The Biz: Archiving and Bidding
but always remember things change. You know, im referenced magazines because that is my frame of reference for many, many years. You may love the magazine. The magazine doesn't love you back. It's an institution. You know, The people may be very fond of you, you know, but they're gonna move on, you know. And so look at these magazines. The American addition to Geo Newsweek. Life travel, holiday. They're all gone. Who is still standing? Scruffy little freelancer. You know, those big, powerful institutions are all gone. Okay, We're still out here fighting the good fight because we love to do this so much. And we're resilient for Tarver's are very resilient creatures. Okay, we roll with the punch. How many folks here have lost clients at somebody hiring you like crazy? And then all of a sudden, moved on, right? Got fired, Doug, Whatever. Whatever they did moved on, and they don't use you anymore, Okay? It's the process. You go through, um, and that leads you to being very very, um, carefu...
l, you know, with your archive. Okay, because that becomes, um, home base in lots of ways and passive income. I can't emphasize enough how much passive income is an important aspect of any photographers life and that can come from. Maybe if you've done a book, you have royalties. Many, many years ago, we started sending images to the image Bank is getting used to be called and then get he became. This year there were many types of stock houses back in the day. Um, but we're still with Getty, and we still submit to them occasionally. Not as much as we used to be. Everything has become such a legal hoop jumping exercise because there has to be certain kinds of releases on this and that. There's recognizability issues, all kinds of things, but, uh, the images that we have submitted I think we have about maybe 1600 images with Getty, which is a fairly good sized library. But some other photographers have 30,000. You know. Some people will shoot specifically for stock and submit to Getty. Getty also has their own stock shooters now, so they go out and create archives for them. But it's definitely been a very valuable receivable for us. Some months, not a whole lot other months, depending a lot, so that that's why if you know the value of your archive. There have been certain images that we've just always been amazed by. Do we include the well? And so there is Wilma now Wilma actually has not been submitted to getting his Wilma with such a hot ticket that she remained with us still. But when the shoot was over and we had all the material and it was then, ah, the embargo was lifted from the geographic because there's certain period time you can't, you know, send your images out. Um, we were getting all kinds of calls and the emails and requests to use Wilma every picture that ran and then others. And and she's this woman has really worked it for us. Incredibly. She's been a fantastic source of odd revenue. But you have to as a photographer, you know, you go out with Wilma on in. This is we brought her to Spain and there's the farm that we were on in the farm. That area that the Neanderthal DNA waas found waas part of ah of ah, property that was owned by these folks. This woman was one of the owners and you have to think on your feet at a totally. This is a little bit of an aside here, but, you know, Wilma is out there, and I'm photographing ownership. Wilma doesn't speak. She doesn't smile. You know, I'm like, carrying around this doll, basically this life sized doll and which was a little strange, actually. You know, um, you know, having conversations with Wilma out in the woods was just like, I'm losing my mind. Um, but, you know, I thought, Well, um, the, uh, lady here lovely person had kind of reddish tinge to her hair, and they had determined that Neanderthals could have had red hair. And I thought about the connection of the ancient DNA found on this property and this lady who owned the property. So we put him in a picture together and put out a put a backdrop out and photographed it with the farm in the background and the this and that. And there's Wilma in all her glory. Um, so, uh, uh, this is in a Spanish national park, brandishing a spear, obviously completely naked and completely anatomically correct. So geographic asked me to minimize the nudity aspects of things, you know, by lighting her in a shadowy fashion, etcetera, Of course. You know, they give you this naked lady and then say coming up, downplay the nakedness, you know? So it's kind of a dichotomy of and so, you know, I tried to have fun with it. That's done in the camera. Okay, that's a double exposure done in broad daylight. Not a studio session. Not a blackout. Not, you know, nothing like this. No controlled environment. That's where we shot it right there. So I'm able to do one exposure with flash double exposure. Um, you know, shut the one flashed down, turn the other flash on fire again, come up with that. And I thought it would be kind of a cool cover for the geographic. They did not share my enthusiasm. Um, they did run this as a cover in the cover that they ran was similar to this. They cropped into Wilma and just ran kind of a piece of her face. As as the cover science has a very powerful resonance. Okay. And, uh, something like Neanderthals kind of a hot topic there for a while and still remains. Everyone's while we get a phone call for her. I shot a group of gold coins for Business Week magazine way back in the day, literally, literally, in the early eighties. And that's probably been my most lucrative picture. Just gold coins or something, right? Handful of gold coins or something? Was it not particularly well done? I mean, it's it's It's really it's kind of a lousy photograph, you know. But I put it into my stock files and it's been a hit currency wealth. The wheels of Parmesan cheese, wheels of Parmesan cheese shot these wheels of cheese in Italy. You know, for whatever reason, think money maker, you know, all that sort of stuff. Very, very popular photograph. So you never know where lightning is going to strike and your archival come into play to sort of get you through a tough month. The bid process is something that's been around decades, and it's very common practice in ad agencies to triple bid a job so they will contact base, the basic processes it starts in the agency. There'll be a team of creatives who go toothy. Art buyers are producers. They kind of go by the same name and they'll say, Okay, we need someone to shoot this new campaign New pharmaceutical campaign. This is the kind of look and feel that we need. So who can you recommend it? It's the art buyers who actually have kept ah file on photographers who've either sent in promo or they've met in person or reps have have put them in front of them. Um, and then they'll go to that file and say, Okay, well, you know, there's a couple of people I think would be great for this. They call in those portfolios and then they send them off to the creative team. They make their decision, and then the, um, the art buyer will then have to contact thes three photographers and get bids from all three. Usually they will give them the same parameters, because otherwise you're not comparing apples, apples, you really all over the place, so they'll give them the parameters of the shoot. Um, everything that's involved the licensing that they need, uh, sometimes the location all they will leave it up to them to come up with. What location would you think? Issue would be? Best service. And then, ah, the bids come in. The art buyer does the evaluation like wait a minute. This photographer wants a $50,000 fee and wants to spend 75,000 and expenses, and someone else wants a $10,000 fee and wants to spend AH $100,000 in expenses. It could be all over the board, and it's the art buyers job, too. Contact them all. Figure out where why air we all over the place here and then bring it to a more comfortable place to then present to the client. And then the client sees the three options for talent and knowing that they're all pretty much within a range, give or take sometimes 15 $20,000 sometimes more. And if the art directors feeling the creatives, feel that even if it's the most expensive photographer. But that's the person they want to shoot the job, that's the person they will pitch to the client most strongly as their number one choice. If the client is much more budget driven, as most tend to be, they will say, Um, we need to come in somewhere lower than that. So either the art buyer has to go back again to that photographer and do another revision. We've been through this on my end we've been through. I've done probably 10 revisions to an estimate because I'm asked to chip away this take out that we don't really Do you really need that? Well, let's take that out. Keep carving and carving to a point where we will. Then Joan, I'll sit down and say, What's our walk away? Price? Because if there's so much of this that's being carved away, we still have to do the job well and put some money in your pocket. So how much carving can we really dio? And excuse me? Um, it's at that point. Then we'll go back and I'll make a presentation of a new estimate. The final estimate. And this is where we are. And it's kind of a take it or leave it. We'd rather get, you know, be awarded that job, but were not always so. That's part of the bidding process, and that's very common. So if you ever have to enter into that in advertising, particularly, you just have to be ready for the game of it all because that's exactly what it iss