Concept: Stylized food images, to be created in the agency office alongside the agency video production team
Licensing: Unlimited use within Canada (excluding Broadcast) of up to 120 images for two years
Photographer: Still life food and beverage specialist
Agency: Medium-sized US-based agency with two locations
Client: International food and beverage manufacturing brand
I recently helped an East Coast photographer in a secondary market quote and negotiate a project for an advertising agency. The agency needed photography to go alongside a motion campaign for their food and beverage client.
The creative brief from the agency described still life images of food within stylized, geometric, colorful settings, with and without the talent’s hands and nail art in frame. The final use of the photography was described as web and social placements, and in-store POS (point of sale). While OOH (out-of-home) use wasn’t part of the media plan, the client requested two years of unlimited use within Canada of the final images. This all-encompassing license is something we often see with large corporations.
The shoot will be held at the agency’s offices/studios which is about a 3-hour drive from the photographer’s home. The photographer would have their own shot list while shooting alongside an agency-managed video production.
The agency let us know that they would be handling all location coordination, product and set styling, talent and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals, and craft services, as well as lodging for the photographer and their assistant. We included a “Client Provisions” section within the “Job Description” to note who would be handling these items.
Take a look at our initial estimate:
The client requested an estimate for a 2-day shoot. They had not yet settled on a final shot list, but they had a general idea of what they wanted to capture. Depending on who the client is and what the photographer’s specialties are, I have seen similar projects range between $3,000 and $8,000 per day for all content captured in perpetuity.
Based on my experience with projects like this, I judged that the client wouldn’t want to spend more than about $20k in total. I placed the photographer’s fee at $9,000, which was commensurate with their skill and experience and still kept them competitive with other comparable photographers. Even though the client was asking for all the images captured, we decided to include up to 120 images, which we based on the creative brief that described “5-6 setups” and would comfortably cover the client’s anticipated needs. Our estimate also included a line stating the cost of additional images to be $400.00 each including up to 20 minutes of retouching. I added $750.00 each for the photographer’s three travel and pre-production days.
The estimate we drafted included a first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management. This person would be traveling with the photographer, so I included two travel days. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.
We priced cameras, lighting, and grip rentals at $1,650. The photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting. They also intended to rent some supplemental continuous lighting, C-stands, and sandbags from a local rental house. I added $250.00/day for the photographer’s workstation rental. We also included $175 for two hard drives.
We accounted for $375.00 to cover mileage, tolls, and parking. Also, we added four per diems for the photographer and their assistant.
For miscellaneous costs, we added $150 to cover insurance.
I added a line item for “First Edit for Client Review”. This means that the photographer will organize the photos and eliminate anything that isn’t worth considering, rename the files, do global exposure and color balance adjustments, and upload a gallery so the client can make their selections. We also estimated retouching the 120 images at $150/hr, based on the creative brief. The photographer estimated that this would take roughly 20 mins per image.
The agency responded that they would like to move forward with the photographer. However, they asked that we hit a $17,000 budget. The photographer really wanted the project, so we revised the estimate to include their travel days, owned camera gear, digital workstation, and insurance fees. The agency suggested hiring a local assistant, but we pushed back on those savings knowing the benefit of working with a trusted assistant.
This is our final estimate:
The new total was just above the $17k agency mentioned and the photographer was awarded the project! The campaign launched in Spring 2023 and the work appeared in grocery store POP and client web/social platforms. We also have informal word that the client may want to expand the license to include the USA and other markets as well. Fingers crossed there!