pricing construction progress & architectural photography
After 20-odd years I'm getting out of designing & custom building computer systems and going back full time to my first love - photography. A field I worked in for 25 years prior to getting side-tracked with high technology.
I've been shooting editorial assignments as well as portraits and publicity for local theater groups and on-set production stills for films being shot in the Atlanta area. I hope to use this work to start shooting portfolios for models & actors.
But recently a large construction firm in the area contacted me to supply them with on-going photography of construction projects. Plus they would like me to photograph finished projects. They would like to use the photographs of finished projects for trade show exhibits, advertising and their web site.
I am thinking of a multi-tier pricing structure:
$350 assignment fee up to 4 hours (some people refer to this as a "show up" fee) with only web site rights included. Other rights to be negotiated when needed.
+ a per-view-requested fee to photograph the construction progress
A. $95 35mm or digital coverage
B. $195 for medium format or 4x5 work
Included with either is one digital "Master Image" file selected from all I may create that day with basic Photoshop clean-up applied (about 10 minutes).
$75/hour post-production time for editing, filing, working with lab, etc.
+ film, processing, scans, etc. but no rights transferred
+ $75/hour Photoshop time for more extensive digital work
I'm of the opinion the coverage of finished projects should all be on 4x5 in order to get the best possible images.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Am I too high/low?
Should I simplify this structure?
Since this is a fairly large construction firm they should be able to afford reasonable fees for professional work.
(I hope this is the correct forum for discussions of this nature. Sorry if it is not.)
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Some of my still photographs on the set of the upcoming film "Psychopathia Sexualis" may be seen at: www.psychopathia.com
I don't feel qualified to comment on most of your questions, but as no-one else has answered yet I'll offer some thoughts which may or may not be relevant. My photographic involvement on construction projects is fairly peripheral, and my contact comes mainly from me asking permission to take photos, and only a little from being hired to take photos or movies.
Progress photos and videos are becoming part of the contract* on large jobs, and there may be conditions about the number per week, file type and size (modest), and presentation (digital and paper) - these appear to be heavily biased towards digital capture and storage. You could be competing against a graduate or assistant engineer staff member, for example, who happens to be interested in photography and who appears to cost the company less than you do. If you need to be escorted on site by a competent staff member then that makes you appear less attractive to the site guys, but other departments probably won't consider it. You need to charge whatever makes it worthwhile for you, of course. You would need to clarify the terms under which you would get any necessary safety or site awareness training (you pay them / they pay you / nobody pays).
Photos for presentations and brochures etc are a very different matter. Photos of prestigious or interesting projects may be widely reproduced, so there is a balance between initial fee and reproduction fee, with the ownership of the rights and your willingness to police the reproduction of your snaps to be considered in there.
QA Photos have done very well in this field, having made a name for themselves by working on the Channel Tunnel. There's a lot that a good photographer can offer to construction projects and it is worth thinking big. For example, time-lapse photography is easier than ever and the results seem to go down well. Hey, a time-lapse movie of a top-down construction job could be the next great piece of conceptual art.
* often in the Engineer's or Architect's contract, not always the Contractor's.