How to Create an Estimate for Corporate Photography Jobs

How to Create an Estimate for Corporate Photography Jobs

Photo by Jason Grow

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:

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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There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Killian at 1:15 pm

    Another tip – always, always proofread your work, and then have someone else do it, too. Typos in professional publications just make you look sloppy, giving the wrong first impression to a potential client.

    (*such as misspelling Microsoft)

  2. Tara at 2:07 pm

    @Killian yes this!! Even if you proof read it twice, make someone else or two other people go over it and look too, just so that you can have a fresh set of eyes catch anything you might be overlooking!

  3. Josh Gold at 11:44 pm

    Often times I feel that the industry and the city that they are located in has a lot to do with the budget that they have to work with and what their expectations are. When they are not willing to divulged a starting point for budget how do you go about hitting the sweet spot. Obviously you can’t make every client happy. But I have large and small clients, and a budget can range from a few hundred dollars for a quick headshot to a $15,000 one day shoot with a large production staff. Obviously you can often produce a shot for less, but production value is production value. How do you get enough from a client in pre quote to get the most accurate gauge of their desired production value/ budget?

    Joshgoldphotography.com

  4. Pingback: Estimating… |
  5. Corporate Photography Ltd at 3:56 am

    We have found that since the credit crunch our corporate photography commissions in London have been driven by cost. Things like usage rights and post production of the images are deemed to be included in your costs. Many clients will ask for a total package inc travel, all rights, retouching and expect a bottom line quote. We have found that trying to stick to the industry standard means you will not win the work and it is futile to tell the client that they should take these into account as when times are tough for businesses they tend to make things tougher for their suppliers.

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