I consult with photographers daily about developing estimates for projects big and small. Once we put the finishing touches on an estimate and are ready to submit it to a client, we often deliver it as a two-page PDF (the estimate on one page, and the terms/conditions on the other) attached to an email containing a delivery memo. In most cases, this is what is expected, but there are occasions when you will want to go the extra mile by including more detailed information in the form of a treatment.
I’ll often recommend this approach to a photographer when the project requires a substantial financial commitment from a client. It can also be a great tool to convey a higher sense of professionalism or supply additional information that may be difficult to elaborate on within the estimate. Treatments are sometimes lengthy, but they can also be a simple, sophisticated way of delivering additional information.
Regardless of how simple or elaborate you might want to make your treatment, I’d recommend that you include a few basic elements at a minimum:
I recently worked with Seattle-based photographer Nick Hall on an estimate, and he shared his treatment with me prior to sending it along to the client. While I’ve also seen his more lengthy treatments for larger projects, this one is a really great example of a simple proposal with strong branding:
Sometimes you may be required to share much more detailed information with a client, and in those cases, you may want to expand your template to include some (or all) of the following:
LA-based photographer Caesar Lima contacted our team to help him put together a treatment that included many of these additional elements. In that case, the client actually laid out their required format for his proposal. They wanted to understand how Caesar would accomplish the project, and also required a lengthy list of information in order to be considered for the project. With the help of our designer, copywriter, and photo editor, we helped him put together the following treatment:
You’ll notice that Caesar’s treatment is in a vertical orientation, while Nick’s layout is horizontal. There’s, of course, no right or wrong way to go about it, but horizontal formats tend to be received well since they are more appropriate for on-screen display.
Whichever format you decide to go with, you should have a template on hand that is quickly and easily customizable so you can quickly put a treatment together for fast-moving projects. We’ve found that Keynote is a fantastic software for creating treatments, as is InDesign. However, if you lack the technical experience for those programs, you could even use Microsoft Word if needed. Whichever program you use, be sure to export and deliver PDFs as almost everyone has the ability to open and print a PDF on their computer.
If you need assistance with a treatment or an estimate, please feel free to send us an email.