Ad Agency Request for Unique Images

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A call came in from a colleague who was asking my advice for pricing a request. This is the request.

Client's Request:

I’d really like your help.  I have shown some images to an ad agency that is doing work for a huge sporting goods company.  They’re from a {league} game so it’s not something that can be easily reproduced.
For what it’s worth, I have purchased your book and have found some helpful advice but I have no idea how to respond to the agency’s request for pricing.

Prospective Client Inquiry: Restaurant Executive portrait needed

This client wrote in an e-mail asking for an assignment to be done in the local area.

Client's Request:


I need a digital portrait of the manager and head chef of {restaurant name} in {downtown city location}.

The portrait (both of them in the same shot, square-ish or vertical) needs to be done on location next week during the day, prior to the restaurant opening at 5pm.

Can you please let me know if you’re interested, your availability, and email me an estimate.

This is for one-time editorial use in a newsletter which is send through the mail, and sent digitally.

Thank you,
{client name & phone number}

Posted by John Harrington on 01/01
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Prospective Client Inquiry: Financial planning company portrait needed

This prospective client wrote, in an unsolicited e-mail inquiry:

Client's Request:

I’m in need of a professional shot (likely, waist up) for my firm’s website and for a feature in {local society magazine} magazine.
Curious what your turnaround, rates, etc. would be for digital-only work (i.e. no prints needed).
{Prospective Client}
{Local Financial Planning Firm}

Posted by John Harrington on 01/01
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Welcome to Estimates and Bids

This business of photography is changing. Constantly. Yet, fundamental business principles remain the same, which, while I created Photo Business News & Forum for that, the idea for this blog was born from the ongoing and regular inquries I get from friends and colleagues with the question - “How do I estimate this job?” They usually have an idea, but want feedback to make sure they’ve not forgotten anything. Sometimes, this job is the first time they’ve estimated this particular type of assignment. I am happy to help. Further, one of the more popular features of my book, Best Business Practices for Photographers is the actual, concrete real-world examples of requests I have had, and the back-and-forth I had with clients negotiating along the way.

Here at Estimates & Bids, I am hoping to take the mystery out of the process (well, as much as possible) of estimates. I’ll be posting requests from recent clients, and interactions, where I have them.

In a departure from Photo Business News & Forum and Assignment Construct, you too will have the opportunity to have inquiries that came to you put forth to the collective community. Send them over for consideration, and I’ll post them. This endeavor will be so much more beneficial to all if you send inquiries and interactions that you’ve had. I won’t say that it won’t work without you, there will always be lurkers, but it will just be so much broader and colorful if you do.

Your opportunity to participate as a respondent to the request will be moderated. I don’t want off-topic comments to seep into the dialog, and I don’t want to be going through and deleting those types of posts, so, your response to the post/inquiry should be thoughtful and complete,  or it won’t make it up.

This process does not presume that you are actually qualified to complete the job. But, do you know what you’re talking about? We’ll see.

Further, because some people think “collateral” means one thing, and “buyout” means one thing, we won’t be using vague terminology. We’ll be using PLUS codes for the uses requested. The PLUS Coalition did such a wonderful job of demystifying every type of use under the sun, that we would be derelict in our obligation to clarity to try to define the uses any other way.

Further, there will be a “Hot” or “Sticky” post type. These will be jobs that you, dear reader, are working on with an active client. They require a timely response, and I urge people to especially respond to these as they come across an RSS feed. Doing so will help your fellow photographer properly estimate the job, and they will be able to read your responses while they are preparing their estimate, or, perhaps to learn where they forgot something.

So, what is an Estimate, and what is a Bid?

From PLUS:

Estimate - A outline of approximate costs, including fees and expenses (and potential additional expenses), including the licensing, terms of payment, and other elements critical to the execution and completion of an assignment. Final dollars involved may be more (or less) than the estimated total, but not by much, unless approved by the photographer and client.

Bid - A “do not exceed” and “will not be less than” outline of costs, fees and expenses, including the licensing, terms of payment, and other elements critical to the execution and completion of an assignment.

Thus, we’ll be discussing both.

Would you have done it differently? Maybe, maybe not.

I encourage you to sign up on the main page, and get updates and information, and set your RSS reader to pick up my entries. You’ll get full feeds, of course, no short-changing here.

For the seasoned professional, there’s always more to learn, and it is my hope that you pick up insights as to how to better estimate, or even to share with your fellow photographer estimate inquiries you’ve been presented with yourself. For the aspiring photographer, you’ll hopefully take away wholesale solutions and systems to use to approach the estimating process.


Posted by John Harrington on 01/01

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