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The All-Important Treatment

Congrats! You have been asked to bid on a shoot that is right up your alley! You get to work, trying to account for all the details of the shoot to provide an accurate, competitive estimate. Many photographers may stop there, but the truth is that the estimate is only one part of the client's decision process. Remember -- you have been selected because your style of photography is appropriate for the job. So how do you reinforce this to give you the edge over other photographers bidding on the same gig? This is where developing a treatment comes into play.

Podcast Mania - Interviews with the Agency Access Consultants: Part 2

Part 2 of Podcast Mania is bursting at the seams with awesome advice for both emerging AND seasoned freelance artists.  Five of the top names in the creative consultant game sat down with Marc Harmon of Creative Grit Media to tackle every aspect of life as a freelance artist.  Last week we heard from Jennifer Kilberg and Andrea Maurio.  This week Amanda Sosa Stone, Lynn Kyle, and Karen D’Silva step to the plate to offer advice on everything from representation to personal branding to estimating and negotiating to promo targeting and beyond.

Following Up (Carefully) After Bidding a Job

Question: After I bid a job, how should I keep in touch?

The first rule of thumb is to ask your client when he or she is planning to make a final decision regarding your estimate. Be aware, though: Those dates don’t always hold fast, and many times decisions get delayed because of last-minute copy changes, decision-makers being out of town and unable to sign off on the final numbers, and other factors.

I believe a phone call and an email is the best way to ensure you get a reply. A simple statement – “just checking in with you to see if you were any closer to making a decision on the Acme Adhesive shoot. I’m sure you’re very busy, but any information you can provide would be most appreciated” – can have a profound and direct effect.

Estimating and Negotiating: Where am I Going Wrong?

Question: I have put in bid after bid. It always ends up with me not getting the job, though the art buyers tell me my numbers are solid. Is it my numbers? Is it that I am not established enough? What is wrong with my estimates? Is it my negotiating?

The best way to answer this question is to address the possible scenarios that can prevent a photographer from landing an assignment, along with important points to consider when communicating with your client and structuring your estimate.

Breaking In? Ask Plenty of Questions – and Be Nice!

Question: It's so hard to know what to charge when you’re starting out. How do I know if I'm being taken advantage of? Are there fees that I should always include, or not include?

For those aspiring photographers trying to break into the magazine world, don't be shy with questions about the job. Have a list of questions ready when you speak on the phone - it's best to arrange a call and get past the email chain.

The magazines that I have worked for as a photo editor had a day rate already set. Typically, there are expenses allowed on top of the day rate. When I have contacted photographers, I have always included a brief summary about the job and the rate for the job. This is typically done via email to check availability.

Creative Collision: Triple Bidding & Cash Advances

Questions: When should I triple bid? / What percentage of an estimate is approved for cash advances?

For all the wonderful art and noble intentions, this is a business – and whether you’re a photographer with two decades of professional experience or an illustrator learning how to sharpen your pencil, you’re looking to get paid. When it comes to cashing in, there are tried-and-true techniques to employ and common errors to avoid … for instance, art buyers allow for wiggle room regarding equipment and expenses, but if you continuously mark up your costs, they’ll notice.

15 Questions and Strategies for Illustrators to Properly Estimate

Question: Clients always ask for an estimate, and I tend to low-ball – any good strategies for coming up with a proper estimate?

Creating an accurate estimate is the best thing you can do for the client, your own illustration business and the industry. Even though no two estimates are the same, most can still follow a general outline for what should be included. Here is a list of questions to ask your potential client to help create an accurate estimate that fulfills both their expectations and your needs.

The Photographer’s Rules of Thumb for Successful Negotiating

Question: Does the opportunity to negotiate still exist? Clients like to hear a number and if you’re not there (at a low or reasonable cost) you lose out without a negotiation. If so, what are some of the rules of negotiating?

As an art producer the past 15 years – and more recently a photographer’s agent and producer – I can shed a little light on this topic.

In a nutshell, yes, the opportunity to negotiate still exists. But it depends on a few variables – budget, timing, the client’s priorities, your relationship with the negotiator and, mostly, how badly they want YOU on the job.

Visually Estimating like a Treatment Champ

Question: After the initial creative call, what can I do to stand-out from my competitors? I’ve heard of artists providing an estimate and a treatment. How would I go about creating a creative treatment, one that shows the my creative vision while fitting in with the art producer’s vision?

After a creative call, every photographer or illustrator sits, waits and imagines every scenario. I can’t tell you how many times a week I hear from a client who just finished a bid or a creative call and asks me: “When should I call back?” “It’s been a week, what should I do?” “Should I send a follow-up email?”

Here is my advice on how to stand out from your peers, while staying calm in the mix. To do that, here are six steps to follow to enhance your success, starting before you even make the call.

Creatively Reeling in the Non-Offered Bid

Question: How do you approach and make a sale to someone just looking for information and an estimate?

Someone just looking for information is quite different than someone asking you to provide an estimate. Therefore, I would handle each differently. Whenever someone contacts me for information I always make the effort to contact them either over the phone or set up a meeting in person.

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