First of all, there is no get rich quick scheme involved. What this entails is a good amount of careful pricing research and negotiation.

How this all started was one photographer’s personal project that was sent as a promotional mailer to an ad agency who happened to be in the process of revamping one of their most recognizable ad campaigns, a revision that happens to be very similar to that photographer’s personal project.

Yes, personal projects can land you huge jobs, and so does marketing your work in physical form.

In‘s real life example on how to price and negotiate a large advertising shoot, Craig Oppenheimer, Producer for Wonderful Machine, explains in great detail about how one of his photographer was contacted by an ad agency looking to update one of their campaigns with a well-known celebrity. As stated above, the photographer’s promo mailer matches the concept that they are looking to do. After the initial call, the ad agency requested an estimate.

Here is the basis of the shoot, as explained by Craig:

“The project would involve 2 days of photographing a celebrity spokesperson interacting with various props and products in a West Coast studio. The agency was hoping to cover 5 situations per day, including very specific but subtle variations within each situation. These variations were intended to create a range of expressions and angles from which the agency and client would choose their final selects. The shot list for day 2 was almost identical to day 1, except it consisted of shooting against a different background (at the same studio), which was still to be determined based on further creative direction.”

Here is the licensing language that the ad agency’s art buyer wants in the estimate:

“All print media now known or hereafter invented (to include, but not limited to consumer newspaper, industrial, in-store, direct mail, brochures and any other collateral material, out-of-home (to include but not limited to billboards, bus shelters, wild postings, kiosks, wall murals, window signage and display work), electronic media (to include but not be limited to worldwide web and client brand portal archiving)”

Although the art buyer wants 10 images, she wants the license to include all the images captured. There are 10 situations total, and the images would be variations of each situation. Licensing period would be 1 year in the US and Puerto Rico.

There is definitely a lot to digest here, but it’s great to see the process of the producer in regards to coming up with the estimate based on several different pricing guides, Blink Bid, fotoQuote, and Getty Images.
While the thought of licensing the first image at $20,000 sounds staggering to normal photographers, it is in line with the scope of the licensing terms. Adding the 10 image selects altogether for 1 year amounts to $110,000.00.

Once everything else is added up (assistants, digital tech, studio space, equipment, etc.), the first estimate is $126,050.00.

But it doesn’t end there. There were several back and forth between the art buyer and Craig, as well as a request to use a different higher end studio and an introduction of some competition. To see what the final figures ended up being, be sure to read the original article. It is a bit long, but you really learn a lot in regards to negotiating at that commercial level. And yes, having a capable producer who can take care of the business end in order for us photographers to focus on the creative end really does help.

Read on the article in detail on Pricing & Negotiating: Spokesperson Advertising Shoot