Advertising Estimates – Regional

A few regional shoots for you. All winning bids:

Regional Advertising – 1 City 1 Year


Regional – 1 City 1 Year

Regional Advertising – In Conjunction with TV


Regional Advertising – In Conjunction with TV

Regional Advertising Usage


Regional Advertising Usage

There Are 24 Comments On This Article.

    • @Leslie BAP,

      Unless of course, in a slower year (2007 wasn’t great for many) taking this job is the difference between paying your mortgage or not.

      It’s easy to sit here on the internet, as a “consultant” and not even a photographer in the trenches, and judge from these rather context-free estimates.

      There’ve been plenty of times in the past where I’ve taken jobs with terms that I normally wouldn’t, if only to keep the bills current. Welcome to reality.

    • @Leslie BAP,

      I am the first to admit I am new to the commercial game but these were my thoughts exactly. Of course we do not know the situation and as Craig said, if getting the job meant the difference in paying bills or not paying the bills, I can understand.

      I have a few small businesses that I give a full release to for cheap but these are really small guys and full use translates into web and a handful of brochures. The work is easy and I can use the jobs to fill in between better ad work.

      However, with the medical field, these guys should know the ins and outs of marketing and media, or have someone who does. I can see giving a cut rate to a guy who spends less than $20,000 per year in total advertising but an industry like the medical field? I don’t want to sound like I want to stick it to them but when was the last time a doctor gave you a 70%+ discount on their services?

      Please correct my thought processes here if I am off base.

      • @Dave M, et al
        To be clear, I have no problem with lower fees as long as the license terms are reflective of the limitations. The license in this example explicitly states it is for unlimited media for unlimited time in the USA. That language is important! Let’s say the company is tiny now but hits next year? Let’s say the ad budget goes from $20K to $2mil–the license is now worth much, much more, but you can’t get any more money because you granted that broad license.
        The language of your licenses matter. A lot.

        • @Leslie BAP,

          Unless the client said “we want this and if you won’t do it, we’ll find someone who will”

          And then you look at your pile of bills and consider the true value and longevity of the images, as most marketing is pretty short lived (what if some of these patients die? or the doctor leaves? etc etc) , and you get your $25k check.

          • @craig,

            Bad position to hold. If the client is looking for the lowest price, there will be someone out there that will do it below their own costs (that’s right, lose money).

            How to you compete with less than zero?
            Especially in a marketplace with an over supply of image makers.

            The answer is to provide a unique proposition which clients WILL value.
            When a client does NOT value your work they will look for someone else.

            The endgame on the current playing field is ROI.
            Are the services provided bringing a return worth all the time, money, energy, etc. relative to another career choice? Not just over the next year or 5. But over the course of the entire career?

            After seeing all these invoices I can only imagine there are hundreds if not thousands of digital image makers who are relatively new (and some older, still struggling) who are charged by even the modest numbers. Total billings of $25K, $50K, $75K, if only…

            However, a good job, a good year, even a good couple of years does not a career make. I suspect a comparison of the investment (time/$$$/energy) between a commercial photographer over a 25 year period and that of many other white collar professionals would be illuminating.

            Then look at the work of those represented by say the top 30 agents. 400+ truly great image makers. Double that number (at least) to account for other greats not represented.
            Add in another 5,000 – 10,000 good (not great) image makers.
            Are all these talents working every day? Even once a month? This is the competition. Now return to the consideration of ROI. Consider all options/choices. For some being a “photographer” may not be the best career choice – even if they do create great images.

  1. Something I notice on all the estimates posted on this site is how low the photo assistant and some of the stylists rates are. There are very few good photo assistants on the west coast charging less than $250. Which means, no money for overtime and no money for the cost of hiring them. Also, I don’t know any stylists charging $350 for an advertising job.
    However, the creative and processing fees seem to be much higher than I generally see.

  2. This feels very much as thought the client came to the photographer and said, “we have this much work and this much money, will you do it and can you send us a budget in the form of an estimate?”

  3. I think it’s important to note that you are saying these are regional estimates, but the licenses are not regional in all of them. The terms, actual words, of the license express the legal scope of the license, so the photog may call this “regional” but it is not when it says “in the US.”
    (not legal advice, btw)

  4. I’m with Leslie, Jennifer and Bruce on this set of estimates. The numbers seem really low. The digital must be a Canon 5D that’s pre-owned and the photographer doesn’t care about his return on investment. Regardless, the fees for digital are too low here. In fact, all of these invoices, except for one or two, aren’t charging enough for digital fees. No wonder techs have such a hard time with invoicing!

    Adding to Jennifer’s comment… For a top-notch assistant on the West Coast you’re looking at $300 or more, even for editorial. The big dogs pay up to $600 a day for their firsts. I’d bet with the low fees in most areas on two of these invoices means it’s not a major market. Not saying that it has to be either though. Examples from any city are useful, if this information is revealed. Even a general region would be nice. Possible?

    As for stylists, $800 for the day is cheap for editorial, let alone for an ad job, especially one spanning more than three work days (prep day, shoot day, wrap day). And where is the Stylist Assistant billed for? I don’t know any stylists who don’t use assistants!

    • After thinking more about this, I remembered two or so years back when one of stylist friends told me she was doing jobs for magazines (features, not covers) at $450 per day, mostly in 3 day bundles.

      Wanted to add the footnote…

  5. Alright, I have a question for you guys, and since we are talking about what we are charging, I figure this is as good a time as any to ask. I recently bid a job for a regional firm that was looking for new images of key employees. My first thought was environmental shots but the contact indicated they wanted the images shot on basic low key black.

    Now then, my question is should I charge less on my creative fee simply because the shots are easier to pull off? The time involved would be roughly the same either way. Opinions?

  6. Rob,

    Very good of you to delve into this topic. One other thing that I think is related to advertising work, but you never hear discussed that much, is the subject of Insurance. I’m about to call my agent today to go over some of these real-world questions that I’m going to list below. This might be a good topic for a whole other post. One interesting thing, related to this Advertising topic: on many large projects, the ad agency will require the photographer to have Workman’s Comp policy in place, in order to even estimate the job. It’s sort of a “minimum bar” to make sure the photographer is somewhat “official”. (I wonder how many photographers reading this blog have a WC policy active right now?)

    I’m an old guy now, and your priorities change a bit once you own some stuff, and you don’t want to lose it. Right before a large project, these are the things that blow thru my head, as I’m lying in bed. I’d be interested in how other readers would think these questions would be answered, under the context of working on an advertising project:

    What would you think would happen if:

    A. Say a big wind came up, and there was a C-Stand with a profoto head on it, and it blew over, onto a model, and hit them in the head?

    B. Say a freelance assistant was climbing a ladder in a studio, to hang some seamless or something, and the ladder turned over and he landed on his back, and he was hurt pretty bad?

    C. Say you’re shooting a job, and there are three models, and three assistants, and one of the models was involved in a car accident in between Location #1 and Location #2, in the middle of your job?

    D. Say you’re driving to a job, in rental van from Avis, and the freelance assistant is driving the van, and he’s drinking a starbucks, and sending a text, and he swerves off the road, but his license was not put on the Avis contract as Additional Driver?

    E. Say a talent’s agent calls you up, and they see an image that you shot in an ad, but that ad came out way longer than the originally agreed upon License Term, and they sued you? But you didn’t know about it; the client simply made a mistake.

    F. Say you’re shooting a talent Minor, and there’s a dog on set, and the kid is petting the dog, and the dog snaps at the kid’s hand and it brings blood, and the mother is a freak, and she loses it, even though the kid is barely hurt?

    I’m not saying that ANY of these things have happened to me or any of my friends, but sometimes, as they say, Shit Happens, and it’s not really anyone’s fault — the wind just blew up — even though the CStand was sandbagged. It’s just stuff that goes thru your head — “What if….? Would they sue me, and would I lose everything I’ve worked for?”

    I will report back later, once I ask my agent in NYC these questions. I just think the whole Insurance topic is overlooked often — people just crossing their fingers and throwing salt over their shoulders — hoping nothing bad will happen in the middle of a job.

    Here is a link to one company, in Atlanta, that will serve as “The Employer of Record”, where they do the official hiring of crew, and they handle some of the insurance issues:

    http://www.smithandstilwell.com/

    • @Mark Tucker,

      Mark, I’ll take a stab. Between Workman’s Comp Insurance, errs & omissions coverage, the language of the agreements (consult your attorney), and the company doing the hiring (in the case of talent). Most of this would be covered.

      Even so, the legal costs to defend even an erroneous suit could be substantial. I wonder if our pro insurance policies cover those legal costs. Possibly in errs & omissions coverage. I’d like to hear a follow up, when you have more information. Thank you!

      • @Bob,

        I talked to an assistant agent today; my main contact was out of the office. One interesting thing she mentioned is that even Editorial guys, especially in NYC, are now required to carry Workmans Comp in order to even enter a freight elevator with their gear, in a NYC office building, (due to 9/11 concerns). So if a guy is simply doing a small environmental portrait in an upper floor of an office building, even inside private offices, photographers are required to show proof of Workmans Comp, since they’re dragging gear thru public spaces on the way to the private offices.

        More later, once I get answers to these other real-life questions that I have. It’s a sue-crazy society we live in right now; and no one wants to leave themselves open to liability.