Pricing & Negotiating: Hotel Lifestyle Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle, chef portraits and plated food images to promote a resort

Licensing: Three years of regional Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of 20 images, in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee only

Location: Resort in Georgia

Shoot Days: Two

Photographer: Southeastern hospitality and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Client Direct

Client: Independent Resort Property

Here’s the estimate:

I thought it would be interesting to share this particular hotel lifestyle estimate on the heels of our previous Pricing & Negotiating post so I could highlight the difference in value between two nearly identical projects. Both were two-day lifestyle hospitality shoots at a single hotel property. The major differences are the size and reach of the clients and the breadth of the licensing. In the previous post, we were working through an ad agency for an international hotel chain to shoot 17 images for national use, with much higher expectations and production requirements. In this case, we were dealing directly with a single high-end hotel client interested in licensing 20 images for regional use.

Concept: The client wanted to highlight the property through a variety of available-light lifestyle images featuring talent enjoying the grounds, restaurants, services and amenities. The client compiled a shot list of 10 scenarios from which they hoped to license 20 images (2 per scenario). The scenarios would feature resort staff and anywhere from 1-4 non-professional talent (friends/family of the marketing team) and range from plated dining room scenes, to guests checking in, to talent strolling around the property’s more photogenic landscape and architectural elements. From our perspective, the production would be pretty minimal. The photographer would simply need to book his assistants, pick up gear, show up and start shooting. The client would source the talent, handle wardrobe, props, food, catering, all styling, and of course, the location. This told us a lot about the client’s production expectations and hinted at budget.

Licensing: The 3 year licensing duration, 10 scenarios and the fact that we were working with a high-end client all applied upward pressure on the value. Exerting downward pressure was the the lack of an ad agency (which could indicate smaller ad buy/less extensive use), the fact that the client was single, somewhat remote property and finally the geographical limitation of the licensing. As it turns out, the client planned to primarily advertise on the web, only running 2-3 print ad insertions/year in a few local magazines, solidifying our assumption of a smaller ad buy. Weighing all of these factors, I priced this out  at 1500.00 for the first two scenarios, 750.00/scenario for 3-6 and 500.00/scenario for 7-10, bringing the fee to a total of 8000.00. I checked my rates against a couple pricing sources. Corbis doesn’t display regional or state by state rates. BlinkBid’s bid consultant recommended 621.25-887.50 per image per year for a regional Local Small Business to purchase comparable licensing, which was in the ballpark. Photoshelter’s stock pricing interface suggests a rate of 15,000/image for one year or 22,000.00/image for three years for regional collateral and advertising use, but its pricing criteria didn’t allow me to hone the use as much as I needed to in this case.

As a side note, we use a few general rules of thumb when it comes to increasing or decreasing fees based on volume or duration. In general, doubling the duration does not necessarily double the value to the client—campaigns/images get tired, people/property/styles/trends change. Also, doubling the number of images licensed does not necessarily double the value to the client. Accordingly, I’ll add 50% to increase duration from one to two years and 100% to increase duration from one year to three years. With respect to increasing the number of images, the second is typically valued at 50% of the first, unless the image represents an additional unique concept, in which case we would value the image/licensing closer to 100% of the first image. At a certain point, I may introduce additional price breaks if we get into larger quantities.

Photographer Production Day:  The resort property was about 2 hours from the photographer’s home so I included one full “photographer production day” to cover the half day of round trip travel and half day of walk-through at the resort the day before the shoot.

First Assistant/Digital Tech, Local Assistant: I estimated for three full days for first assistant/digital tech, which covered two full shoot days, four hours of round trip travel time and four hours of walk-through time. 500.00/day is a normal rate for a tech but wouldn’t typically include necessary equipment, and certainly not a full-blown workstation cart which normally rents for 750-1000.00 depending on the setup. In this case, the photographer would shoot with a DSLR tethered to his own laptop running Capture One. We opted in this case not to charge for the laptop rental. As for the local assistant, we included one for both shoot days.

Equipment Rental: The photographer planned to rent two DSLR bodies (300.00/day), 2 fast lenses (65.00/day), two strobe kits for supplemental light if needed (300.00/day), and a variety of silks, scrims, frames and stands (~235.00/day). All of the gear would have to be rented for three days since the photographer and tech would have to pick it up before the walk-through.

Lodging Nights: The resort was fully booked during the shoot window so the client could not offer to provide lodging. We estimated for rooms for the photographer and digital tech for 2 nights at a nearby commuter hotel.

Images processed for editing & Selects Processed for Reproduction: This covered the time, equipment and costs to handle the initial import, edit and upload for client review and basic processing (color correction and blemish removal) for the 20 selects. Anything over and above the basic processing would be considered retouching and be billed at 150.00/hr, which is covered in the terms and conditions.

Miles, FTP, COI, Parking, Meals, Tolls, FTP, Misc: I estimated 200.00 for mileage, 50.00 per person per day for meal costs to cover breakfasts and dinners, 50.00 for the COI, 100.00 for the FTP and 150.00 for parking, tolls and miscellaneous expenses.

Results: The photographer shot the job and has already begun discussing the next project with the client.

Marketing note: This project came about because the photographer had managed to set up a meeting with a marketing manager at the resort. Within a few weeks the photographer received a request for an estimate. It just goes to show marketing is all about putting yourself out there and occasionally being in the right place at the right time.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.

 

There Are 42 Comments On This Article.

  1. davegrumble

    Christ, and people wonder why we are in recession? how anyone can charge that much is beyond me, it’s about time photographers started to accept it’s part of their job to process digital files if they have a digital camera – it begins the same arguement on photographers that charge the client to hire a camera – if you are a photographer then you should have a camera, not charge the client for hiring one, they may as well hire one & do it themselves.

    • @davegrumble: A business spending more money on marketing is a sign of increased economic activity–the reverse of a recession. If you’re concerned about the pricing, you have to keep in mind that in a free market individuals agree to a transaction. In this case the hotel felt that the investment in photography and marketing would result in a decent ROI.

      Not all photographers have all of the equipment needed for every situation. I mainly shoot portraiture. If I were asked to do an architecture shoot, I would need to rent additional lenses and bill them to the client. I might also need to rent a medium format camera. If I were using my own equipment, I would include some fee for the wear and tear on my equipment.

      Simply owning a camera does not make one a photographer.

    • “We” are not in recession. Maybe you are. Officially, the recession was over a long time ago.

      If your client can rent a camera and “do it themselves” over you, then you are just a lousy photographer not bringing much to the table.

      A 35mm camera, computer and software kit needs about $10,000 in upgrades every 3 years or so. Not long ago, this number was much higher. Digital process and kit fees cover that cost.

      This estimate is fairly low, showing that some parts of the market are not as recovered as others.

      • davegrumble

        Am not “trolling”, just expressing an opinion & commenting on the article – correct me if I am wrong but is that not what this facility is for??

        • leaving a comment that denigrates STANDARD professional photography business practices is trolling. and, no I’m generally not interested in what the bottom of the industry is up to so I try to limit comments from the “WTF” I don’t get it crowd.

          • APE, I think you’re out if line… In fact I was going to go further… I mean, this “photographer” is charging for lodging? WTF… Like he was going to sleep in his car if he didn’t bill the client? He as going to have to sleep somewhere; why should the client pay for that? Find a friend who lives nearby if you can’t afford it.

            And miles? He’s charging for MILES?!?! He has a car, obviously… Is the client supposed to make his car payment too?

            WTF INDEED.

            • The photographer has a home and car for personal use. It is fairly common across multiple industries to bill your employer or client for fuel and wear-and-tear when using your personal vehicle for work-related activities.

              Also, “find a friend”? Why would you assume the photographer has a friend living in a town two hours away? It’s cheaper and safer to put the photographer in a room than pay him to drive four hours everyday.

  2. @davegrumble are you even a photographer? He charged like that, bagged the job and is in discussions with them on another job. Why so grumpy?? Because you are not charging like this?
    Also, yes we do have to process images if we shoot digitally – but shouldnt we be paid for the time we spend doing it? Photographer’s who charge for camera rental : why not?? If I have a DSLR and need a MF back for a shoot, why shouldnt the client pay for it? Even if I have a DSLR and I need another one, why shouldnt a client pay for it?
    May be you are just trolling – “they may as well hire one & do it themselves”
    hahaha.. yes, of course, everybody has a DSLR these days right? Why hire photographers at all?

    • I love the logic… run a proper business and cover your costs = bad person bringing an evidently poorly run business down

      • Exactly!
        I recently completed a commercial shoot for a high-end, Madison Ave. fashion retailer and, while I do own my own lighting and camera equipment, renting additional equipment – appropriate to the job at hand – is essential and a good business decision that clients are more than willing to pay for. Below is a partial list of rented equipment for a 2-day shoot:
        QTY
        DESCRIPTION
        DAYS
        RATE
        EXTENDED
        FINAL PRICE
        1
        PROFOTO PRO 8A PACK & HEAD KIT
        1.00
        115.00
        115.00
        115.00
        1
        Profoto Strobe: Pro 8A 2400 Air
        1
        Broncolor/Profoto 7A / 8A HD A/C 120V Power Cord
        1
        Profoto Head: Pro 7A / 7B / 8A Flash Head
        1
        Profoto Reflector: 7.0″ Standard ZOOM 65-110 Degree
        1
        Kit Stand Avenger A635B 10.8′
        1
        40″ Medium Convertable Kit Umbrella
        1
        Profoto Sync Cord (Hard Sync)
        1
        PROFOTO 7A HEAD KIT
        1.00
        25.00
        25.00
        25.00
        1
        Profoto Head: Pro 7A / 7B / 8A Flash Head
        1
        Profoto Reflector: 7.0″ Standard ZOOM 65-110 Degree
        1
        Kit Stand Avenger A635B 10.8′
        1
        40″ Medium Convertable Kit Umbrella
        1
        PROFOTO BEAUTY DISH W/ SOCK AND GRID
        1.00
        55.00
        55.00
        55.00
        1
        Profoto Beauty Dish – White
        1
        Profoto Beauty Dish Grid
        1
        Profoto / Broncolor Beauty Dish Sock (Full Stop)
        3
        FOAMCORE 1/2 inch V Flat Black/white
        1.00
        12.00
        36.00
        36.00
        1
        4×4 Bead Board Silver / White (shiny & dull)
        1.00
        10.00
        10.00
        10.00
        1
        20X20 SOLID
        1.00
        60.00
        60.00
        60.00
        2
        Speed Rail 1.25″ Frame Section 7′
        1.00
        7.00
        14.00
        14.00
        1
        Speed Rail 1.25″ Frame Section 8′
        1.00
        8.00
        8.00
        8.00
        2
        Speed Rail 1.25″ Connector Sleeve / Allen Fastening
        1.00
        5.00
        10.00
        10.00
        2
        Light Lift Stand Double Wind Up 13′
        1.00
        60.00
        120.00
        120.00
        2
        Grid Clamp: Junior Pin (Big Ben)
        1.00
        8.00
        16.00
        16.00
        SCHEIMPFLUG PHOTO EQUIPMENT CO.
        236 W. 30TH ST. GROUND FLOOR
        NEW YORK, NY 10001
        212-244-8300 FAX 212-244-8769
        Page2 of 2 Printed on 12/10/2012 At 09:58 AM
        1
        Matthews Mini Boom
        1.00
        20.00
        20.00
        20.00
        1
        Bogen Super Boom 8′ With Weight
        1.00
        22.00
        22.00
        22.00
        2
        Overhead Roller Stand Medium Roller 3-Riser

    • davegrumble

      Surely if you are a photographer you should have a camera right?, it’s like asking a taxi driver to drive you to the airport, but he uses your car. You are employing a photographer for a purpose to take pictures, in the real world professional photographers have a camera, to charge a client for using it is wrong, granted if it is a major advertising campaign and they specifically require a medium format camera to blow it up on bill boards then they should contribute towards that cost, but to be charged to hire the photographer, then to hire the tools required to take the actual image (lighting excluded) are two different things. Would you charge your employee your travel fair to work every day to get there to do your job you were hired to do?

      • Do you not understand basic business and the math?

        Cameras, computers and software all have short lifespans and cost a fair amount. The line item is to cover this cost along with the time involved, especially if a large number of takes are likely to be involved.

        Some bottom end clients might not want to see it, so the solution there is to roll the cost into whatever fee structure being used. Same bottom line.

        Your taxi analogy makes no sense. The correct comparison would be if the taxi driver charged the passenger to use his car – WHICH HE DOES – as part of the fare because the car needs maintenance, insurance etc.

      • Why is lighting excluded? If you are a photographer, you should have lights, right? And you should probably have all the lenses your camera mfg. makes, too, right?

      • Mr grumble,
        You do understand that a taxi driver charges YOU for his gas and his other expenses, right? Just like Wal-Mart charges you for the truck driver who brings you all those boxes of tissues.

  3. “it’s about time photographers started to accept it’s part of their job to process digital files if they have a digital camera ”

    Really Dave? Did you process all your own film when you shot analogue? And not charge for that work?

    I always charged for film processing; whether monochrome which I did myself, or colour which the lab did(and invoiced me for). Sometimes this charge was itemised, sometimes the client just wanted one simple quote. Not to charge would have lead very quickly to bankruptcy. I still charge for processing images, bankruptcy remains unappealing. Just that now, when shooting digitally the processing is done on a Mac rather than in tank and tray or an E6 line.

    • davegrumble

      Charging for “preperation of digital files” levels etc is crazy, if the files are not properly exposed in the first place then that photographer needs to go back to college or re-train, seriously it takes 2 seconds to level out a selection of frames & sync those adjustments to the session – to charge a client for it is ridiculious. Retuching of the selected frames fair enough, but to simply edit through the shots, do minor level adjustments & provide lo-res should never be charged for. These types of attitudes does thephotography industry and photographers no favours.

      • Why respond to a troll?

        Anyway… So you’re not supposed to charge for things that take your time? If you have a large shoot and you’re churning out thousands of images do you know how long it takes to go through each shot, check focus, and adjust?

        Sure, files look pretty decent straight from the camera now days thanks to Lightroom/Capture One… but they can be better… always. And that takes time.

        It’s LUDICROUS to suggest that we shouldn’t be charging for that time. Well, ludicrous when coming from non-trolls.

      • What’s wrong with charging for preparation of digital files or “digital capture” as I see on most invoices?

        It takes time to transfer, back up, organize, rename, process images just to send to the retoucher. It also cost money for data storage, setting up RAID drives.

        Time is money, and all expenses need to be covered one way or another, if you are not listing it as an individual item, I hope you are including the cost into your rate.

  4. So much silliness. The invoice makes perfect sense in all respects. The CDB encompasses so much that never finds its’ way to a line item entry. To operate on a level enabling a photographer to do this kind of work, and to be there when clients who need this type of work done call, then these are the bottom lines that are required. None of this is new. It’s clear to me that JD at WF and RH at APE by featuring this type of info are advancing the understanding, professionalism, and interests of photographer and client alike. Why grumble?

  5. My dearest davegrumble, (as you hide behind an alias)
    It’s very clear that you are not a professional or commercial photographer nor have ever worked in the upper-end of commercial photography with the statements you are posting.
    By your logic NBA players would all be expected to show up to a game with their own game ball.
    The real world does not work like that.
    Very few high-end commercial photographers as in: Fashion, Beauty, Advertising, Celeb portraiture, own their own cameras or lighting equipment.
    And believe it or not even fewer know how to operate their cameras (other than pushing the button) or do their own lighting.
    Now this may all come as a surprise to you but that’s how it works when your playing with the big boys.
    We all recognize that the: wedding photographers, head shot , school portrait and dog photographers such as yourself believe what is written in the pages of the low budget photo magazines that are created to attract those amateurs that dream of becoming photographers but will never have the balls it takes to swim in the ocean with the big fish.
    You would do well to watch and listen to those that have been doing this on a pro-level for the past few decades rather than shooting off you mouth like some wanna-be little bitch boy.
    Educate yourself, then speak.
    “Goood Booyyy!” patt, patt, patt

  6. Thank you folks! I have greatly enjoyed this thread.

    The sharing of the information that Wonderful Machines and aPhotoEditor has offered us through all of their posts has been a huge education for me. It has given me the guts to ask for more, to charge more for what I give back, and to stand up for what I deserve, as a creative profession!

    Keep up the great work!

    • Some here opine Monsieur Grumble to be commenting anonymously. However, one doesn’t have to be a Charles Dickens to appreciate the inspired pseudonym Grumble.

      George Bernard Shaw once wrote “The true joy in life is complaining.” Clearly Dave agrees.

  7. Jess,

    I am surprised you guys decided to combine the photographers time and licensing into a single price. I would have thought breaking the two out into separate line items would make it easier to communicate additional licensing costs if needed.

    • Time isn’t a line item, though it is a factor in the creative fee. The reason for this is because in negotiations, one never wants to devalue the value of their creative time. This is different from logistical time involved in travel, and services like retouching etc. Breaking out the time also creates pressure to rush things.

      A creative fee takes into consideration:
      – Time to complete the project
      – Complexity
      – Uniqueness the photographer brings to the task. If it is something only this person can do, that is upward pressure. If it something someone else can do, lower pressure.
      – Licensing

      For a large client, licensing based on media buy and time will be the large factor. For a smaller client with a limited buy, time might actually be the larger piece.

      It is not uncommon for photographers of a certain age to still use a “day rate”. This is deprecated now in many situations because it is a poor way to value images (though it may make sense for even photographers where the number of deliverables is open ended)

  8. Not being one who likes to “grumble” about things, I still have issues with charging for equipment rental when it’s your own gear.

    I know, I know, it all costs money, but as a guy who has more money tied up in gear than the cost of an underwater mortgaged house in Phoenix, I’m still not sure if it’s a good example to follow.

    It seemed to come from the film and video business where they charged rental for everything, and I mean everything. Still photographers saw this and copied it. Do you know that most people who work in motion do so on a “work for hire” basis and do not own copyright to their work?

    Motion is not a good business to emulate if you value your creative rights. On the other hand, if you’re hooked on blow and silicone boobs, it’s definateley the way to go.

  9. This is a great post, especially in contrast to the the previous one.

    I find this way of pricing very interesting, I have always been “schooled” to have the creative fee/day rate and the licensing as two separate line item.

  10. I don’t understand the argument for if you are a photographer you should have your own gear and shouldn’t charge for it?

    Rental or not you will still charge for taking out your own equipment, it is part of the production cost. They pay the photographer his rates for his time working on the project, production cost to make the shoot happen, and the licensing cost for using the produced images.

  11. Dunno.

    I’m a musician too.
    It is not out of line to charge rental on your gear.
    Pretty common in the circles I run in.

    Can’t help if anyone’s dumbfounded.

    As far as gear you don’t already own.
    Rental makes total sense with camera gear.
    Would it be cheaper to include it in COGS if the client had to pay to offset the purchase??
    Why would you buy an additional $50K-$100 in kit to do a $10K job.
    Puzzled by the inability to grasp this.

  12. “I have met the enemy and it is us.”
    — Pogo

    It is interesting to see the force of gravity on an industry.
    And sad, too.

    I guess sitting around bitching becomes a habit that is hard to break. Someone charges too little and they are ruining the industry then someone charges too much and they are ruining the industry…

    Maybe we are all ‘togs’ now.

  13. I think most of the confusion over the ‘why charge for camera hire and cars’ etc. etc. is just due to the way the invoice is itemised. Another format is to include your wear tear and kit replacement costs in a larger creative fee and have a ‘cleaner’ invoice. The total is the same at the end of the day. Just depends if the client wants to see a big simple number or how it’s all broken down and itemised. Maybe easier to get signed off with the latter.

    I doubt the cameras are usually ACTUALLY hired.

  14. I don’t want to beat a dead horse – but I’ve been away and am catching up on my reading.

    Note to the “rent-back-equipment-you-own” sceptics – there is another rationale for this method of billing: If the worst were to happen (flood/fire/theft), the fact the client is paying rental on equipment means the shoot can still happen. Whether you list equipment rental as a line-item or roll that cost into your photography fee depends on your clients. Be warned, if you don’t do either you are setting yourself up to make a loss on a job when the worst DOES happen.

    Clients pay us for our professionalism, and that means consistent performance irrespective of the theft of your gear, or a dropped lens, etc etc etc.