How many people here have clients who can cut $18,000 deals per single photo? Must be nice!
There's another side to this. I can from personal experience tell you stories about photographers and artists who were deleted from the roster because of perceived gouging or of simply seeming to be "on the high end." That happens most frequently when artists are dealing with junior executive contacts who understand published pricing guides better than artistic worth. People skills and direct contact with the creative cadre, and preferably also with somebody rather high in the executive suite, are essential in these matters. You need champions within the client's ranks to make the big deals. Networking, yeah!
That's the best bit of business information I've read here yet. It was the basis for my entire later career: short of dealing with the right people you met only those junior ones who lived in fear of spending money. The same factor was also my death with a particular very good fashion client: he was a top gun in a Scottish fashion chain and then moved to Ireland to rescue a retailer there (in the same group) that was struggling. From the moment he left town the doors closed for me: the replacement, a chap who'd hung around on the management periphery, panicked and wouldn't commission work; no-one
took over from me; the work simply ceased immediately.
It was very much top-led with my calendars too: working at director level gave me people who could confidently say yea or nay by themselves. Again, I lost a very valuable client because of the change in management responsibilities: from dealing with the Marketing Director for several years I was finally confronted with a change that led me to having to deal with the PR Manager, a guy who insisted in using local girls for the calendar rather than follow the habit of using the ones from the London pool, where all the talent really lay. Inevitably, disaster for me. I took the fall, despite having voiced serious warnings about the folly. In fact, I think it was the fact that I opposed the chap's ideas that led to the loss of the contract after those six or seven years of nice productions. Small guys don't understand much of anything beyond their home town. Worse, they are not aware of how little they know.
That's why, in the end, you see the top guns work for many years in the top magazines etc. They know the right people and as long as they deliver, they keep the work. And why not? Both sides need the assurance that things will go well.