’m concerned.

I have 1 permalance assistant, 1 part time book keeper and permalance producer as well as a plethora of freelancers on a job by job basis.

My biggest overheads by far are studio & payroll. Studio Mortgage is reasonable at $1700 p/m, but the studio sucks cashflow out of my account as soon as it hits. I buy all my equipment and research thoroughly to determine if I will get value for money from it. Just today, I dropped $4300 for another Canon R5C as I have a video project looming and want to shoot it all on 3 R5C’s. Props & surfaces are a huge investment to stay current and contemporary, so that takes at least $1K a month & if I am shooting a larger project i’ll invest in props that I know I’ll be able to reuse, so will often spend well over that in a given month if there’s a big project going on. Marketing is another cash drain. I am committed to At-Edge which feel gives me a presence in agencies I wouldn’t necessarily get a ton of success marketing to directly and find their speed dating reviews to be great and really beneficial. Thats around $800 per month. I was doing Agency Access at about $165 a month, but just stopped this as I wasn’t getting a lot of traction and have replaced this with a custom marketing plan from Wonderful Machine which is too early in the process to know if it works. Studio insurance that covers both property and liability is about $500 per month. I pay myself through payroll so thats another $8K per month and supplement this by paying through distributions. My car is also paid by the business, so thats another $800. I pay myself via payroll and top that up with distributions.

My retirement is a combination of IRA, 401K and investments.

It’s around 6 days per month of actual shooting, so about 70 days a year, but there is so much to do in pre pro for my shoots, I’m always seemingly busy. This year, I wanted to spend more time in studio, so set myself personal projects when I’m not working on commissions, which has been great to rediscover some of the hunger that maybe got a little lost over the previous 6 or so years.

My income has stayed about the same for the last 8 or 9 years. We all took a hit during covid, but even though my hospitality clients stopped everything, the grocery store clients were keeping me busy. I have enough experience with all aspects of food photography I could work by myself and do the food & prop styling during the first few months. As more of us became vaccinated it was easier to hire crew again and get back to normal service. I do infrequently rent my space to trusted friends, but so far, luckily haven’t had to supplement my income.

Honestly every shoot is different. These days I seem to be ‘work for hire’ almost as much as I work via estimates/licensing, but even so, my work for hire clients generally pay my standard day rate. Obviously I don’t get to negotiate any licensing fee’s for these. For the clients I do work with via estimates, again each one seems different. My biggest paying client is global and I work for a day rate to include unlimited use in perpetuity that is $10K a day. On these shoots, we usually shoot between 6-8 images per day. Its not a huge project though, normally 2-3 days 3 times a year.

Most of my shoots are from 8am-6pm on shoot days, so a 3 day shoot would likely also have a full prep day, travel if on location or with one of my OOT clients, post work (I do my processing, simple retouching & color). The bigger retouching/compositing is sent out of studio. So a 3 day shoot really is about 6-7 days of my time. My prep/travel/pre light rates are $1k per day flat rate and for each 10 shots I charge 10 hours @ $100p/h for retouching.

Generally I pay assistants $500 per day for commercial clients and $350 per day for editorial clients. My permalance assistant also often doubles up as Digi Tech, so will also pass on that line item to him, so he can make $1000 a day on big shoots.

My best paying shoot in the last 2 years has been a menu/web redesign for a global QSR chain. It was 12 days of shooting 8.00am-6.00pm, 2 sets of stills (me on one set and my old assistant on the other), 1 set of motion. Not a very organized agency to be honest and partly explains why I appreciate working direct with client. They couldn’t give me an approved shotlist until the Friday before the shoot began on the Monday. So we were winging it and changing what I had proposed as the shoot order. They also couldn’t supply the quantities of food we requested so had to keep getting one of the restaurants to supply extra food. This did not go down well and we were thrown under the bus several times during the shoot for ‘not being organized enough’. I am too old to be thrown under the bus, so I did not accept this and immediately pointed out all the things they failed on to their client. They also kept adding shots, or tried to. Not even sure if this agency and client still work together. Needless to say though, we didn’t have any further problems during this shoot. The shoot overall was about $200K and after my overheads and crew costs, I made about $50K but with all the extra work reorganizing schedules and late nights reworking production books it probably took about 4 weeks of my time all told. so although a pretty big invoice, a lot of it went out to crew.

Editorial is so poorly paid now that I will shoot if its a story I’m excited about. Generally paying about $600-$1K per day. On those though, they are usually really fun so the pay off is work I’d likely use in my book and relatively stress free days.

I was doing WFH for a small agency working on a national chain for $1500 a day as I really liked the people I worked with, but after a disagreement with their client, who basically told me how to light his shitty product I told them I was done with giving them an unbelievable rate and they’d have to go with my regular standard rate. Needless to say, I’ve never worked with them again.

For marketing I’ve tried most things over the years. I’ve done all the source books at one time or another. I’ve done face to face with At-Edge over the years both in person and virtual, I’ve done printed promo’s at regular frequencies, i’ve done sporadic promo’s, i’ve done very targeted custom lists and also done the old school cold calling. Generally though I find most of my work comes through referrals from past/present clients. About 60% of my work comes from clients i’ve been with for 10+ years, so maintaining those relationships is important. I’m no kiss-ass though, so don’t send gifts, or take them to dinner unless we already have a project to discuss. I always liked face to face meetings & without things like At-Edge its really hard to get face to face meetings these days from cold calls. Obviously having a stellar website with good SEO optimization is probably one of the best marketing tools that works for me. I actually stepped back from Instagram as I don’t think my typical clients would source their photographers through this medium.

Best Advice: I always say something that was instilled in me when I started assisting and that is ‘you are only as good as your last shoot’. Meaning I won’t be remembered by a client for what I shot 10 shoots ago, so I approach each shoot like its my first one with that client.

Worst Advice: We can fix it in post.
It’s made us lazy IMO, and although there is some need to retouch & fix, its usually because we don’t have either the product or time to get right on set. Back in the day when shooting film, we’d probably only shoot 2 or 3 shots a day, but now its in the region of 6-8 generally, so don’t always have the time to get it right first time. Also as I deal with food, almost every food item will be different to the last. As an example, if I’m shooting steak, we could have a really beautiful steak, perfectly seared, fat lines in all the right places and when its cut it could look horrible. In the past, we factored this into how many shots a day are achievable and have the time to find the perfect steak, but now with more shots expected and smaller budgets for everything, we don’t have the time or in many cases, enough product to ensure we get it in camera.

Honestly this is all subjective, but for starters don’t be a jack of all trades. Even though I have the experience to shoot, food style and prop style, I would only do this if it was totally unavoidable such as when covid hit. A great food stylist will almost certainly give you better results than doing it yourself. Same applies to prop styling. A great prop stylist will almost always go the extra mile for a thin glass if we’re shooting drinks. I remember saying to an emerging prop stylist that I don’t expect them to style and purchase from chain stores as I could do that. I think that was a light bulb moment for her and although I can’t be credited with her establishing herself, she took on board what I said and has become quite well known and when we get to work together, she often brings this up as good advice.

Also, test as much as you can. Its so easy to get complacent-i’ve been like that many times, so keep engaged and focussed. I offer my space to any of my assistants to use if theres no shoots and most don’t take me up on it. Some do-which has always been great to see.

The biggest advice I have though, especially to those trying to take it to the next level is to really understand your market. Price yourself appropriately. Ask questions of your client. Before you even submit an estimate ask the client what their budget is. You might be surprised. If you low ball its really hard for you to get rates you probably could get. It hurts everyone. Some clients take that and use it against the entire community. Also, If you low ball and mess up, it doesn’t leave much in the pot for someone like me to reshoot. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve been asked to reshoot a project only to find out there is no budget because it was all spent on the first go. I know that doesn’t help nail the job first time, but it at least provides a bar for everyone to be more or less competitive with each other.

I honestly don’t know how we got to be shooting more than 8 shots a day, but again, it happens. Don’t be desperate and offer more than you can comfortably offer with the quality the client expects. I got offered a project last year through a huge agency and they wanted 16 shots in a day with video for 2 of them and they said this was standard. Not in my studio it isn’t. It’s less than 30 mins per shot with set changes and is impossible to do with any lasting quality. Once I broke it down like that they said I could bid it as a 2 day shoot. Needless to say I didn’t get that project & honestly didn’t want it, but at the very least I bid it as it should have been bid. I know they said it was too expensive, but in my mind it’s their loss. A slightly better budget would have proved beneficial for everyone. No-one wants to work 16 shots a day especially food stylists. It’s really demanding on them and I personally have their backs and know with almost certainty what it should take.

I have a saying I use as a mantra: ‘You can have cheap & you can have good, but you can’t have them both’.

A Beauty (commercial, still life, models) + Travel (editorial, fine art) photographer: Roughly $15k (net) down from $350k in 2019

Most of my income was from the beauty industry in NY. Everything disappeared last year and I’m focusing on travel + travel writing now.

Up until last year: Commercial beauty 90%; Travel 10%. Clients included L’Oreal.

Now travel / editorial 100%. Clients are small editorial + gallery.

I have retirement savings and max out my SEP IRA each year.

Work days when I travel are vague because I’m not shooting every day.

I was bringing in $400k in the years right before Covid, but as of early last year, everything disappeared.

When I started shooting travel assignments, I began writing the stories as well. This really clicked for me creatively and the editors who knew me responded very well to it.

My previous beauty shoots: 1-2 days per month, 8-10 hours. Pre-covid $7k/day + roughly $10k retouching per shoot day. Licensing was all usage (digital, POS) except advertising.

Post covid, rates were slashed in half and the amount of work by a small fraction. Then everything disappeared.

Travel editorials: usually 1-2 weeks, $5K for images + story. 1-2 assignments per year.

Best recent shoots:
1. Retouching-only gig for Mac Cosmetics (APAC), about $10k for 10 images.
2. Travel Assignment in Bora Bora – $5k but everything was sponsored so zero expenses. I ended up getting 3 editorial stories + two fine art print sales ($4k) from that one trip.

Worst recent shoot:
God help me. It was an editorial cover story for The Explorers Club in NY. I did a trip to Vanuatu independently and the editor had seen some of the images and a story I wrote in another magazine and asked if I could do one for their magazine The Explorers Journal. It was of course for free but I thought it would be a great opportunity. I wrote a new story from scratch and gave her the best images. No response. I followed up again and again as she said it would be for the forthcoming issue. No response. After all that work I had done for free, she ghosted me. I was furious. She finally reappeared 6 months later and said it would be a cover story in the next issue and that she’d love to meet me and bring me to the club to get to know everyone. Great! She took the images and story, and never responded to a thing after that. Just appalling. I know I’m not alone in saying this but the level of ghosting and unresponsiveness in our industry has reached an unbelievable high.

I started learning video editing during covid and discovered I quite liked it. I’m just doing small projects with my iphone to practice and build a reel but maybe it’ll turn into something more.

I’ve tried everything for marketing from Agency Access (doesn’t work) to posting more on social media (doesn’t work) to networking events (doesn’t work). The only thing that has ever worked is pure word of mouth. When I let go of trying, things happen.

Best advice: when the creative director of Random House forced me against my will to write some travel blog posts for a Fodors rebrand. That turned into one of my biggest creative successes.

Worst advice: it’s ALWAYS something I never asked for and is always along the lines of “you just have to put yourself out there and demand to be seen”.

I share the frustration that ghosting and unresponsiveness has reached an all time high in this industry. My #1 client pre covid hadn’t paid me for 9 months yet I was still working nearly 7 days a week for them. The one in charge would post selfies all day long but “not have time” to deal with AP. I feel that the entire industry right now is a dumpster fire, everything is changing but no one knows what it’s changing into. The old trajectories don’t exist anymore and neither do the destinations. I feel like it’s time, at least for me personally, to take a step back and let the industry figure its shit out. We can blame it on social media, we can blame it on Gen Z’s taking the helm and not knowing how communication works, we can blame it on companies not willing to commit or invest in quality work, and we can blame it on magazines disappearing. But the unresponsiveness from people is what kills me. And I know I’m not alone.

Educating Clients On Paying For Professional Photography

My rate structure explains what kind of usage is included and not included and it’s sent to them the minute they reach out to me, so they know. If they question the usage, I blame the government lol. I tell clients that by law, a photographer always owns the rights to the photos and that the client is paying to use them. The more uses, the more eyeballs, the higher the licensing fee. And they sometimes retort with “But so-and-so doesn’t charge me like that, I just get everything in the day rate…” And I reply “I know it’s confusing because every photographer creates the rate structure that works best for them.” I have heard that in markets outside of NYC/LA, photogs don’t always charge for licensing, so I think it’s a less challenging convo here in NYC. But the firmer I am on my policies/boundaries, the better my clients have gotten. It can be scary to say no to money, but I find it’s an energetic thing: say no to clients that question my business practices and my rates and yes to other prosperous people that value my worth.
– @reganwoodphoto

About 10 years ago, I got, from John Keatley, one of the best advices about pricing: it’s easier to change your clientele than a client’s mind about prices. If a client doesn’t understand usage, cost of doing business and production, I respectfully tell them we’re likely not a good match for their job.
– @pedrontheworld

It needs to be one of the first topics to discuss with the client. Like right in the reply email at first contact. I have long advocated for a rate sheet approach that clearly lays out your fees and license policies in a PDF as a sort of “take it or leave it“ situation. It shows potential clients that you are confident in your skills and pricing and leaves less room for haggling. Of course, this doesn’t work for all jobs, but it covers me for 80 to 90% of what I shoot. I imagine most photographers with the exception of purely agency repped advertising photographers could probably benefit from a similar approach.
– @apalmanac

This is a helpful resource: https://artistmanagementassociation.org/usage
– @post_photography

I find that even big companies in big cities still don’t understand licensing, prices. Or they do but they want it cheap and easy. Sometimes it’s better to walk away from a big name to prevent a headache. Stick to companies and clients who care!
– @karinnagylfphe

I fired clients several times early in my career. If you’re not a nepo baby you have to start at the bottom. Eventually my business was not able to afford working for certain clients so they had to go. Low-budget clients won’t suddenly come up with a pile of cash so fire them (kindly) ASAP. It’s just business and they’d do the same to us.
– @giuliosciorio

enjoying music personally on Spotify, but that doesn’t mean you can download it and use it on your YouTube video.
– @frenchlyphotography

When I get to that point, I explain what needs to be explained and then follow it with “sorry for all of that legalese, but this is how my industry operates. The bottom line is I’m making you images, and you have the license to use them how we discussed.” Works 9/10 of the time.
– @dave_pluimer

The Association of Photographers have a calculator for commercial photography. I have a gentle letter that links to the calculator explaining why commercial photography has usage limits and different pricing from personal photos.
– @really_rielle

https://digitalartthatrocks.com/blog/2020/11/10/what-is-a-usage-license-a-clients-guide-to-licensing-commercial-photography this article is a good start for the folk in the states
– @mauro_palmieri_photographer

I’m hearing a lot of ppl say just leave the client if they don’t understand. No. It’s so important to educate your clients even if you don’t want them. It’s all of our jobs to hold an industry standard and explain usage.
– @angela_peterman

This is a valid topic with a simple (and not so simple) answer. Simple: if you want your clients to pay more, illustrate and validate your value. Clients don’t just pay more because you’re telling them your services cost more, per se. Tell them WHY your services cost more (Experience? Special skill set? Ability to herd cats while still delivering A+ work?) What is it that makes you worth more? Not so simple answer: outside of big (or at least bigger) budget clients accustomed to 5 to 6 figure shoots, the creative fee + licensing model is antiquated and a huge stretch for most. Love it or hate it, it’s true. That doesn’t mean, however that you can’t still incorporate usage and time parameters into your fees. Simplify it for the client. Make it easy. Give them a lump “creative fee” that incorporates the your time and shooting skill/experience, specific deliverables, as well as usage and time parameters on the deliverables. This has been a common approach for me for the majority of my clients over the years and it is more effective, easier to understand and nearly always nets me more $$$ in the end. Ultimately, small market clients aren’t going to pay big market rates nor are they going to acquiesce to big market pricing strategy/mentality. You could educate and pontificate on your value till you’re blue in the face, but eventually you’ll realize that small market clients have a tolerance ceiling for what they’re willing to pay. And if you want to make more money, you’ll need to dial in larger market clients.
– @adambarkerphotography

I always give the example of doing a photo shoot for a small mom-and-pop coffee shop versus doing a photo shoot for Starbucks. Both shoots would have the same creative day rate and resulting photos would still be of coffee, people, places. Then, that gives me the opportunity to talk to them about usage and scale. They get it every time.
– @karlo.photo

The Art of the Personal Project: Margaret Lampert

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Margaret Lampert

The Art of Growing Up

My documentary short, The Art of Growing Up, was inspired by a conversation I had with a mother of three about how one speaks to young children about all the craziness of the world we inhabit; how to make sense of so many things that are completely and utterly senseless. She said that, of course, these conversations are excruciating but so necessary, and that it was in these children she found hope for the future.

Since every advertising project includes a motion component, as photographers we must all demonstrate our ability to direct. Rather than showcase this skill through work made for clients I decided the most powerful way to make my case was to concept and direct an original piece.  As a lifestyle photographer I have always tried to set my work apart by capturing moments that feel completely authentic rather than performances conjured up only because a camera is present. As my goal was to show how my still work translates to motion, I decided I wanted to tell a story that was as authentic and honest as my still pictures.

I first presented my idea to a team I had worked with previously: creative director Andrea Diaz-Vaughn and producer Sarah Clough. They were both immediately enthusiastic about the project and collaborated with me on every detail related to bringing this idea to life including sharing family, friends, countless hours, and most of all their expertise in concepting, scripting and storytelling. Their passion for the project and guidance in the development and execution of the piece made it all possible. After seeing my DP Aurora Brachman’s short film ‘Joychild’ I knew she was the perfect fit both in terms of sensibility and her extensive experience working with kids and teens. Editors Jeff Ledell and AJ Serrano wove it all together so artfully with the perfect combination of voices, b roll & music. Our team was small but mighty and I am so proud of what we’ve created.

 

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

The Daily Edit – Summit Journal: Michael Levy



Summit Journal
Editor: Michael Levy
Creative Director: Randall Levensaler

Heidi: As a senior editor for many titles in the outdoor industry, you’ve seen dramatic change, why resurrect a magazine, and why summit journal?
Michael: There are a few reasons, I guess. Some of it had to do with other examples I’d seen of that. Duane Raleigh, my former boss at Rock and Ice magazine, bought the rights to Ascent magazine in the 2000s at some point. Ascent had been an annual climbing publication put out by the Sierra Club, and it did some incredible stuff, but it was well past its heyday by the time Duane acquired it. He breathed new life into it and created a wonderful new version of Ascent that – until a couple of years ago when it ceased publication – was the best climbing pub around, for my money. 

And so that model, of resurrecting a former title, really intrigued me. It allows you to leverage an older publication’s wonderful history and legacy, but also do something new. To have kind of the best of both worlds. Summit had been on my radar for a number of years. In the back of my mind, I’d always thought it seemed ripe to be resurrected. It was the first monthly climbing magazine in America, founded in 1955 by two women, Jean Crenshaw and Helen Kilness. They were visionaries, way ahead of their time in terms of climbing journalism. And so for a long time, Summit was the climbing magazine. Jean and Helen published it until 1989, and then they sold the rights. The title had a second life from 1990-1996 as a glossy quarterly that also did some great stuff. And since then it’s been dormant. 

So what I loved about the idea of resurrecting Summit was being able to draw a straight line from Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Doug Robinson – all legends from the Golden Age of Yosemite Climbing who were involved with or wrote for the magazine – to today. Also, the magazine just had such a bold aesthetic: the retro covers are just too cool. Very stylish. I’m hoping to channel some of that into the new Summit Journal.

Will there be any digital content or only print?
It’s print only. My thinking on that is, basically, with the glut of content online, there’s something to be said for a highly curated, physical product. There’s so much out there on the Internet that a lot of stuff, much of it quite good, just gets lost in the noise. But something tactile that you can feel between your fingers and read over a cup of coffee or a beer, that prioritizes long-form. It might not reach as many people, but the people it does reach will be that much more invested. Print feels a bit like vinyl to me; what’s old is new again. Just like vinyl isn’t going to replace Spotify, print isn’t going to replace digital, but there is a very real audience out there (and I’m in it) that likes analog media, and appreciates reading things that aren’t on a screen. 

And building off that, print also felt like a more achievable business model, in a strange way. Though print has a higher bar to entry–the hard costs to get it off the ground are greater, and without attracting enough subscribers you’re dead in the water–once cleared, the way forward feels much clearer. You can only fill a magazine with so many articles, after all. 

Tell us about your first conversation with Paula Crenshaw, Jean’s niece, about bringing the Summit back.
So I actually first emailed with Paula several years ago, after Jean died. I wrote a short obituary. When I got back in touch with her early this year I shared what at that point was just my very vague idea of resurrecting Summit – and she was really supportive of it from the get-go. (That’s been one of the most gratifying things about this project: everyone has such fond memories of the original that they get really enthusiastic about the magazine coming back for a new era and a new audience.)

Paula herself was a climber back in the day. These days her real passion is marksmanship – she’s a competitive shooter! But professionally, she’s a doctor. Resurrecting Summit was never something that she wanted to do herself at any point. But she thought it would be a lovely thing for me to revive it – if I could figure out how, which was still a big if at that point. Until chatting with Paula, the idea was still just that, if only because as I told her in that call, I wouldn’t have pursued it any further without her blessing. The legacy of Summit, and what Jean and Helen built, didn’t feel like something that I had the right to mess with without getting explicit permission from their family. That was really important to me.

Who else is still involved from the magazine’s genesis and what has been their greatest insight?
So beyond Paula, another great supporter has been David Swanson, the guy who bought Summit from Jean and Helen in 1989 and then published it from 1990 to 1996 as Summit: The Mountain Journal. David’s publishing from that time is obviously worlds away from what the landscape is like today, but storytelling and good imagery never changes – he’s been a valuable resource and sounding board as I got my feet under me helming Summit Journal. He also has some great historical knowledge and connections. I’m in touch a little bit with John Harlin III, who edited the magazine in the 1990s and really did an incredible job. I’m hoping to have him write something for the new Summit at some point.

How are you sourcing photography?
So for this first issue I mainly turned to photographers whose work I was already familiar with from working in the industry, and then a few others who I stumbled across on Instagram and whose work I just really admired. Very little for this first issue was on commission – most of it, with a couple tiny exceptions, was already shot. 

But I’m hoping to shift toward more commissioned work going forward to get more of a balance between the two: I’d love to be able to fill the pages with photography that hasn’t already been plastered far and wide across social media, and that is in direct conversation with the written pieces in the magazine.

Another thing I’m trying to do is find ways to incorporate non-climbing photography into the magazine. Climbing photos are obviously at the magazine’s core, but I don’t want it to just all be dramatic mountain vistas and action shots. So in our first issue, for example, I commissioned an essay accompanied by some breathtaking macrophotography. Basically, even though Summit is a climbing magazine, I don’t think that limits us. If something is climbing-adjacent and allows us to broaden our mandate, that to me is really exciting.

Because this was founded by two women and there was controversy and pen names in its heyday, how are you planning to honor the two female founders and be inclusive?
This is something I’m very cognizant of. In short, though I don’t have any formula or anything, I’m trying to always have an eye on the overall make-up of the magazine. In the first issue, our contributors are roughly half women, and half men. At the end of the day, the final criterion for whether something makes it into the mag is whether it’s either good writing or good photography, but there’s fantastic and powerful storytelling and imagery coming out of every corner of the climbing world these days. The main problem is that I can’t fit it all!

And I’m happy to take pitches for photo essays. We have pretty few opportunities for one-off shots in the mag, but photo essays will figure heavily in each issue. Pitch me at mlevy@summitjournal.com. Our first issue is due early 2024.

A Commercial Director/DP/Photographer based in LA: $175k (gross) $135k (net)

My business is structured as an LLC .

My DP work is more Docu-Style. My Photo work is a mixed bag.

70 percent DP work, 20 percent Director work and 10 percent Photographer work.

Clients: Fortune 500 West Coast and East Coast.

Overhead: Cinema Cameras, Cine Lenses, Lighting and Grip gear, Camera support and Studio Rent.

Retirement: 401k nothing fancy at the moment.

I work 40-55 days a year.

My income has gone up quite a bit since the pandemic. I think being multi-hyphenate has been a blessing. I’m able to use my entire skillset and work many different jobs.

My average shoot is 1-2 days. As a DP, I usually pull in $2500 day rate + kit fee (ranges from $750-$1500). I typically take in most the earning due to investing up front in equipment once I put up 30% for taxes. I pay assistants 350-450.

My best paying shoot was a Commercial Director/DP job for a Fortune 500 airline. I worked about 3 days in total with meetings, scout and shoot day (1). I went home with $23k.

My worst paying shoot for a major streaming service. The day was hard and drawn out for no reason. It was a terrible production company who usually does music videos. The vibe was all off. I only made $1600 all in. I’ll never do work for them again.

Marketing: Word of mouth and Cold emails. Nothing beats word of mouth. How you show up and deliver is your reputation. Make it count.

Best advice I received was to be confident in myself and my skills and it will lead the way forward. The worst advice I received was to not take risks. Without risk taking, I wouldn’t live the life I live now.

Before you blame someone/something/that piece of gear, question yourself. Ask what could I have done differently to change the outcome I desire. Looking in the mirror often will push out insecurity and anxiety. We have one the best careers in the world. Enjoy your time here.

The Art of the Personal Project: Blair Bunting

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:   Blair Bunting

The World’s First U2 Spy Plane Photo Shoot at the Edge of Space

“Eight years of planning, and six months of training, all to sit in a cockpit for five hours to do a photoshoot while simultaneously being the furthest human being from the planet (other than those on the ISS). To put it simply, I would get into a spacesuit, climb into a Cold War spy plane that would then be chased by another spy plane to the Edge of Space to conduct a first-of-its-kind photoshoot.

Being overcome by emotions was not an option, as one cannot wipe their eyes in a spacesuit, and irritating them with tears can make focusing a camera impossible. It wasn’t the only wild challenge that faced me on this photoshoot. As to top it off, I could not get too excited or exhausted, for excess breathing and heart rate would immediately ice over the canopy at the altitudes we were at.

The sheer sight that existed at the apogee of the flight was (and still is) difficult to process. The sun sat not far from the half-moon, both against a black background as the blue sky I had seen all my life was behind me. Then as I veered down, the most emotional views I have ever witnessed existed, it was planet Earth. Beautiful blues, greens, and browns, but not even a hint of mankind could be seen, the curvature of the planet filled this absence.”

To see more of this project, click here

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APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

Photographers, Can We Talk About Working For Nonprofits?

I am a 43yo photographer working on the west coast for nearly two decades. I often receive requests from nonprofits to photograph for a discount or to “volunteer my time,” aka shooting for free. I have yet to take a gig without pay, and I still stay very busy.

Look into the company. Ask them what other vendors are volunteering their time or offering what discounts? Chances are they are paying for a venue, food, bar, mc, a/v, etc. There is a *big difference* between supporting a local non-profit or start-up that you believe in or benefits your community directly with a discounted rate, or, say, a free hour of your time after booking x amount of hours, as opposed to offering that same deal for a national company that pays their CEOs huge or doesn’t have the best track record. Personally, when I am passionate about a nonprofit, I offer to volunteer or help in other non-photo related ways. It keeps me grounded and I like the separation from photography work.

True story: another photographer called me the day before his nonprofit event asking if I could shoot for him because he was injured. He casually said the rate was $250 for a couple of hours documenting some kids for a nonprofit. I countered with a higher offer, wanting to help him in a tight situation, but still making it worth my time. Turned out it was the client’s yearly fundraiser event, $$$-per plate luncheon, formal attire, raffle tickets costing more than what they were paying me, and the org raised loads of money in 45 minutes. They treated me poorly, I wasn’t paid on time, and when I was, the check bounced, which is a career first for me. Pure madness…

This brings me to my second point: please be transparent with other photographers/creatives when you ask for their assistance. What I thought would be me covering children in our community event turned out to be so much more in scope, and I had to compartmentalize my anger the entire time I was there. In the end, it was my fault for not clarifying what was actually transpiring at the shoot because I was busy when he contacted me. Have I learned a lesson here? Definitely.

You can be friendly and still require fairness in business. Pick up the phone and ask questions. Above all, know that it is okay to say no to shooting (true scenario) a 3-hr cocktail, black-tie affair for a national nonprofit you’ve definitely heard of at my city’s most-expensive venue for FREE and instead, take the night off or work for a different client. Your mental health will thank you.

A Photo Editor working for a print and digital media brand with national circulation: 63k (salary)

I have 15+ years experience in the photo industry. I used to work as a freelance photographer but have not done so in several years.

I work approximately 260 days a year. We receive PTO and holidays. I’ll say though that for all my vacation time last year, there were really only 1-2 days where I didn’t actually work at least half the day.

The salary has risen slowly with consistent, but small, merit raises every year plus a couple of promotions. I feel like my salary is still low, especially in comparison with male peers in similar positions. But it’s hard to say, as we’re in a Southeastern city and cost of living here is lower than NYC or LA.

I have a 401k that the company matches up to 4-5%. I can’t remember–the amount changes every time our brand is bought and sold so it’s hard to keep up.

I work for an editorial brand that covers lifestyle, food, etc. We hire photographers for a variety of shoots like travel, food, homes, celebrity, etc. We have a roster of freelancers that we work with regularly and are always looking for more. I look at Diversify Photo, Color Positive, Indigenous Photograph, Wonderful Machine, and various email promos I get from agencies.

Travel is hardest to hire for. You’ve got to be good at food, outdoors, interiors, portraits, etc. It’s hard to find shooters who do it all well, quickly and reliably.

Saddens me to say but I wouldn’t recommend anyone pursue a career in print media at this time, especially for photo. IME, the photo departments are first to get slashed when cuts come around. We’re all operating with fewer and fewer people, yet the workload keeps increasing (hello print AND digital).

The toes you step on today could be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow. Be kind. and treat people with respect – my grandmother (but I think it’s great career advice for creatives).

An email intro with link to your work is great, just make it clear that you know the brand. We get lots of emails from people who’ve clearly never read our magazine.

Instagram works great too. The main thing for me is that expectations regarding response need to be reasonable. Should anyone really feel entitled to a response on an unsolicited email or phone call?

The truth is: I try very hard to respond to everyone. I get it because I’ve been on the other side. But we get so many emails and messages. Some are borderline harassment! If you only knew the kinds of phone calls and emails your photo editor/producer/art director was getting. Unsolicited messages have to fall to the bottom of the to-do list, which unfortunately, is bottom-less. We just don’t have the bandwidth.

That being said, if I contact you first then I promise that I won’t ghost you. If I do, roast me. It’s rude and unprofessional. I’ve had to have uncomfortable conversations due to last minute changes but so far, everyone I’ve worked with has been gracious and understanding.

I lean on Instagram and magazines pretty heavy to find photographers. I do my best to pay attention to photo awards, photo websites, and blogs (like A Photo Editor).

Be easy to work with.
Be kind.
Respond in a timely manner to emails. It’s so important. If you’re consistently slow to respond or hard to reach, we’re can’t keep reaching out to you.

If you’re rude, you’re gonna lose out on gigs. People won’t want to work with you. Be nice to people. It is not hard.

And please talk to us! If you need something or have ideas, speak up. My favorite photographers to work with are the ones who call me up and talk to me like a friend. They know how to collaborate. They’re always looking for solutions instead of complaining or telling me why something can’t be done. This is how you earn our trust.

A Commercial Lifestyle photographer in his 30s: 2023 (YTD) Net: 550k, Income 425k 

Photo has basically been my whole life. Fell in love with photography in high school, assisted during and out of college. Started to get little assignments for the local rags, like $50 (in 2009) to shoot an entree at a restaurant for the regional paper, but I’d pretend I was shooting it for the New Yorker. Would embellish, ask the chef for a portrait even though I didn’t need it, just to build my portfolio. The paper would run the photo of the burger but I’d walk away with 5-10 new images for my book. Hustled a ton. Always sending emails of new work, always going to NYC for meetings. 

That approach lead me into a solid run of editorial work starting in 2009. Unwittingly/unknowingly, the style I was shooting in lent itself to commercial work. I got picked up by a rep in 2011 at 23, purely bewildered as to how I would fit into advertising. It was equal courtship and we talked for about a year before official signing. Looking back through those emails, I was so green. Not only in production experience but also communication. Many folks think getting picked up by a rep is just on the merit of your work, but it’s also about how you conduct your business, and how you communicate with clients on calls and emails. You are your own creative arm, but also communications and PR and admin and financial arms too. If your work is bad, if you can’t communicate well, if you’re careless with finances… these are all things a rep cares about. 

My work has slowly shifted from 90% editorial 10% commercial to 5% editorial 95% commercial. I miss the assignments and feel like it’s the absolute best training for commercial work. Nowadays with less editorial work going around, it’s a rougher transition from personal projects right into commercial. Editorial is boot camp, in the best way. You often have little time, not a huge budget, but you need to make something amazing. There is a growing gap between experience and expectation on commercial shoots. I have heard of photographers that literally can’t hit focus more than 10% of the time on their first commercial shoot or can’t run a crew or handle the time pressures. Just because your personal IG feed is cool doesn’t guarantee a smooth commercial shoot;  editorial used to vet and smooth that gap out.

I haven’t spent any money on marketing since Covid; I generally believe your time and money should go into your work and your work should be your marketing. That said, in person meetings are incredibly powerful and the only marketing I would consider. IG as a platform is trash but it’s free, the reach is huge, and I focus my time there in comprehensively sharing work. Lastly, I hate math and numbers and honestly thinking about money, so I have a CPA as well as a bookkeeper, but I do my own books that she looks over, because I like to stay tight to the numbers. Also I don’t want to have a Rihanna situation. When I hit my 30s, living in the States, my focus shifted away from trying to get cool clout-y fashion-y design-y assignments and towards just being able to fund my retirement, donate a good chunk each year to causes I believe in, and cross the finish line without debt. Sorry, Dazed. So I fully fund my SEP IRA each year, live within my means, and stack acorns. 
 
I don’t have a dream client or a number I want to hit for the year. My forever goal is life balance and happiness and to sustain a solid, long, consistent career.  Photo is fickle and challenging and all of the things, but it has given me a really incredible life, shown me the world, and I have domain over my time and schedule. I am grateful for that, and I keep the sentiment at the forefront of my mind. I keep negativity far, far away from me. Longevity and relevance are my biggest career goals. I often have 5-10 year old images in my treatments alongside work from a month ago. There are definitely clients looking to chase visual trends but there are also clients who need to use the images beyond the season and I look to meet them there.

Having an ego is dangerous. I begin each year expecting nothing work-wise and build up from there. Keep the hustle going. You can’t control much in this industry (jobs coming in or not, types of shoots that hit your inbox), but you can control how much you apply yourself and your mental state, which often informs the quality of your photography. My main mantra is ‘own your shit’. Don’t make excuses. Make every shoot count. If you’re shooting and are not interested in the photos you’re making, figure out why and change it on the spot. Don’t waste your time or your clients money making work you don’t like, or not being 100% dialed 100% of the time. Commercial shoots are like a one-time circus performance that has no rehearsals so pre-production prep and a focus on the details are huge. 

It’s pointless to gripe, complain, or expend energy on being negative. Similarly, don’t compare yourself to others, and be supportive of your peers. Share contacts, give advice, be excited for folks in this industry when they make amazing work or get the job you were both bidding on. It’s not all about you, and they deserved it and worked hard for it. Photographers are awarded jobs because of the whole package: their work, their treatments, their communication, their experience… what they bring to the table overall. Speaking of treatments, I put a shit-ton of work into them. It’s the document the whole client and agency team will see, and it’s super helpful for non-visual people (like a CMO) to read your writing because they might not get the photos but they get the words. And they weren’t on the creative call this is your one shot. Treatments are highly personal; I have spent hundreds of hours on mine over the years and words are easy to lift, so it’s the one thing I don’t share. 

If I had advice for aspiring/emerging photographers it’s to avoid spending too much time online/proverbially in the comments. Instead, sharpen your eye and develop your visual voice and personal sense of taste. This is especially important as IG is a continual echo chamber of work viewed on a tiny phone that begins to bleed together. It’s hard to get hired for anything remarkable until your photos can only look like they came from you. Look at every author, every musician, it’s the same way. 

As I’ve worked my way into bigger shoots, I’ve learned that I can shine if I am a very dedicated collaborative partner through the whole preproduction process right through the shoot. 95% of what I focus on is everything peripheral to the act of taking photos, 5% is holding a camera and taking photos. The 95% is meeting deadlines, being dialed and prepared for calls, giving 1000% attention in casting and locations, organizing, assembling, communicating and setting up the crew for success, being a calm communicative air traffic control on set. 

Photo assistants are the most important members in my crew. When there are no margins in the schedule on some of the late stage capitalism commercial photoshoots I’m on, where everything has to run as tight as a Beyonce concert, I absolutely need a dialed team of assistants. A good 1st/gaffer can direct a whole crew and pre-set the next shot, which frees me up to think/work in the present, so I’m trying to get them between $800-1000/day for shoot days pending complexity. That rate cascades down the rest of the crew. Assistants are some of the hardest workers on set and deserve every dollar. 

I follow a strict Monday to Friday 9-5(ish) schedule, unless I’m shooting or scouting, I don’t do email or even post work to IG on weekends. Computer gets turned off. I have told many a producer to stop emailing the agency on a weekend because then the agency emails back and it becomes a 24/7 work-a-thon to the bottom and we all end up on Lipitor in our 30s. Everyone’s life is more important than their work. Thanks for reading :) 

A Music packaging/music publicity, commercial, fine art and portrait photographer who is Nashville based: $66k (net)

I work as a photographer in the music industry (album packaging, publicity) as well as a 1st/2nd assistant in the tv/film industry.

My income is 60% tv/film assisting 40% key photographer in music industry.

My clients are Indy and major label for music. Top tier Hollywood studios for tv/film (Disney, Marvel, AMC, FX, Sony, Netflix, Hulu, etc).

Overhead is business insurance, online website costs and file delivery fees. (About $200/month).

For retirement I have long term stock market investments.

In 2022 I worked about 80 days (much less in 23 due to writers/actors strikes). 2020 was nearly wiped due to pandemic. 21 and 22 showed increase in tv/film travel productions (added 3-4 new clients/producers)
2023 has been at a near standstill for tv/film due to the strikes.

As a photographer I’ve shot a lot more bigger music related jobs for Indy and major labels but with smaller budgets.

For a recent music publicity shoot:
1 day shoot with two location and studio shots. One assistant. Budget was $4,500 with allowances for digital billboards and up to 5 magazine cover licenses. All glam/wardrobe and day-of expenses were handled through label. After my assistant ($500),I made $4,000.00. Included multiple phone meetings and concept discussions. Shot, edited and delivered high res files within 10 days.

For tv/film assist jobs:
Average 4-6 days, including two travel days, one/two prelight days, 1-2 shoot days. Based on 10 hours but it’ss usually 12-17 hour pre-light and shoot days. My assist rate in tv/film is $750/10 (1st) and $650/10 for 2nd assist.

Best shoot was ad campaign for Jack Daniels. Included 2 half day travels, 2 shoot days. After expenses (digital tech and assistant, plus producer), I took home about $22,000.

Worst was probably a $1,000 publicity shoot for a well known musician. They (management) ended up licensing out 3 billboards and at least 5 magazine covers without additional fees to me.

I shoot video, but very little on purpose. Other than a few music videos I’ve done some recording session video footage for a few artists while also shooting stills.

My best marketing is reputation and acknowledgment/credit from other projects. Tags and mentions on social media is huge.

Best and worst advice: say yes to everything and shoot more than expected.

Know your worth. Be willing to work for less if it’s a project you want to be associated with. Be willing to walk away from a job that you don’t want to be associated with (no matter the budget). Your reputation is everything.