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“Fairness” is one of my favorite words, especially when it comes to estimating a project. Since there is no standard list of prices that work for every client or company, negotiating in a professional, tactful way is key.
Once I know the scope of the project and also the requiring rights, I then gauge the amount of time and work involved for the illustrator and/or motion graphics artist. This should give me a pretty good idea of what the budget should be … what’s “fair” for the amount of work and usage.
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.
The topics of fees and buyouts have always been hot ones in this industry. I think it’s a real shame that equipment has gotten more expensive and the fees and compensation have stayed the same or decreased since 2000. While everyone loves the convenience of digital, it has created more and more loss for the professional photographer. We are seeing more out-bidding by less-experienced photographers giving away all rights while the professional is trying to stand his or her ground. So, what’s the best way to negotiate to be fairly compensated?
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.
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.
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.
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:
Pricing your work isn't for the faint of heart. Dip too low and you risk coming off unprofessional, hurting your business, or short-changing your own budget for the project. Float too high and potential clients may turn up their noses. In this podcast, industry experts discuss:
As is the case with so many aspects of our industry, there are not many hard and fast rules when it comes to estimating fees. So much depends on the final number and the reasons for the wide swings in prices vary from project to project and photographer to photographer.
When a client calls us to license an image for stock use, here are a few ways we determine the price:
The perfect resource for the working artist, The Lab is our monthly newsletter that answers your burning questions on marketing, business and creativity.
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