Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Medium Format / Film / Digital Backs and Large Sensor Photography => Topic started by: Lust4Life on November 24, 2009, 06:23:02 AM

Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Lust4Life on November 24, 2009, 06:23:02 AM
This is the last thread I had planned when I started the original post.
Part 1 was to define from an artistic perspective what it took to become a "great" AP photographer.
Part 2 was to be focused on the technical aspects, gear/equipment required - both what worked and didn't.
Part 3, this parts mission is to discuss the Business aspects of building a successful AP venture!

Included should be:
Marketing you service - what works and what didn't.  What is cost effective.
Who are your clients - who pays and who doesn't pay enough relative to what they extract from you.
Knowing your clients - how important is it to understand your clients business, and how to gain this knowledge.
Networking that is effective; helping others based on what goes around comes around.
Determining your fee and payment terms - different billing practices that have worked for you, and what hasn't.
Contract formats.
Insurance coverage.

That should get us started.

In closing, to all that have contributed to this lively discussion, Thank You from myself and those to follow reading these threads for some time to come!

Jack Brady
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: stewarthemley on November 24, 2009, 07:52:33 AM
Jack, thanks again for starting and then perpetuating such an interesting and useful discussion. And thanks to all the successful and talented people who spared the time to respond.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Kirk Gittings on November 24, 2009, 11:38:03 AM
First-getting started in the business.......

My route.......it is 1978, coming from a fine art background, showing in galleries, I needed to find a more stable income to support my growing family.....I am looking at my 4x5. What else can I do with this? Ah....I like architecture.

There were no specialists in my town-no one was an "architectural photographer". There was no one worth apprenticing with or assisting and there was not the workshop community there is today. So I studied architecture magazines and the few books available (like Schulman's). I marketed to large local construction companies, thinking they were less demanding (and were/are). I learned the basics on their dime and expanded my equipment. Then, when I felt more competent, when I was shooting something for a builder I would approach the architect. Soon most of my clients were architects and one of them started getting published nationally during the heyday of "regionalism" and the "Santa Fe" style. That led to regular assignments in the mid 80's for national magazines like Architecture and Architectural Record.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Lust4Life on November 24, 2009, 12:06:58 PM
Kirk,

Can you give us a time line - how long did it take till you felt you "knew enough to be dangerous" in the AP market?

Time till you felt you had successfully established yourself and calls began to come to you, rather than your having to solicit work?

etc.

Jack
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: PhilipJames on November 24, 2009, 12:13:24 PM
Can I take the conversation back to the day rate versus per shot topic. I have shot in fashion for most of my career and Architecture is a fairly new direction for me so I'm still coming to terms with the best way to price things. Initially I have been working off a day rate but the variation in output varies wildly, i.e. one job may require 5 or 6 shots and another 20+, so I am thinking to have a day rate for 1-10 shots and another for 11 +. Then of course that can fall down a bit if the extra shots required are 1 or 2 rather than 10, so I then thought maybe a day rate for 1-10 and per shot therafter.
Some of the posts have referred to a per shot basis from the outset, how does that work if the client only requires 1 shot (unlikely I know). Also the higher the shot output the more time spent in post production, how is everybody squaring that?

Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 24, 2009, 12:16:32 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Time till you felt you had successfully established yourself and calls began to come to you, rather than your having to solicit work?

etc.

Just curious, does anyone ever quit banging on doors looking for work, even when you are established?
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Kirk Gittings on November 24, 2009, 12:37:33 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Kirk,
Can you give us a time line - how long did it take till you felt you "knew enough to be dangerous" in the AP market?
Time till you felt you had successfully established yourself and calls began to come to you, rather than your having to solicit work?
etc.
Jack

The time line is a touch confused. I have always had a dual career in fine arts photography too. I started AP in 1978 and worked for two years learning the business on contractors (lighting interiors was the hardest), then quit AP and left the country for almost three years to go to graduate school and get an MFA, came back and picked up where I left off-but with more confidence-concentrated then on architects, two years later started shooting for national magazines. So, less the MFA interlude, it took me two years to get marginally competent and 4 years to really get established where work was coming to me. IME magazines are your best advertising in AP. FWIW no one should ever quit "banging on doors" but I haven't done it for many many years. I am not comfortable with it. If someone comes looking for me, I am in the drivers seat. As for billing-I have always had a day rate for architects and magazines, but I do a per shot quote for ad agencies. Regardless, it is only the bottom line and defined reproduction rights that matter to me or my clients.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: JoeKitchen on November 24, 2009, 12:42:59 PM
I got into this two years ago by just opening shop and starting.  At first I wanted to assist, but no one in my area was taking on new assistants and I am not the one to sit on my hands and wait for it to happen, so I just started.  

I began marketing in Nov. of 2007 by sending out 350 postcards to the architects in my area every month, after I created a portfolio and website.  Now I am sending out 1200 every other month to architects and designers in Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore (Philadelphia is nicely situated); I am thinking about changing this next year to once a quarter.  I also send out monthly e-zines but to only those who want to receive them.  Doing this can be a bit interesting, I have found that advertising in my e-zines does more harm then good; so I show one new picture, talk about things I see and read concerning the economy (because that is something I find interesting and studied in college, never be anything other then yourself), I also read a lot on marketing and include something that I read too.  Last, I talk about the projects I have done in the previous month, but talking about it from my clients point of view, giving credit to them, not me.  

In about March of 2008 (waiting for my postcards to start to sink in) I started making promo calls to those architects, creating a hot list of those interested in me, those on the fence, and those who had no interest.  I still marketed to those who said they had no interest, just was not as aggressive (I did eventually get work from a couple of them).  When I call, I ask them if they would like to have a brief portfolio review with me to just go over what I can help them with.  You always want to talk about how you are going to help your clients, they are hiring you for their purposes not yours.  After the meeting is over (and some of them are really short which is not a bad thing; remember they are busy people), I say thank you, leave, mail them a hand written thank you a week later, and then try to follow up with them every other month.  When following up, I never ask for work, just how they are.  I still try to meet with two new people every month.  

Now after two years my name have gotten to the point where just about every architecture firm in Philly has one person who knows who I am and I have started to get jobs based on referrals, actually have one tonight from 6 till 3 in the morning.  The first 10 months I went with out getting a single job from any one in my prospective base, so it was very difficult to keep on this path; the economy did drop though.  But now after 25 months and with the economy coming back to life, I am at the point where I could live off of only my photography work (I am now at 40%), I am still keeping my other jobs like substitute teaching and teaching a class at LaSalle University.    

I am now starting to get into marketing with Linkedin, which most architects are on, and Facebook/Twitter (although the decision makers at firms are not using this site, the future decision makers are).  I am going to make a food portfolio (partly for fun) this winter and thinking of also branching off into travel and hospitality photography as well.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: rsmphoto on November 24, 2009, 02:58:15 PM
Quote from: infocusinc
Just curious, does anyone ever quit banging on doors looking for work, even when you are established?

Yeah, but I've been doing this for 30 years now - national & international. Used to have reps (both in-house and independent), but really don't want/need them anymore. I have many long term clients, some that have been with me since the beginning. That's why I like this business when compared to the ad world. You actually forge meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: David Eichler on November 24, 2009, 03:03:57 PM
Quote from: JoeKitchen
I began marketing in Nov. of 2007 by sending out 350 postcards to the architects in my area every month, after I created a portfolio and website.  Now I am sending out 1200 every other month to architects and designers in Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore (Philadelphia is nicely situated); I am thinking about changing this next year to once a quarter.


1200 postcards every other month.  That is a serious marketing expense. Do you know someone in the printing business?
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 24, 2009, 03:21:39 PM
I recently did a big email campaign to announce the new (ish) website.  It's the only bit of marketing I've ever done.

My impression is that email is more appreciated than postcard, and it's so easy to click through to the website, versus having to type in a url.  Many ecologically minded architects may even perceive the postcards as wasteful.

I'm just sayin'
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: JoeKitchen on November 25, 2009, 03:46:24 AM
Quote from: ZAZ
1200 postcards every other month.  That is a serious marketing expense. Do you know someone in the printing business?
Yes I do and I was always told that in the beginning to be more aggressive so as to get the ball rolling, now though I am planning to drastically cut down, probably more then what I said.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Lust4Life on November 25, 2009, 06:35:02 AM
Joe,

How did you originally put together your mailing list - sources of contacts?

Lot of expense and a chap does not want to be sending a solicitation for AP to a Gynecologist!  

Jack


Quote from: JoeKitchen
Yes I do and I was always told that in the beginning to be more aggressive so as to get the ball rolling, now though I am planning to drastically cut down, probably more then what I said.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: stewarthemley on November 25, 2009, 09:31:21 AM
Email is a great way of getting known but in some countries unsolicited email is illegal. I wonder if people ignore this and send them anyway, and if so, what response they get, or whether they make contact first then send an e.? Before I knew it was illegal, I once sent several e's unsolicited and surprisingly got a positive response. Not brave/silly enough to try it again though.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: stevesanacore on November 25, 2009, 10:06:47 AM
Quote from: PhilipJames
Can I take the conversation back to the day rate versus per shot topic. I have shot in fashion for most of my career and Architecture is a fairly new direction for me so I'm still coming to terms with the best way to price things. Initially I have been working off a day rate but the variation in output varies wildly, i.e. one job may require 5 or 6 shots and another 20+, so I am thinking to have a day rate for 1-10 shots and another for 11 +. Then of course that can fall down a bit if the extra shots required are 1 or 2 rather than 10, so I then thought maybe a day rate for 1-10 and per shot therafter.
Some of the posts have referred to a per shot basis from the outset, how does that work if the client only requires 1 shot (unlikely I know). Also the higher the shot output the more time spent in post production, how is everybody squaring that?

Back in the eighties when I started my architectural photography business, per shot rates were the norm in my area. When I moved into shooting for builders and advertising agencies, day rates worked better for them. Then on to main stream ad work for lifestyle, people, cars, boats etc.... day rates plus usage is the norm.  The bottom line is that it's just a sales game - and you have to adapt your pitch or package to whatever your client is comfortable with. The bottom line should be the same for you.

Examples: (hypothetical rates to protect the innocent)  I usually plan on four shots per day.

Day rate (3500) + crew (750) + digital processing (750) = 5000

Per shot rate - 1250

If you can do 8 shots a day, then just change the division.  All works out the same as I always lock in the number of shots per day on my proposal. I do however often throw in quick alternative shots if time allows. Every job and every client is a bit different in what they expect and what they appreciate.  It's your salesmanship abilities that will bring you success, along with your talents as a photographer.

This seems to be the best solution for me. Like the title of the new Woody Allen film - "Whatever Works"






Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: JoeKitchen on November 25, 2009, 12:15:09 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Joe,

How did you originally put together your mailing list - sources of contacts?

Lot of expense and a chap does not want to be sending a solicitation for AP to a Gynecologist!  

Jack

I originally got the mailing list by going through the website of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA (America Institute of Architects) and over a couple of days copied the addresses onto a data file; a very tedious process, but necessary.  The main website of the AIA will have all of the chapters listed.  

Insofar as a e-mails, you should never e-mail business people on a regular basis who do not want to receive them; you will only be deemed a spamer and be treated as such.  So to start an e-mail list you, after you have sent the prospect some print material, send him an e-mail telling him that you are newly in business, that you will be sending out monthly e-zines, and you would like to know if he would like to receive them?  If he says no or does not reply, you should never try to reach him by e-mail again.  Now when sending e-mails, regardless if they want to be on the list or not, you have to follow the Can-Spam at which states:

1.  In the subject line you must state that it is a ad or promo.  
2.  You must have a opt-out link and remove the person within ten days after he opts-out.  
3.  You must have the physical address of your business in the e-mail.  
4.  If the receiver hits reply, the reply must go to a live e-mail address.  
5.  Your e-mail and the business being promoted in it must be applicable to the person receiving them.  

If you violate any one of these, you can be fined $10,000 for each occurrence or e-mail sent.  

Right now I am morphing from Interruption marketing into Permission marketing which is way I am sending e-mails and using linkedin more, and slowly canceling out my postcards.  I would recommend reading any thing written by Seth Godin and books written by other professional marketers when looking for marketing advice and then applying what you read to the business of photography.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Kirk Gittings on November 25, 2009, 12:42:38 PM
Quote
I originally got the mailing list by going through the website of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA (America Institute of Architects) and over a couple of days copied the addresses onto a data file; a very tedious process, but necessary. The main website of the AIA will have all of the chapters listed.

Many, I think most, AIA Chapters will not display or give out members emails, some sell the lists, some will give them out if you join and become an affiliate, every chapter is different. I did some limited email advertising some years ago on a regular basis, combining both  of my artwork, (updates about shows etc.books being published etc.) and my commercial work (publications, AIA awards that my clients won using my images etc.), but ultimately I decided that it all seemed a bit pushy and desperate. Now being well established, I tend to just let my work speak for itself as most everyone in the business sees it in publications or at AIA design award banquets (which I always attend-something I shot always wins) etc.. If they are interested in what I am up to they can look at my website or give me a call. Besides word of mouth from satisfied clients, and magazine publication, I find website ranking to be key in getting interest from new out of town clients. You must be near the top of the list if some one Googles "architectural photographers XXX (your city or area)".
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: JoeKitchen on November 25, 2009, 12:50:17 PM
Quote from: Kirk Gittings
Many, I think most, AIA Chapters will not display or give out members emails, some sell the lists, some will give them out if you join and become an affiliate.
I was not referring to e-mail addresses, but physical addresses.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Kirk Gittings on November 25, 2009, 12:57:59 PM
Sorry.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: David Eichler on November 25, 2009, 01:19:14 PM
Removed.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: marc gerritsen on November 25, 2009, 05:52:40 PM
every now and then i do a mail out, but they are mostly to old and existing clients
to tell them about my new website or show.
funnily enough there is hardly any cold calling here in asia, everything goes through referrals

i think that this will be my best marketing/promotion  
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....&start=1620 (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=28709&st=1620&start=1620)

although it is still early days to see what the result will be

Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: haefnerphoto on November 25, 2009, 08:36:07 PM
I've created an awareness of my work thru a consistent and pretty agressive direct mail program.  The postcards at first would go out about every month for the first few years of business, now it's more like every three months.  From time to time I'll challenge my market to identify the subject or location of the image and offer lunch for two to the first three correct answers.  I know it sounds strange but it's become fun for everyone involved.  The response to the challenges is fantastic, people get quite excited.  On the last couple of new business presentations the designers could remember a number of the images on the cards, some that go back 3 years!  I was just looking in this machine for an example but they are all at the studio, Friday I'll post a card front and back.  Jim
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 25, 2009, 08:55:01 PM
I like my blog.  My current clients get to see my thoughts on their projects and what else I've been up to.  Prospective clients perusing my portfolio end up there and hopefully see that I'm actually interested in what I'm shooting.  I think it adds something of a more personal element to the website.

The downside is having to keep up with it, and if you haven't shot anything interesting in a while it can be downright boring.

Also, every year I send out an edition of fine art prints to about 50 of my clients with a thank you letter for their business.  I often hear about how they've framed the prints with some dedicating a wall to my images.  I love that!

-C
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Lust4Life on November 28, 2009, 06:02:24 AM
Ashley,

Logical.

Calculating true cost could be a challenge, but one that must be mastered if you are to survive financially.

As soon as I get my SLR TS-E gear I will spend my time, and funds, focused on building a collection of images on existing high end condos here in Naples.  Then see if the owners have any interest in the images.  Images will have limited potential to generate revenue but then can serve purpose of showing to perspective clients in one on one meetings.

I've seen no one post the issue of insurance, other than for your personal gear, isn't that a concern?
What if you are so intense on getting a shot composed correctly in the viewfinder, then you take a step backwards from the viewfinder and step on "fluffy" and break its neck!?  

Jack


Quote from: Yelhsa
The way I see it:
As a commercial photographer, you simply produce & provide images for people to use.

Whether someone asks you to produce some images for them / gives you a list of images they require / commissions you or you shoot freelance - you still finance the shoot and produce the images first.
So you own the images... and therefore the copyright too.

After that, you are simply providing them with those images, for them to use.
The 'licence fee' is therefore based on their usage requirements.

To determine what the 'licence fee' is or needs to be, you need to look at your production costs and take that information into account.

Note: I said your production costs - because you are the one who is going to produce & finance the shoot.
It's not their production costs and so you really don't need to be giving them this information or talking to them about it... unless you are agreeing to work for hire beforehand.

All they are paying you for, is for what they are actually getting from you, at the end of the day i.e. images which they can use.
So you provide them with the images, which they have asked you for, and you charge them a 'Licence fee' for the use of those images.

The 4 main things are: number of images, Media use, Period of use and Territory... which are important to them.
So it's these 4 things that you use to negotiate the fee.

Cheers,
Ashley
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: stewarthemley on November 28, 2009, 08:31:51 AM
Re insurance, I pay about 800 a year for about 25K of gear. I have more gear but only cover the later stuff. Cover is worldwide and seems to be fairly comprehensive. Might find out otherwise if I ever have to claim! (Built in distrust of insurance companies)
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 08:53:28 AM
Quote from: stewarthemley
Re insurance, I pay about 800 a year for about 25K of gear. I have more gear but only cover the later stuff. Cover is worldwide and seems to be fairly comprehensive. Might find out otherwise if I ever have to claim! (Built in distrust of insurance companies)

No liability?  Workers comp?

What do you do when a client asks for COI?
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 08:56:44 AM
Quote from: Yelhsa
The way I see it:
As a commercial photographer, you simply produce & provide images for people to use.

Whether someone asks you to produce some images for them / gives you a list of images they require / commissions you or you shoot freelance - you still finance the shoot and produce the images first.
So you own the images... and therefore the copyright too.

After that, you are simply providing them with those images, for them to use.
The 'licence fee' is therefore based on their usage requirements.

To determine what the 'licence fee' is or needs to be, you need to look at your production costs and take that information into account.

Note: I said your production costs - because you are the one who is going to produce & finance the shoot.
It's not their production costs and so you really don't need to be giving them this information or talking to them about it... unless you are agreeing to work for hire beforehand.

All they are paying you for, is for what they are actually getting from you, at the end of the day i.e. images which they can use.
So you provide them with the images, which they have asked you for, and you charge them a 'Licence fee' for the use of those images.

The 4 main things are: number of images, Media use, Period of use and Territory... which are important to them.
So it's these 4 things that you use to negotiate the fee.

Cheers,
Ashley

Do you bill travel expenses or eat them?
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 28, 2009, 09:02:15 AM
All of my insurance is through State Farm, and my agent is 3 blocks from me.  I like being able to walk over there.  I pay about $700US/Year which covers all of my equipment, rentals and liability up to $1 Million.  I think it's pretty cheap.  My agent is great about providing COI's to rental houses and Building Management Companies.

Yes, you need insurance, but a good agent makes it all easy.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 10:37:25 AM
Quote from: Yelhsa
If you need to travel to produce the images, then it's part of your production costs.
Because you can't provide the images unless you are able to produce them first.

So your basic production costs need to take everything into account.

To work out your basic production costs, these are some of the things you may need to take into account:

1. Pre production time
2. Photography time
3. Post production time
4. Travel Time
5. Retouching
6. Crew / Assistant
7. Stylist / Hair / Make-up
8. DVD & back-up
9. Prints / Contact sheets
10. Insurance
11. Location / Studio fee
12. Props, Wardrobe
13. Rentals
14. Sets / Expendable
15. Courier / P&P
16. Actors / Models
17. Travel / Fuel
18. Miscellaneous

Some of these things may not apply - but this would be my basic check-list, to help me work out my basic costs, before starting to negotiate the fee.
Being in control of these costs and being fully aware of them, is hugely important when it comes to negotiating the licence fee.

Because it's that fee will determine your final budget and it's that budget that will determine what all you can afford to bring to the table - type of camera you use, number of assistants, the amount of time you can afford to spend on the job, etc, etc.

Cheers
Ashley.

Thanks

My standard is
1. Creative fee
2. Stylist
3. Usage fee
4. Digital fee
5. Retouching
6. Travel costs
7. Courior fees, deliverables etc,
8. Props

I don't shoot things that have much in the way of resale value, and the images only have a shelf life of one year for my customers ( they change stuff on a model year).  What I lose in large usage fess I make up by reshooting the photos again the next year.  

I guess it really depends on the market and what they will bear in terms of costs.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 28, 2009, 10:44:50 AM
Question:  I often see Insurance listed in estimate software or in example estimates.  My business insurance covers everything I need.  Are you guys actually insuring each shoot?  Otherwise I can't see why it would be billed back.  I don't ever have to pay anything extra to get a COI when those are requested.

If I billed my clients back for my insurance.... let's see premium divided by jobs per year.... it'd be like 15 bucks a shoot.

Huh.... then again I'm a much better photographer than businessman.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 10:49:24 AM
Quote from: CBarrett
Question:  I often see Insurance listed in estimate software or in example estimates.  My business insurance covers everything I need.  Are you guys actually insuring each shoot?  Otherwise I can't see why it would be billed back.  I don't ever have to pay anything extra to get a COI when those are requested.

If I billed my clients back for my insurance.... let's see premium divided by jobs per year.... it'd be like 15 bucks a shoot.

Huh.... then again I'm a much better photographer than businessman.

I've never done it but then again I might suck as a businessman myself. But then again I think I would get laughed out of the room and out of the job if I attempted to bill my clients directly for my insurance.  
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 01:52:29 PM
Quote from: Yelhsa
Again, it's part of your basic production costs which you need to take into account, before negotiating the fee - it's not a line item or optional extra.

As a self-employed person, you need to be insured... so it's not something that is open to debate - unless they insist that you take out extra cover, over and above what you already have.

Cheers
Ashley


Yes insurance is a must, and not just for your gear, which was my point, just not well expressed.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 01:55:46 PM
Quote from: GBPhoto
I've only had one situation where the standard $1mil liability wasn't enough.  A pharmaceutical research facility with sensitive equipment, and they requested $2mil.  I think it was a $100 line item on the invoice for the extra.

Also, if you haven't seen it, NPPA has a cost of doing business calculator online: CODB Calculator (http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/cdb/cdbcalc.cfm)
You can take the basic idea and make your own spreadsheet to figure your overhead.


The job I'm shooting tomorrow and Monday required 2mil.  Thats my standard policy now, and has been for the last few years.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: bcooter on November 28, 2009, 03:37:03 PM
Quote from: CBarrett
Question:  I often see Insurance listed in estimate software or in example estimates.  My business insurance covers everything I need.  Are you guys actually insuring each shoot?  Otherwise I can't see why it would be billed back.  I don't ever have to pay anything extra to get a COI when those are requested.

If I billed my clients back for my insurance.... let's see premium divided by jobs per year.... it'd be like 15 bucks a shoot.

Huh.... then again I'm a much better photographer than businessman.

I can't imagine going into production without a 2 million dollar insurance bond.

All locations require it and even studios that don't we still cut a bond.  In a lot of years I've only had one client balk at the cost and that client was in Chicago, so maybe you Chicago guys don't like Insurance Companies, just kidding, so for this client I required them to provide the necessary certificate of insurance and we waive all responsibility.  At the end of the day we used our insurance and cut a bond.

Anyway, photography and film production is a crap magnet and anybody looking to score a quick buck is gonna slip and fall on something and a bad slip and fall can be a career and life savings ender.

We're careful, follow the law to the letter, orange cone everything (though two weeks ago somebody stole all our cones that were marking the production vehicles).  Even when shooting kids, even on a small project we have the state mandatory social worker (teacher) cause that's the rules.

This year clients question every line item and some have pulled the numbers way back, but you can cut props, you can cut your fees, but cutting safety and insurance is dangerous.

We just finished a quick retail shoot on the beach and the client now only allows for one assistant and one tech, but you can't fly a 12x rag safely with one assistant or do any kind of medium sized production where your moving a thousand pounds of stuff across the beach with only two people, so rather than take the risk and brutalize the crew I'd rather pay the extra crew out of my pocket.

IMO

BC
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Harold Clark on November 28, 2009, 03:57:07 PM
Quote from: CBarrett
Question:  I often see Insurance listed in estimate software or in example estimates.  My business insurance covers everything I need.  Are you guys actually insuring each shoot?  Otherwise I can't see why it would be billed back.  I don't ever have to pay anything extra to get a COI when those are requested.

If I billed my clients back for my insurance.... let's see premium divided by jobs per year.... it'd be like 15 bucks a shoot.

Huh.... then again I'm a much better photographer than businessman.

I include the insurance in my overhead, the same as cameras, computers etc. It all becomes part of the production cost.

It is interesting you get coverage with State Farm. I have had my cars/house etc insured with them for decades, but they don't have a viable photography policy here, ie. replacement cost/all risks/worldwide. Perhaps they have a different charter for operating in Canada.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 28, 2009, 05:58:07 PM
Quote from: Yelhsa
Go buy something tomorrow and think about it.
 
Cheers,
Ashley

So yeah, I went to Best Buy to get a new flatscreen TV, found the model I liked and was chatting with the salesman and told him I didn't want to pay the portion of the price that goes towards the pension of the teamster that drove the forklift that unloaded the TV from the truck.  I hate this nickel and dime crap.

/sarcasm
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 28, 2009, 08:19:45 PM
Quote from: Yelhsa
Important to you is not the same as important to them.

So what are they going to cut first: stuff that is important to them i.e. images which they can use; or stuff that isn't important to them i.e. your time and your expenses ?
Which are you currently focused on, when talking to them ?

All they are actually paying for, is for the 'use of the images'... images which you will produce & you will provide for them to use.
If they want you to make cuts and / or bring the price down, then you should go back and re-look at your production costs again (important to you) and / or re-look at the 4 things that they are asking for i.e. number of images, Media use, Period of use and Territory (important to them).
 
And that's the very reason why I stopped showing client's a breakdown of MY production costs some years ago.
It's on a 'need to know' bases now and they usually don't 'need to know'.

Go buy something tomorrow and think about it.
 
Cheers,
Ashley

So I thought about it. I decided I want a big screen like CB.  They don't carry the model I want but I can buy it online. They add shipping as a line item to the bill.  I want an extended warranty.  Line item on the bill.  I want someone to deliver it to my door and set it up. Line item on the bill. I move to Canada and use my tv there, no additon charge for out of country usage.  I decide I don't like the tv anymore and sell it to a friend.  No charge for third party sales.  My friend really likes the big screen and uses it for the next 30 years.  No charge for extended usage.

Now some guys might decide to package the cost of the tv, the extra warranty, the geek squad setup and the shipping and delivery into a package price.  Cool, thats their business model.  It's not better or worse than the line item deal, again, just different business models.

So I thought about it. I decided I want a big screen like CB.  They don't carry the model I want but I can buy it online. They add shipping as a line item to the bill.  I want an extended warranty.  Line item on the bill.  I want someone to deliver it to my door and set it up. Line item on the bill. I move to Canada and use my tv there, no additon charge for out of country usage.  I decide I don't like the tv anymore and sell it to a friend.  No charge for third party sales.  My friend really likes the big screen and uses it for the next 30 years.  No charge for extended usage.

Now some guys might decide to package the cost of the tv, the extra warranty, the geek squad setup and the shipping and delivery into a package price.  Cool, thats their business model.  It's not better or worse than the line item deal, again, just different business models.
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: garytimms on November 29, 2009, 08:26:46 AM
there are some wonderful satirical youtube clips on client relationships, that probably are relevant to this thread, that had me laughing...

The language is strong so if they are unacceptable.. then I apologise ( I'll probably get banned.. )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2KbQsdj5VY...feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2KbQsdj5VY&feature=related)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu1C6PowUjY...feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu1C6PowUjY&feature=related)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QeSm2CHN6k...feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QeSm2CHN6k&feature=related)


Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 29, 2009, 08:59:35 AM
Quote from: Yelhsa
Yes - would agree.

You can of course go on-line and buy generic images from a Stock Library, such as Getty or Alamy.
You can buy Rights Managed images or you can buy Royalty Free images.
There will be optional extras available, if you want them - most companies offer such things.
But optional extras are not the same as their production costs.

They sell the images based on the things that are important to you - the client - not based on the things that are important to them.

Cheers,
Ashley.

No, they rent images, in all but a select few instances..  But thats beside the point.  

You seem to believe that productions costs are yours, and you hide them from the client.  You send them an invoice as a lump sum.  Again all fine.

I prefer to let the client know what they are paying for, and in fact mine want it that way.  Again all fine.

It's just two different paths to the same end.

Just curious how many here use line item billing or lump sum?


Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: CBarrett on November 29, 2009, 10:14:44 AM
This is about as "line item" as I get:

We spent X days making X photos.  Please send me XXX money and please don't take XXXXXXX.

Thanks for your business,

XOXOX
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: Craig Lamson on November 29, 2009, 10:14:50 AM
Quote from: Yelhsa
Interesting!!

So do you 'work for hire' and / or sign over the copyright of your images then ?

Personally I prefer to produce & provide images for people to use, retain the copyright and charge a 'Licence fee' for the use of the images.

Each to their own I guess.

Cheers,
Ashley

How in the world did you get to work for hire?  Interesting indeed.

Lets just leave it at this.  You have your method, and it works well for you.  Wonderful.




 
Title: Becoming a great Architectural Photographer!? PART 3
Post by: PhilipJames on November 30, 2009, 07:43:59 AM
Quote from: Yelhsa
We use the Association of Photographer's guidelines and the Base Usage Rate (BUR) system, which I explain on my web-site:

A typical Quote, under the part stating - Description of Services / Media use / Period of use / Territory - would read like so:

To produce & provide (number) images of (subject) at (location).
For exclusive use, for (client's name) to use for:-
Media Use: list what has been agreed.
Period of Use: state what has been agreed (ends: date).
Territory: state what has been agreed.
(BUR: ... per image)
Licence fee based on the above: (BUR +/- % multiplied by number of images).

It's not a case of hiding stuff from the clients, it's a case of clearly stating what all they are going to actually get, for the fee i.e. images which they can use.
Nothing else matters to them.

How long it takes to produce the images, my expenses, the number of people at the shoot, the type of camera I use, whether I use lights or don't use lights, what type of car I drive, whether I stay in a 5 star hotel or a B&B, the number of hours I spend retouching images, etc, etc, is not important to them. Because they don't actually get any of these things... these are just things which I need to take into account, when working out what the fee needs to be, for me to be able to produce & provide the images they have asked for.

So going back to James' point, about needing 2 assistants:
Why ask the client about this or present it like it was an option ?
It clearly is not an option, as far as he is concerned - he needs 2 assistants to produce the images and to provide them with the images they have asked for. It's therefore his business, not their business, to make that call... and they really don't need to know about it.

IMO

Cheers,
Ashley.


At the outset I have to admit some blindness on the BUR system, you have obviously cracked it and got it working perfectly for your needs.  I'm not intending to criticise, just trying to understand.
Reading through it, if I was the client I would have left after the first couple of paragraphs, nearly all people I deal with just want to know the bottom line. From a photographers point of view it makes perfect sense, but you know that glazed look in someones eyes when they don't understand or have any interest in the buzz phrases we use? More than one client has used the comparison "when I employ a plumber" i.e. when have you ever heard a plumber talk about how many spanners, what size, and how many times will you turn the tap on in future?
The breakdown on your site still implies a charge for time, Pre production time, Photography time, Post production time, Travel Time so there must be a an hourly rate in the equation somewhere, what is that based on? I'm not sure I understand how it all applies if the brief is for 2 shots only (for the sake of discussion)?
What kind of response do you get from clients when you explain the breakdown to them? or do you not?
Once again my aim is not criticism as I would love to employ a similar system, I just need to really understand it and that my clients will get it.

Many thanks
Philip