3 years ago

Advertising photography: How to estimate an advertising photo shoot

Here’s what my preliminary estimate looks like for this shoot. Get as detailed as you can in your description of the shots as well as what you project your fixed cost to be: crew, talent, locations, food, parking, tolls, …

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The estimate for this advertising gig will be the basis of the production book that goes into even more details (check next weeks post for what all is included in that book). Your bid should reflect all the options you’ve discussed with the client. The most important part of this process, is to communicate with your client. During the planning of this advertising shoot, I found out that the particular beach we loved, had an extra fee that the owner charged us for getting onto it before sunrise. Here’s a tip: Send a quick email to the client and include a solution (or two), in case that the extra expense blows their budget. I wrote something like: “I love this beach and I think it’s perfect for our photos, however in order to get the shot at sunrise, we need to pay an additional $x. If that’s too much, we can go to the public beach down the street or we can save the same amount by (be specific where you can save money in the budget). What do you think.

Clients hate surprises. Can you imagine not discussing this with them and then presenting a bill that was a couple hundred dollars higher than the estimate? That’s a great way to not get hired again.


Once the budget for the shoot gets approved, it’s time to scout, cast, plan, visualize, book, schedule and much more. Read about How to find the perfect spot for your ad next

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