Contracts And Collaboration
So my clients are generally architects, interior designers, or hoteliers. They have an agenda, they have an idea. They're hiring you because they need something. Okay, so you have to ask them or you have to have an understanding what is it that they need? And you should give a nod to that at the beginning of the shoot and ask them what it is they need. Why are we here? And you may already have a strong idea going into it, but work with them, talk about the spaces you're gonna cover, ask them if that's right. Especially for the hotelier, well for all buildings in architecture, the building has program. So different spaces have different functions. So for an architect or for a hotelier, they're gonna want to talk about they program. They're gonna want to express what that program is. So where do people work, where do they enter, where do they circulate, where do they relax? In a hotel, there's some obvious ones. There's the spas, there's the restaurants, there's the room, there's the lob...
by, there's reception, there's the concierge on the outside, there's other spaces. There's convention centers possibly, so there's business centers. So it's all part of the program of the building of the business. You want them to know that you understand. You should not necessarily know what the program of that building is, but you should know the idea of that buildings have a program, and ask them, talk to them. Which parts of the program do you want to get here? Language is important in communicating. So for an architect or an interior designer, it's really helpful if you understand something about their business. So learning vocabulary is important. To know the difference between a settee and a sofa. To know something a little bit about periods of design history whether it's art deco or modernism or Victorian or gothic, it goes a long way. That takes a long time to learn all that but to show that you're inquisitive and interested and that you get it, you're sensitive to it, and if you show that they're gonna show it back and they're gonna teach you and they're gonna feel comfortable talking about it, and they're gonna view you as part of their team and someone worthwhile to work with. A lot of what I shoot is residential work. You're going into people's homes, you're a stranger, they're concerned. I'd be concerned if it was my home. Many buildings more and more increasingly require a certificate of insurance. So you have to be insured, and your insurance agent will be able to provide you with a certification of insurance specific to that space that you're shooting in. Typically you need a blanket coverage of two to $5 million. It's not a lot more expensive whether it's five million or two million. Mine is a $5 million blanket. You can't really be in business without it. If it's a residence I always ask my client if the homeowner is gonna be home. If it's many buildings, we'll have a freight entrance that you're required to go in through. Many buildings will have hours between which you can work. If it's a homeowner, they may not want you there until nine o'clock at the earliest. I like to start my shoots at 8:00 a.m. I generally base my shoot on a 10 hour day, and some of the days can get very long. So my personal philosophy is to be willing to go more than 10 hours. It's really kind of critical to finish up shooting architecture or an interior with some sunset shots and some dusk shots, magic hour where the interior lighting is on and there's some light in the exterior. People love it. It's the sexiest shot of the day. To walk away before you can do that, it's a mistake. You gonna want it, they're gonna want it. It's gonna be good for your portfolio. When it comes to shoots on assignment, I'm shooting people's homes, I try to get a location release. It's a good idea anyway in case a client changes their mind or I don't want it to be published, well, you've already said that you wanted it to be published. Of course, you don't want to push that too hard if they really don't want it to be published. You don't want to force it. But it's good to have that. But also very, very important, if you want that photograph to be reused, you try to monetize that photograph a little more, you're gonna need permission from the homeowner. And it's more difficult to go back and get it than it is to do it up front. Sometimes you can have it in your contract that it's just part of the deposit and the return of the signed contract, and that in a way is the easiest way to do it, and I encourage you to try to do that. We just touched upon one thing in a contract, so for me the contract is the estimate. The estimate has the cost estimate on it and it has the terms, what's the penalty for cancellations, what is the over under, you know. Is it gonna be within 10% or within 20%? What is the usage rights? How can the image be used and who can use it? So all those things need to be specified and limited. So it can't be that anybody can use it forever for any purpose. That's you've lost your photograph. So time, who, and where? So for example, there could be more than one possible client on the shoot. So you're shooting a building, well there's the interior designer, there's the architect, there's the manufacturer of all those things in that space. It could be the windows, it could be the rugs, it could be the furniture, and endless, the bedding. So it's possible, and very often in fact for me, that I arrange for all those people to use the photographs and they each pay a little more. For me I set it up that it's an extra 10 or 20% per additional user on top of the fee. And that works out very well. It's a very economic system. You get paid more, but since they're dividing it up, let's say there's three people, let's say the fee is $5,000, and the expenses are $5,000, so it's 10% on top of the fees. So that's an extra $500, so now the whole cost is $5,500 plus $5,000, you're at $10, but it's being divided by two. So it works out really for them, and people like it. You get more and they get more. It's also possible though that there's usage after the shoots. You know someone didn't come in at the beginning, but they want access to the photographs. Well the more a photograph is used, the more valuable it is, and you should be compensated as such. Is there more people using the shot? You should get paid more. Is there more usage of the shot? Is it appearing in more places? You should get paid more. Is it being used for a longer period of time? You should get paid more. So you have to educate yourself. We can get into that in another point in time, but I can't stress enough how important it is to educate yourself in the business of being a photographer. It's a business, you're an artist, but you're in business.