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October 25, 2012 @ 2 p.m. in The Business Lab by John Berthot | FOCUS View Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When an art producer reaches out regarding a potential project, this is your time as a photographer to step up to the plate and shine. Obviously, there is already some form of interest in you, your capabilities and your voice. So you need to make an impression that puts you over the top as THE photographer for the project.
Your estimate helps potential clients decide whether you're an experienced professional, a desperate amateur, or a budget drainer! What will your next estimate or invoice imply about you? In this video, creatives discuss how the nitty-gritty elements - from pre-production fees to billing for insurance - can work in your favor, or against you:
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