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Author Topic: Coming up with concepts for the client  (Read 3092 times)

Graham Mitchell

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Coming up with concepts for the client
« on: November 16, 2012, 06:36:02 AM »

I've been asked by yet another company to come up with some ideas for a shoot. This time for 12 airline magazine covers. This happens a lot and I always have a bad feeling about it. "Coming up with an idea" sounds simple enough but really coming up with a few creative concepts and preparing visuals to communicate them is often more time-consuming than the photography itself, and there is never any guarantee that you will even get the photography job. If you say no, or try to charge the client for your creative input, I doubt you'd hear from the client again. I've even had advertising agencies do this to me - basically asking me to do their job for them, for free!

How does everyone else handle this?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 06:38:07 AM by Graham Mitchell »
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 09:38:15 AM »

You are being asked to be a creative consultant. Have you worked with this client before? Do you trust them? Ideas are worth money ask what kind of consulting/creative fee  fee they are willing to pay for the conceptualization.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.

Graham Mitchell

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 09:40:41 AM »

I know that's how it SHOULD work but I'm 99% sure they would think that *I* am the crazy one for even asking. Most of these people don't even know what an image license is, even at marketing departments of international companies.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 01:58:52 PM »

So you haven't worked with them before?
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Ellis Vener
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louoates

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 07:42:35 PM »

Work for nothing and that's all the work you'll get. C'mon, get real. That client knows full well that he's asking you to work for nothing. You're response EVERY TIME should be, "I'd love to do that, here is an estimate of each of my services." Put it back into his/her court regarding the work to be paid for.
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Graham Mitchell

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 07:39:43 AM »

So you haven't worked with them before?

no
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Graham Mitchell

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 07:44:38 AM »

You're response EVERY TIME should be, "I'd love to do that, here is an estimate of each of my services."

But if they have approached 3 photographers with the same request (which they probably have) then you are just eliminating yourself from consideration.
I suppose it's a lot like a pitch situation. Some companies refuse to do it and miss out on the chance to land some big accounts. Some participate in pitches and get nothing out of it.
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petermfiore

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 09:12:04 AM »

I have faced this situation many times over the 28 years I was an illustrator, always with a disastrous outcome. Think of all the possible ways that you can be taken advantage of and then multiply by ten. Explain that you are a professional and you need to be compensated for your work, just as they would require for themselves. Once you do that, they will move on to someone else who doesn't have any business sense. You are doing their work for them for Free. If you choose to comply and manage to get the job, just think how they will treat you at that point. If you don't respect your time, no one else will.

Peter

If you eliminate yourself from the competition, get down on your knees and that you luck stars. You have dodged a bullet.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 09:25:52 AM by petermfiore »
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Colorado David

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 11:18:21 AM »

There were a group of clients here who would send out a request for proposals.  The specifications were very specific and required some fairly complete creative for your proposal to be included for consideration.  Then they would pick the creative they liked the best and choose the lowest priced vendor to complete the work, all managed with an iron fist.  If confronted with the facts of what they'd done they would fein humility, beg forgiveness, continue the campaign and eliminate the whistle blower from any future business, which turned out to be a blessing.  That way you would only have to do free work and get screwed that one time.

Schewe

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 03:14:00 PM »

I suppose it's a lot like a pitch situation.

That's exactly what it is...and how you deal with it will tell the client volumes. First off, you have to ask yourself if the "project" is something you would like to do. If not, decline politely saying your busy schedule doesn't allow you the time to participate but you would be happy to consider a future project if your schedule frees up in the future.

If you decide it's something you do want to do (meaning you've got nothing else going on and it would at least give you the chance for getting a new client), set some ground rules...clients are always looking for way to do more and spend less. If you can come up with a creative way of doing so, you may have an advantage against your competition. Back when I did advertising work, my ability to create my own model props and build sets was a competitive advantage...I could come up with creative solutions that leveraged my own skill-set that other photographers didn't have.

If the client is simply looking for "free" creative ideas that they will then have their chosen photographer execute, I agree it would be very unlikely that you'll end up with the job...in which case, ask yourself can it be a useful learning experience? If so, play the game. If not, decline politely saying your busy schedule doesn't allow you the time to participate but you would be happy to consider a future project if your schedule frees up in the future.

The bottom line is, is there anything in it for you? If so, give it a shot...if not then decline politely saying your busy schedule doesn't allow you the time to participate but you would be happy to consider a future project if your schedule frees up in the future. Notice I keep coming back to that phrase...no need to burn any bridges that you may sometime want to cross.
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LenR

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2012, 05:09:39 PM »

When an agency is invited to pitch an account they are told up front how much money is on the table.  Based on that the agency can decide if they want to pitch it or not.
How much money is on your clients table?

OTOH: I can imagine coming up with a theme for a years' worth of covers could be a great opportunity.
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louoates

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Re: Coming up with concepts for the client
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2012, 07:00:17 PM »

When an agency is invited to pitch an account they are told up front how much money is on the table.  Based on that the agency can decide if they want to pitch it or not.
How much money is on your clients table?

OTOH: I can imagine coming up with a theme for a years' worth of covers could be a great opportunity.

The agency advertising pitch is a very different animal. It's a budgeted expenditure with a huge upside. And both sides know the rules regarding business potential and concept protection (including legal documentation). Few photographers have those financial resources or can afford to spend the time at that level.
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