I'm loving the bidding posts on APhotoEditor! Wanna see how a well regarded photographer bids corporate jobs?

Tune in here: http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2014/08/11/pricing-and-negotiating-executive-portraits-for-a-large-agency/

Wonderful Machine ( a repping and photographer consulting firm) opens the trench coat to reveal a bid for a large, east coast, advertising agency who needed to hire a photographer to make executive portraits exactly the best way possible.

I'm both a little jealous by the wonderful-ness of the job but I am also more motivated (after reading) to make sure that my fees go up year after year and my tolerance for budget jobs goes down year after year.

The actual posted bid is the most interesting part of the article but it's sure nice to also see the thought process....

Come back here and let me know what you think in the comments!

Kirk (who is currently pricing too low!) Tuck.


Mark Davidson said...

I have read APE's bid posts for some time now. While they have given me a lot of guidance in bidding and pricing I have to acknowledge they work in a world where very one wears agency goggles.

In this world the idea of itemizing and billing for everything is a matter of course. Also, all the players in this drama are using other people's money. As a consequence the numbers with many zeroes do not affect them much but they are sensitive to usage constraints.
My client base are mid-sized companies with national coverage and offices. While they spend large sums on all their marketing they would have a stroke if I suggested rates close to these.
As they have offices all over the country, they asked me for a bid to shoot head shots for their Seattle office and add in a day trip to their Portland Or office. I am in So Cal and the bid I submitted was less than half of this example quote and they decided to use a local photographer.
I do want to list "groomer" on an invoice one day but I'm sure they will ask me to comb my own hair.

Kirk Tuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Tuck said...

There was a comment that came in right after Mark's and I accidentally erased it ( or moderated it out of existence) without meaning to. Ben interrupted me mid click and I went into auto pilot. If you'd like to re-post I just wanted to let you know that it wasn't supposed to be declined and I apologize.

One more thing, That post assumed that the bid in the post was one of mine. I can only say, "I WISH." My experience, working in a regional market, directly for most clients, has been very similar to Mark's and I too wish I could add the use of a "groomer" to my bids.

It is good to see what the advertising agencies are paying because it is good negotiating ammunition for us to use and it doesn't push corporate clients (who hire the agencies) from another side....

David Zivic said...

I think, in the new economy 6 figure photo shoots might not be in the corporate budgets. The 20 grand for that work might represent the new normal. But don't sell yourself short. When I was younger I did custom woodworking and I often got the job based on my reputation and I interview well, even though I wasn't always the lowest bidder.

Now I am a Yacht Broker and holding the full commission is a constant battle.

Being a prosumer and not a working professional I got tired of lugging around my Nikon D200 and D700 that were the size of small transmissions and their accompanying users manuals as thick as a phone book. Being left eyed I waited for mirrorless camera that had a center viewfinder, full frame sensor and interchangeable lenses. So when Sony announced the A7r I was all in. I got an adapter for my heritage Nikon lenses, all primes with aperture ring right there on the lens. manual focus BTW. I did purchase a Zeiss 55mm prime with EF mount and it does have
AF. So after my purchase imagine my surprise when one of my favorite bloggers does a review and totally trashes my new $3300 investment. I actually removed VSL from my favorites bar…..then after a couple of weeks I realized my photography style is totally different from the Tuckmeister. I don't need long battery life, with a 40 year history of Nikons I don't think the shutter noise is too loud, and I have learned to live with slow start up and rebooting times. I also now pay more attention to the holding a camera firm and still disciplines. I love using manual focus, aperture ring prime lenses and on my "poor mans Leica" I walk around looking for that "defining moment". I enjoy this site, TOP, and Luminous Landscape. I miss Shutteringer.

Doug said...

I'll agree that I've found those quotes a bit on the high side, but disagree completely against the idea that line iteming is a bad idea. It's a GREAT idea, and something I've been doing for my regional clients (like you Kirk, direct for clients) for the last few years.

I've found clients appreciate knowing exaclty how their money is being spent, where they might be able to eliminate things and save (I always include hair and makeup in initial quotes, and 90% of the time the client takes it out).

Last year I even landed a job that I was the most expensive photographer for because my bid itemized everything. The other photographer's quote said, "Photography, $5,000" - which for many reasons, looked like he pulled a number out of the air.

Carlo Santin said...

An interesting read even though I have no interest in photography as a career. I'm pretty sure in the corporate world non-photography related bids are itemized in a very similar fashion, line by line and item by item. Accounting departments need that kind of break down. I didn't find the fees outrageous. Ever have a plumber come to the house? I replaced my furnace last week and I'll be smarting from that experience for a while, but I can't live without a furnace and I want the job done properly. Getting Bob who works in shipping to do the portraits because he has a DSLR isn't going to give you the results you need to successfully market your business.

Mark Davidson said...

My comments were not meant to disparage the use of itemization. Rather I was noting the KIND of items in the list.
The actual fee flowing to the photographer is very reasonable but it is items such as "equipment rental" that ticks off clients who presume that a photographer would own the basic items.
I can assure you that most would raise an eyebrow if your furnace replacement had a line item for "tool rental" when the guy drove up in a van that looked like a Snap-On" showroom.
My experience is that many things that an agent and an ad agency can agree on are not what a client will agree to when they get a bid.
The offices of my clients would be filled with shrieks of laughter if I listed an RV as a staging area or if I had catered meals on the list. Sure, they could delete them but they would never get that far as they would conclude that I am delusional.
But this is an excellent illustration of where we can be more aware of OUR costs before submitting a bid. The artful presentation of the parameters and cost centers of a project can move us to a better revenue picture while educating clients as to what goes into a professional photo shoot.
We will know we have arrived when "Groomer" is a standard item on our list.