Before I begin with an observation of a photo that…
It seems there was a golden age of corporate photography in the 80s and early 90s when corporations were flush with cash and photographers flew around the world shooting splashy annual reports full of big beautiful pictures. While those days may be gone (for now at least), there continues to be a steady need for corporate photography in spite of a sluggish economy.
And in some ways, demand has grown as companies find more and more channels to get their message out. The explosion of digital platforms has made pricing photography trickier for photographers and it’s made clients more demanding.
Our latest free guide, Pricing Your Work: Corporate & Industrial Photography, takes a closer look at what rates photographers typically command for this type of photography and how usage factors into that value so you can make the most of those opportunities.
This guide was created in partnership with Wonderful Machine‘s Bill Cramer. Below is his advice for how to create a solid estimate for corporate photography jobs. Bill suggests starting with asking yourself three main questions – and then clarifying with your client, if the answers are unclear:
1. Creative – What kind of pictures do you need to make? Who are the subjects? How much time do you have with the subjects? How much time will you have to set up? Is there a shot list? Who is the audience?
2. Production – What do you have to do to make those pictures? Do you need assistants, digital techs, props, wardrobe? Do you need to scout locations ahead of time? What is the deadline?
3. Usage – How will the pictures be used? For how long? In what publications will it be distributed and how many copies? In what geographic area? Is there a predetermined budget?
For the estimate itself, Bill recommend a simple two-page document combined into a single PDF. The first page will be your estimate that briefly describes the pictures you’re going to make, the licensing the client is going to get, and the fee. Under that will be a list of production expenses and a total.
The second page will list your boilerplate terms & conditions. You’ll attach that two-page document to an email (delivery memo) that says, “Dear <Client>, thank you for considering me for your <name of project> shoot! I’m attaching a cost estimate and terms & conditions for your consideration. Please let me know if you have any questions. Otherwise, if you’d like to move forward with the shoot, kindly sign and date both pages and return to me at <fax number> or <email address>.”
Bill created a basic sample estimate that you can download here. You can also download an editable Microsfot Word version of Wonderful Machine’s terms & conditions here. He advises photographers to get a signature in their estimates, especially from new clients, so it’s clear which revision of the contract you’ve settled on and that they’ve agreed to your terms.
Here are a few corporate and industrial estimates:
- Executive Portrait Shoot for Fortune 500 Company
- Industrial Shoot for Annual Report
- Low Budget Annual Report
- Image Library Shoot
- Group Portraits for Publicity and Internal Collateral Use
- Article Reprints for Corporate Use
You can find explanations of all kinds of contracts on the Wonderful Machine blog.
Just as you will spend your whole career learning how to make great images, if you’re smart, you’ll spend your career learning how to judge your worth and negotiate fair compensation for it. Learn more about pricing your corporate and industrial photography in our free guide.
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