In the interest of sharing Pricing & Negotiating articles at more frequent intervals, we’ve developed a more concise nuts-and-bolts format that covers the essential points of an estimate without a lengthy breakdown of every last detail. Here’s our first “abridged” review of an estimate:
Shoot Concept: table-top product shots of 4 product packages and 8 food ingredients on a white background to go into 4 finished ads
Photographer: still life specialist
Location: a New York City studio
Agency: medium-sized New York agency
Client: well-known packaged food brand
Licensing: North American advertising and collateral Use, including print, web, and out-of-home (billboards, transit, etc.), of 12 images for 1 year.
Shoot Days: 2
Here’s the estimate (click to enlarge):
And here’s the breakdown:
Licensing: Though the photographer would be creating and licensing 12 images, they would only appear in 4 finished ads. The concepts could conceivably be captured entirely in-camera in just 4 shots. However, the agency and photographer agreed that it would be better to shoot each element separately to provide flexibility in composition, perspective, and size in the post-production process. So we calculated the licensing fee based on 4 images. Also, unlike most campaigns that focus on one product, each of these ads promoted a different variety of this particular brand’s product. For this reason, we opted not to factor in any sort of volume discount for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ads, as we would do if we were licensing different pictures of the same product. Additionally, the photographer’s level of experience was a consideration, he was relatively new to large advertising projects. Based on these factors and our experience with this particular agency and similar past projects, we decided to price the fee at 24,000.00. (We then checked our fee against Fotoquote, BlinkBid, and two stock photo sites. Using the “all advertising pack” option, Fotoquote, Blinkbid and the stock sites suggested a price of about 12000.00 per image, or roughly double what we quoted. BlinkBid however, was in line with our numbers. Its Bid Consultant calculator has an interesting feature that allows you to fine-tune the price based on the photographer’s level of experience. Using the appropriate “up and comer” multiplier brought the suggested rate down to 6000.00 per image, right in line with our initial pricing.
Producer: Producer rates tend to range between 750.00-1000.00/day. I normally budget at least one day of prep for a typical studio shoot, it’s a good idea to have a producer on set to make sure things run smoothly and often will want to include a day to manage wrap, invoicing, and crew payments.
First Assistant: I figured one per shoot day would be appropriate for this project. Rates can range from 250.00-400.00 depending on the location and amount of expertise required.
Second Assistant/Digital Tech: Normally, an experienced digital tech, complete with a large monitor, fast computer, and all the appropriate software is going to run between 1000.00 and 1500.00 per day. In this case, the studio bundled the workstation with the rental, so we hired a digital tech without the computer for 600.00/day.
Equipment and Studio: Priced at cost. Although the photographer has his own studio, we needed a larger, more polished space to accommodate this project.
Background, Plexi: This covered the purchase and delivery of white seamless paper and plexiglass for the background.
Stylist, Food, Etc: We wanted a top-notch stylist to handle the product. We estimated 1200.00 plus a 20% agency fee per day (the stylist we worked with was repped), a stylist assistant to help with purchases and prep, and a food budget to cover the cost of the necessary ingredients.
Capture fee: This covered the time and equipment necessary for the photographer to do an initial process, edit, organize, and back-up up the files, and present them to the client.
Retouching: Since we were dealing with stripping, retouching, and compositing, the photographer and I estimated 3 hours per final image.
Catering: Priced at cost. I usually estimate 40.00/per person/day for a light breakfast, a hot lunch, snacks, and drinks.
Miles, Parking, Misc: We usually charge 100.00 for a certificate of insurance and the other 100.00 will cover odds and ends.
Advance: We normally get a deposit of 50% of the bottom line before the shoot. Consequently, we don’t charge a markup on any of the expenses.
Results: The photographer was awarded the job and Wonderful Machine handled the production.
*Hindsight: If I had to do it over again, I would have budgeted for a pre-light day. We didn’t have one on this project and we ended up wishing we did. Although the photographer is no stranger to this type of shoot, setting everything up and dialing in the lighting beforehand will save you precious time on the first shoot day. Of course, it would have also meant additional charges for the studio (1500.00), assistants (850.00), equipment (1200.00), and possibly an additional photographer fee.