600 portraits over 2 years - fee and logistics?

Started Jul 12, 2011 | Discussions thread
iancrowe
Senior MemberPosts: 1,072
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Re: 600 portraits over 2 years - fee and logistics?
In reply to highlandlass2, Oct 10, 2011

highlandlass2 wrote:

Thank you everyone for your insightful replies. After much thought and reading all your suggestions, I think we're going to have to go with the option of setting up a studio indoors at the HQ and inviting everyone to come and be photographed over the two year period. So I'd still have to be available but it would decrease the travelling element and therefore the cost.

Throw all the logistics back onto the organisation. It takes place at their headquarters, they organise getting the people there at the right time on the right day. Your job is to turn up and photograph the people. That way they automatically pay for no shows etc. because they have to book you for another session.

I'm going to have to do a crash course in the use of flash and buy a good light setup - any tips would be most welcome.

Get your setup as soon as the deal has been signed (you will get something in writing won't you!!!) and practice, practice, practice. By the time you get to your first session you want to be able to set up and adjust the lighting for each subject quickly and easily. Ensure you get the image you want straight out of the camera for absolute minimum post processing. Shoot tethered and tag the image with at least a name and a town. With an organisation scattered across the UK no one is going to know who everybody is so it is vital for organisational purposes that you can identify every image. In a group of 570 you are likely to get identical names coming up hence name and town. You may well want to factor in an assistant/test subject to handle this, juggle props and liaise with the person doing the organisation.

Say I could get small groups to come together, probably of an evening or a weekend, what would be a feasible amount to do in a "session" ? Obviously everyone can't wait around for hours, even if it is a social get-together. I think 2-3 hours would be the most folk would be prepared to do. With this in mind, how many people can I hope to photograph in those 2-3 hours ? I hope to avoid a 'production line' feeling and at least be able to let the subjects relax.

If you want to avoid that "production line" feeling then you are only going to have to dedicate 15-20min/person that means 3-4 people/hr or 9-12 per session.

I might still need to do individual shoots and on-location shoots, but the fewer the better.

Make sure the organisation understands that these are going to be expensive. You will spend at least an hour and a half on-site scouting a suitable location, setting up, photographing and socialising with the subject. Then there is the cost of travel (budget at £0.40/mile ($0.60/mile) which is the AA standard running cost for a medium sized car) and the cost of your travelling time. For travelling time estimate 40mph (less if it involves lots of time in cities) and charge an hourly rate for your time (your call on the hourly rate, but a mechanic costs about £40 ($60) and I think you're worth at least that and while you're driving there there's nothing much else you can be doing so it's time chargeable to them).

Given that there are 570 people, I obviously need to factor in a discount, at least how the client sees it.

Say a single person was £50 ($75) (to include my travel to and from the HQ), how much would you therefore make the group session ?

I would say a single person would come out at £75-100 ($115-155) + expenses (and the expenses could be a lot, a 100 mile round trip is £40 + 2.5hrs travelling time). An £800 ($1240) session fee which gets them 9-12 portraits is a pretty good discount. You might want to negotiate a discount if only 4 people turn up but remember you still have to cover the costs of getting there (and your assistant if you choose to use one), setting up and breaking down regardless of how many people you shoot.

Presumably it would be better to charge a daily rate / session rate rather than a per person rate ? Would you then add on a daily rate for however long editing took ?

That is going to take some thinking about. You're not very clear about the book that headquarters wants but is sounds like an archival record for an anniversary. At 6x4 i.e. two images per page side you will need 143 pages or two books with 72 pages each (double this if they want 10x8). Each one will have to be sized for print and annotated in some way (a script which embeds the data you tagged them with into the bottom right of each portrait would be the easiest way). Assuming you get the photos right in camera it is only a case of resizing and sharpening for target format i.e. Book, Web or individual print (no embedded text).

Does this all sound workable ?

Workable (hard work but workable) yes. As to whether the customer will pay for it is another question. If you average 10 people per session and only have 20 where you have to go shoot on location. You're looking at 55 sessions at £800 each = £44,000 ($68,000) plus those holdouts are going to be the ones furtherest away from HQ so you're looking at at least a day each for those 20 say an average of £500 for each of those is another £1,000 ($1,550). Assume it takes 3min/portrait to download, select and process that is 29hrs of processing at mechanics rate that equals £1,160 ($1,798). Throw in another £500 ($755) for the books. The project price comes to about £46,500 ($72,000) or roughly £23,000/year less your expenses and the cost of the assistant (55 x 4.5hrs x £10/hr) £2,475 assuming you pay the assistant cash in hand. That doesn't allow any administration time and there will be plenty, you're well into the range where the Tax man takes an interest.

Over the project you will be looking at 75+ days of shooting time plus at least 3 days of processing time.

I think it's going to be a hard sell to the customer. If you cut the price down you are going to end up working for peanuts.

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