There's always someone cheaper
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:07 pm    Post subject: There's always someone cheaper Reply with quote

Got a call on Monday to shoot an ad (simple portrait) for a large international company. It offer was through an agency and they wanted unlimited perpetual world wide usage forever...all rights. Without even getting them an estimate they told me they had a total budget of $1200. Oh and they had to have it shot the next day. $1200? Should I be insulted at the price or happy that they at least thought my work was good enough?

Yesterday I countered and told them double the rate and I'd give them 2 years...which is still a huge discount (similar pic on Getty for unlimited usage was over $15K). They told me that they have already found someone to shoot it for their budget.

Lesson? There will always be someone cheaper and the more you bend to accomidate someone else's needs, the more they break your heart.

I could have used the $1200 but I was trying to stand up for the industry I want to work in and keep my dignity.
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Gordon Moat
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good for you. I think once you hit that down cycle of accepting a low offer, then they would just come to you because of low budget. I have never heard of any photographer (nor graphic designer) doing low budget work and later getting better paying gigs from the same client. Nice that they considered you enough to ask you, but it did sound more like they were shopping on price.

Many restaurants use nearly the same basic ingredients. The funny thing is that no matter the ingredients, your meal depends upon the people cooking it for you. Sometimes expensive restaurants are disappointing, and sometimes low budget food places serve great meals, but the better restaurants are often there year after year because they get it right, and each customer enjoys the experience.
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tcphoto
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, good for you. I guarantee you the Ad Agency is making more than $1200 to work with the Client on this project alone. Their budget is sub par and odds are the images will be also. I have had a couple of those propositions and politely turned them down. I would rather work behind a bar somewhere a couple nights a week than be the "lowballer" in town that drags the profession down. Once you accept those rates, you can never go up or be considered for the higher paying projects.
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jlafferty
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking one for the team. It's the clients who haggle over price who will work you the hardest, too.
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Ashley
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: There's always someone cheaper Reply with quote

shanekislack wrote:
Without even getting them an estimate they told me they had a total budget of $1200.

There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject.
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Last edited by Ashley on Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jon DeVaul
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:33 am    Post subject: Re: There's always someone cheaper Reply with quote

Ashley wrote:
shanekislack wrote:
Without even getting them an estimate they told me they had a total budget of $1200.

There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject.

Producing an image that they can use is not the same as producing an image that they will want to use... for what they have said they want to use the image for.
According to my calculations, if your production costs are around $50, then the Licence fee for what they have asked for is about right.

So could you take a quick snap shot for around $50.00... that's real the question here... as far as I can see.


I was asked to bid on a job shooting 5 CEO portraits in 5 different locations. I estimated the job after going through Fotoquote, Blinkbid, ASMP's Papershare, and getting offline advice from people at APANet. I figured 2 days, hiring a freelance assistant, post production work, etc. I lost to a wedding photographer who has a total of 3 shots on his website. I bet he went in with an on camera flash, maybe a Gary Fong type diffuser and a reflector on the shadow side...in and out in 5 min. max. Probably figured in milage/gas and that was it. I should have asked what the budget was before I even started an estimate.

Jon
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the support guys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWoFqbYBo6M
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Jon DeVaul
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shanekislack wrote:
Thanks for the support guys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWoFqbYBo6M


It really is being in a tough situation. We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed. My wife works for the female version of Attila the Hun...I'd love so much to make enough so she could tell her boss to #%@x&. Hopefully the economy gets better, we keep trying to improve, and things fall together...good luck!

Jon
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Brooks Ayola
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done the same thing because of the contract they wanted me to sign. The money seemed OK until they wanted me to sign a WFH deal. On top of that, (this was in the film days) they stated in the contract that you had to deliver every piece of film to them, even if it was half of a frame from a snip test or an accidental shot of the ground. They had to have everything.

I said. No Way.

Now every time I see a Muscle and Fitness magazine, I know what the photographers signed to get it. Fuckers.
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Mel Hill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
an ad (simple portrait) for a large international company.

I'm curious as to what your estimate of the future sales would be for a simple portrait? YOu did not mention the extent of the ad buy so let's not even bring that up...
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point, Mel. This is one of the struggles I have as I'm a neophyte. I'm guessing you are alluding to the fact that it probably doesn't have much resale value? Am I right? Because you are probably right. It probably has no future sales. But then again, this whole business is based off NOTHING tangible. It's like baseball cards, it's only worth what someone will pay. My objection wasn't necessarily because I'd lose future sales, it's because there is a "going rate", a community expectation of what the value of a piece of work is going to be.

I have a lot of photographers that act as mentors to me, so I get a lot of input. A lot of my decisions and business acumen is really repeating what I've been told as I don't have a lot of experience. I'd love to hear the other side if people have different outlooks.

But let's go ahead and bring up ad buy...I haven't gotten a straight answer from a client since I started in the business. And the stories I hear from other photographers is that they always use it more than they say, never less.
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Ashley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shanekislack wrote:
And the stories I hear from other photographers is that they always use it more than they say, never less.

But usually only if it's an image that they really like and want to use a lot.
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Last edited by Ashley on Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:14 pm; edited 4 times in total
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashley wrote:

This is why your pricing system needs to take the client's Usage requirements into account.


I totally agree. Just lamenting the fact that they always claim they don't know what they are going to use it for. And when I say they always end up using it more...it's often done on the down low without telling the photographer.
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Ashley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shanekislack wrote:
Just lamenting the fact that they always claim they don't know what they are going to use it for.

In fairness though, a lot of clients won't until they have actually seen the final images... and even then, they may not have totally thought it through.

The images you produce could be amazing or they could just be okay - even you may not know which it is going to be, until you're half way through the shoot or until you're back in base and have had time to really see what you have shot.
And that is a problem we all face, when we are trying to put a price on what we do - and stand our ground on price, etc, etc.

So this does make it hard for both parties - because it's like we are being asked to put a price on the unknown a lot of the time - and they are having to imagine what they are going to get.
And we both need to agree and put that all in place, before we are given the opportunity to do anything.

Produce crappy images is the easy answer - then you won't have to worry about additional use Smile
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Last edited by Ashley on Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TimothyHughes
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No offense, but I would have shot the portrait for $1200. I've worked for much less and a shot like likely around a half day rate.
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you go then, you're the guy that will do it well below it's market value Confused I'm sure you're not the only one.

No offense taken. I'm trying my hardest to navigate this very complicated field the best I can. I MAY have made the wrong decision. I certainly could have used the money, however there comes a point when you have to stand up for yourself. I have also shot stuff for much lower; the difference is that I felt they were offering well below market value. The other stuff I've shot cheaper didn't have the same market value.

Would you also sell your shares of microsoft for less than market value? After all, it has been less in the past.
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tcphoto
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TimothyHughes wrote:
No offense, but I would have shot the portrait for $1200. I've worked for much less and a shot like likely around a half day rate.


Timothy, Timothy, Timothy, You obviously have no idea about the value of your images. They actually add value to the branding of the Corporation. It is one more block in the foundation of it's reputation and perception of quality. You would produce an image that would add value and continue doing so for years to come for $1200? Not only are you underselling yourself but you are not doing any of us any favors by underpricing your work and undervaluing our work. Do us all a favor and pick up a little book called, Pricing Photography. It will open your eyes to the philosophy of pricing our work and more important, the theory of pricing according to licensing. You may be inspired to stop charging by the hour and asking a few more questions regarding how your clients value the images and how they want to use the images.
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Gordon Moat
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting and somewhat relevant conversation with a stylist friend of mine yesterday. We were discussing sudden calls to do a shoot the next day, or within two or three days (really short notice). Unless an agency or client just had a photographer cancel on them, the short notice request is a really good indicator that either they are not very good at planning projects, or they don't consider last minute people to be assets to their campaign.

I think the short time request, especially next day, should be a huge red flag. One easy question to figure them out more is to ask if their photographer just canceled; if they reply they didn't have one lined up yet, then you know the situation. Good campaigns take planning.
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TimothyHughes
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my market the going rate for a single editorial portrait [local print mags] is around $200. For national publications it's around $400. Most publications state their budgets right off the bat in correspondence.

I know commercial shots are worth more, but I also know plenty of excellent shooters who will do solid portraits for commercial clients for around $500. I charge rates that are parallel to competitors in my area.

If you are able to charge more than that in your market I'm happy for you! You carved a niche for yourself in the high-end market and if your clients want high-end work they know they can call you. But obviously not all clients have that kind of budget.
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K.C.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TimothyHughes wrote:

If you are able to charge more than that in your market I'm happy for you!


Fortunately for you the cost of doing business in the midwest is much lower. Your rent and property values are a fraction of what they are here in California. In my experience that's also reflected in day rates.

I grew up 90 miles from Madison and have lived in California for 26 years. I have worked as a pro photographer in both places. So I am speaking from experience.
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