Shoot Concept: Capture the facilities, employees, and process at multiple industrial manufacturing sites
Licensing: North American collateral use of all images captured, in perpetuity
Location: Manufacturing Facility
Shoot Days: Up to 20
Photographer: Lifestyle and portrait specialist
Agency: Client Direct
Client: A well-known industrial manufacturer within its industry
One of our west coast-based photographers was approached by a fairly large industrial manufacturer and asked to shoot industrial lifestyle images of their employees at work, manufacturing a variety of products in a number of different locations in North America. They were mostly interested in using the images on their website and in a self-published coffee table book that would be given out to investors, executives, and employees. Their products are generally larger than a semi-truck and manufactured in facilities on the scale of an airplane hanger. Think big.
The client wasn’t accustomed to hiring photographers (it’d been nearly 20 years since they’d hired a professional). Thankfully, they thought it was wise to get us involved pretty early on before they firmly established their needs so that they didn’t develop a creative concept and plan that would break the bank. Their initial thought was to shoot 10-15 different locations, 1-2 shoot days at each, for a total of approximately 20 shoot days. This presents a bit of a dilemma. Because we were in the planning stage and they wouldn’t commit to 20 days or any specific number of images (although as usual, they were expecting a deal because of all of the potential work), we couldn’t approach the presentation of the fees for this project in our typical way. We had to present an estimate that was scalable from a single day on up but also factored in a discount for a volume that the client was unwilling to commit to. Also unknown was the number of scouts and travel days.
Here’s how we addressed the issues (click to enlarge):
We needed to create a fee structure that the photographer would be happy with if the client only booked one day and that the client would be happy with if they booked 20. I’m sure just about every photographer has had this same experience— a client asks for a quote and pushes back on the numbers saying something along the lines of “If there’s a lot of work down the road, can you be flexible on your rate/fees?” It’s not an unreasonable request, however, the work down the road almost never materializes. The approach we took here protects the photographer’s interests, keeps the client honest, and gives them a break for the volume.
We based the day rate on the typical collateral library rate we’ve negotiated with other industrial clients, which usually varies from 2500.00-3500.00 depending on the size of the client and the scale of the project. In this case, we started a bit higher because of the self-publishing use requested, though if the client did ultimately book the photographer for 20 days, the fee would average out to just over 3500.00/day. Although we didn’t explicitly limit the number of scenarios or images, in the course of our conversations we determined that the photographer would probably be able to shoot in five different scenarios, at a single facility, per shoot day and that the client could expect 2-3 variations of images per scenario. We didn’t want to commit to a specific number in the estimate because certain factories may be easier or harder to shoot in than others, which would seriously impact how much could be accomplished in a given day.
The client signed the proposal and requested a detailed estimate for the first leg of the shoot – one-day, local to the photographer. We extrapolated a one-day version which the client approved. During the course of the pre-production, the client requested a certificate of insurance. Since we hadn’t been asked to provide any sort of unusual coverage, and the photographer carries a fairly standard business liability policy year-round, we’d opted not to charge a fee for the insurance in the estimate (however, like equipment, it would not be unusual to charge the client a fee for the use of your insurance policy). As it turned out, the client’s legal team was requiring the photographer to provide workman’s comp insurance and specialty insurance specific to their industry. I’ve seen this a lot lately and it’s getting old. The client presents a project, approves the estimate, then comes back with unusually high insurance coverage requirements. If the client requires you to provide coverage that substantially exceeds a standard business liability policy (ie workman’s comp, weather, specialty, etc.) and they don’t tell you about it beforehand, it’s considered a change in the scope of work and the cost should be approved as an overage. In this case, we gave the client two options – pay for the insurance or waive the requirement. They opted to pay for the insurance, so we resubmitted the one-day estimate.
Here’s the final version (click to enlarge):
Tech/Scout Day: We included a half tech/scout day for the photographer and agency to walk through the location, determine the ideal scenarios and try to nail down a shot list.
Assistant Days: The photographer wanted two assistants for this shoot. Although there wouldn’t be much in the way of equipment, the size of the space and materials was daunting, so the photographer wanted an extra set of hands.
Equipment: This covered the one-day rental costs for a DSLR, a backup DSLR, grip equipment, and a small portable strobe kit, all of which the photographer owned and would be renting to the production.
Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time, equipment, and costs to handle the initial edit, batch color correction, and upload of the images to an FTP for client selection.
Selects Processed for Reproduction: This covered color correction and basic touch-up of the 15 selects. Any necessary retouching would be estimated and billed separately.
File Transfer: This covers the cost to deliver the 15 selects via hard drive, including overnight shipping.
Miles, Expendables, FTP, and Misc: This covered the basic out-of-pocket expenses the photographer would accrue between mileage, FTP costs, lunch for him and his assistants on the shoot day, and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.
Insurance: We included the cost to provide the specialty insurance the client required.
Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing: Location, releases, subjects, escorts, and safety equipment.
Results, Hindsight, and Feedback: The photographer is in the midst of the project and has already shot two additional days.