The Business of Commercial Photography: The Survival Guide

Lesson 19 of 30

Wrap Up

 

The Business of Commercial Photography: The Survival Guide

Lesson 19 of 30

Wrap Up

 

Lesson Info

Wrap Up

And then finally, you know you wrap up. And like I said you wanna explain to people what images you liked on set, and you have that opportunity, you want to convey excitement, you want to be grateful, and happy with how things went. You don't wanna air out any questions or concerns like you wanna leave people in a good feeling. Like that was great, that was a great shoot, I'm really excited about this and this. Doesn't mean sometimes things are in your head, and you're wondering about those things, but you don't need to call those out this is a time to like end well, and be thankful, and hopefully continue that relationship unto the next one. And then, then you have invoicing, and that seems obvious, but you wanna get paid, but I would even say, we talk about this a little more in depth in our survival guide workshop, but your invoice sometimes is your last interaction with a client, and even though people know it's coming, they know they gonna be, what the amount is, it still doesn't ...

feel great to get an invoice. Paying someone isn't necessarily the most enjoyable thing but there was a time once where I worked a design firm and they did a new website for me, and then they sent me the invoice at the end of the project and it was so beautiful it was like, I'm almost excited to pay them it was such a beautiful invoice, now that obviously takes time. They did it in like InDesign or Illustrator or something, I'm not saying everyone should put their time into designing an invoice but again, be mindful what that means, what that looks like. Maybe at least just do the best you can, to some extent. Also you gotta send an invoice to get paid, it's kinda shocking how many people we've met that just don't bill, they've done work with us. We talk to photographers and I think they get so scared or overwhelmed that they just don't send the invoice, and it's like, you've done that work, get paid for that work. It sounds crazy but it's true so make sure that you're sending your invoice in a timely manner, you're being appreciative and grateful. You make sure that the invoice looks nice again, keep all of that work that you've done to get this job and at this job, you've been so intentional and thoughtful. Continue that on, don't let anything slip. And then, you may, as we talked about earlier, decide that you want to send a thank you gift. I generally think that is a really good idea. If someone has done something with you, like a project like this, you want to say thank you. No matter, if anyone has done anything for you in your life, it's always nice to say thank you. The thank you gift can match the job, you know. So it doesn't have to be crazy, it doesn't have to be some over the top thing, but I think it is very important to say thank you. Even when people don't say thank you to you, doesn't mean you can't do it and set the tone. And then finally, continue the relationship with the people that you've worked with. This is not a time to be like, oh they'll remember me. As we mentioned, we just had this great experience of course they'll coming again, you still have to put in a lot of work afterwards to maintain that relationship and it's not a guarantee that anyone will hire you again or they won't. If someone doesn't hire you again it doesn't mean that you've did anything wrong. It could just simply be, they get to hire a photographer like once a year. And the next shoot they have is just different than what you do, and they need to hire someone who has a different skill set or, from an agency perspective again, if you flip the script and look at it from their perspective, they don't want to work with the same photographer all the time because their work would look stale. They need to make sure that they have many different voices contributing so it doesn't look like they're just doing the same thing over and over again. So, anyways keep it up and it doesn't mean that that agent, or the art director or art buyer won't move. People change jobs frequently in this industry. They may go to another agency and hire you somewhere else. That has happened frequently where I worked with the same person but at three different places. Or they might speak to you. Some of, couple of really big jobs we got last year came just because one producer had a really great experience and their friend at a different agency was looking at us and they were like, I don't know I haven't worked with them before, and they just asked around and so and so was just like we just worked with them and they are fantastic. Like I really recommend them, that goes a huge way and that's again why it's so important to be thankful, and just to be a good kind person. So, that brings us to the end unless there are any questions or comments. We do have some questions from online. Jenna asked, I realize you work mostly in studio, but can you speak a little bit about how some of the set up information translates to an on location shoot? So what changes if you're doing it on location. Not a lot changes, really, it depends again on the size of the production and what you're doing but, for me, for example if I was doing lets say this hypothetical project that we were just kind of talking about, where there's all this crew, if you're in a studio, and you go outside, you still need lighting. You maybe need even more lighting because you need to block out the sun or whatever. Or you need to add more light or maybe it's raining, and you have to put a tent up to cover the rain. You still all the same roles, assuming you have people, hair and make up, and you still need wardrobe, you still need assistants, you still need a producer. So it just depends I think if anything, shooting outside or on location requires more work and more people than shooting in studio because you're adding a huge unknown, which is nature. The sun, rain, wind, I mean all kinds of stuff I mean it's really hard to control so all of a sudden like holy cow, the sand is blowing on to set, the sand is getting into the talents mouth. Like she can't smile because the wind storm came out of no where or, it's raining, this needed to look like middle of the summer in Arizona and we're in Washington and it's raining. Like, what are we going to do, you know? So you need more people that kind of control the uncontrollable element here. Again, it doesn't mean you can't do a shoot outside, with just one assistant, if that's what the shoot calls for, but I find it's more difficult and requires more work when you're outside than inside. Do clients typically ask for bids? Or do clients usually come to you? And at one point I imagine that changes at some point in your career? Well they come to me and ask for a bid usually. So I guess, if I understand the question correctly, if you're doing editorial shoot, so when you get an email or a call from a photo editor at a magazine, you have the job if you choose to accept it. Photo editors do their research based on who they wanna work with, where you're located, whatever it is, they've looked at lots of different photographers, and rates for editorial are standard. You know, when you get a call from a magazine, you're not negotiating creative fee, you can just say what's the creative fee and they'll tell you it's $500. Even if I wanted to pay you more or less, I couldn't. Like, that's locked in, that's company policy, that accountants are checking it out, kinda thing. So with editorial there's no bid. It's still a good idea to make an estimate, just so everyone is on the same page. Maybe some of your expenses they weren't expecting, make sure you have an estimate that you gave to them up front but in general for most commercial projects, advertising or corporate, is usually it's gonna be a triple bid, sometimes, they're just looking at you and that's it, that's great if that happens. But that doesn't always happen, it's usually a triple bid so it'll be you and two other people that are bidding on a job, and you have to kind of take it from there, and we'll talk about that in a little bit tomorrow as well. When you mentioned like, terminology when someone's assisting you, is there an online research where someone can go and learn what a stinger is, and some slang words on the production side? That's a good question, you know there's probably YouTube videos, I don't know for sure, there's probably YouTube videos that you can learn about. Some of it is standard, and then some of it is just whatever you want it to be, right? Like you can call it whatever you want as long as everyone else around you understands what it is, but in terms of like when you're starting to be around productions, there's a whole set of language that is used on a film production, that's totally different than a still production. There's a lot of stuff you'll hear on a film production, that you'll never hear on a still production. And maybe vice versa, but not so much. But I would just check YouTube, I would talk to people that are involved, you know if you have any questions but really, it's inevitable, you're gonna find yourself in a position where you're like, I have no idea what you just said to me. And I always say, it's better to be honest. Don't pretend like you know, that's just an opportunity to learn, you didn't know, and now you do and you probably won't forget it again, you know? That's kind of my approach. Going back to the contracts, once your contracts are signed, do you go to your crew, even if it's a few day afterwards, do they sign a contract as well? Do you sign with them a contract? Your crew, that's a good question. That's something that we've been talking about recently. It really depends on your state, and it depends whether you're in film industry or still photography industry. Typically, film there's a lot more structure or protections around that, so people get paid day of on film. Often times with stills people don't get paid day of, but that's something that's being discussed in the industry right now, and I could see that very quickly shifting towards film where everyone does have a contract, and even a time sheet and they get paid the day of, before they leave kind of thing. That's more of a question for a lawyer or an accountant, I can't speak for everyone because it really does differ from state to state depending on, the amount of risk you want to take on. If it's a gray area but, I think in general, if it's vague you want to pay as promptly as possible. We need to make sure that we have certain paperwork from people to make sure that we're covering ourselves. There's proper paperwork that again each state requires, so you definitely want to look into that. Make sure that it's not something left, kind of as a casual thing. And also just for the purposes of having a paper trail of like, this is the agreed upon rate as you're putting together shoots you know again, hopefully it's obvious just how much can go into a commercial shoot, it's super easy when you're starting out to just kind of make decisions as you go, and next thing you know you've gotten so far into it you don't remember what you agreed with the assistant in terms of rate, hair and make up artists and then you get the bill and you're like, is that what we agreed on? And so, if you don't have that paper trail and those contracts and agreements it can get a little sticky. I was just wondering for like your personal work, do you ever have people who want to buy that, and then how do you work with the model contract originally so that that's a possibility, or not kind of perpetual situation would you use in order to sell personal work. Sure, so lets say you did a personal project and you photographed a model for an image, and ideally, you would have a model release for that specific shoot and whatever agreed upon usage you were using it for. Even if they sign, let's say they sign a full release that says you can do whatever you want with this. It depends on what you agreed to verbally also, despite the contract, if you said this is a personal shoot, it's just for my portfolio kind of thing, that's what you need to base it off of, not this full release that they signed. So if someone, a company contacts you, and is like hey we want to use this for an ad, you need to get in touch with that model, and let them know there is a company that is interested in using this image for an ad, you can ask them what they want, but what I would do is, I would say this is what I can offer you, because if you leave it open sometimes they don't know, like it's easier for them to be like, $10,000 or whatever, then none of you are getting paid so, I would say, you present a fair, and there may be some negotiation, but you let them know this is the rate I have, are you interested in doing this, and if so, you get a release signed for that intent and then, you can negotiate a rate with the client and license it, but you gotta get a specific model release for that use, you don't wanna make someone think that they're doing it for free because it's for your portfolio then sell it and you're making money and they're not. You could get into a lot of trouble for that, and it's not very nice.

Class Description

Whether just starting out in the commercial photography industry, or ready for a new chapter in your career, John Keatley shows you how to survive in a competitive field. Known for being innovative, creative and thinking outside the box when it comes to his photography, John applies those same skills into running his business. In this in-depth course, John shares some of the key elements that allow you to be an artist and a business owner. You’ll learn:

  • How to find your style and attract the clients you want
  • How to create a bid
  • The importance of drafting a treatment
  • Estimates and billing for your work
  • Planning and scheduling your production
  • Tips on memorable branding
  • The difference between an Art Director/Agent/Art Buyer
  • Techniques for editing your portfolio

If you’re at the start of your career or ready to expand your client list, this course will be the game changer you need to create a solid foundation for a thriving business.

Reviews

Bonnie Aunchman
 

John & Creative Live - Thank you - Best. Class. Ever.! This is a GREAT class! If you are a photographer, this is definitely a MUST GET class, but even if you work with photographers as part of a creative team - you have to take this class. (I'm a Photo Stylist) John covers it ALL in this class - it really, truly is a Survival (Success) Guide. John is so detailed, honest, and generous in his knowledge/experience/wisdom in the commercial photography industry in helping you understand the business and really succeed (& stand out). When I see that John is teaching a class on Creative Live - I'm in! (I have his other valuable courses as well)

a Creativelive Student
 

I was lucky to be part of the studio audience for this course. John is an awesome teacher and did an outstanding job of making sense of a very difficult side of photography for a creative to understand. He shared his 18+ years of experience, including the good and bad he has gone through. The "special guests" alone are worth the cost of this class. John has an amazing team working beside him behind the scenes. Their perspective on his business was priceless!

Amy Vaughn
 

Thanks to John for being so open his experience in the commercial photography industry and giving us so many real world examples. I especially appreciated the contributions by the non-photographers in the second day of the course - Nichelle and Maren. Nichelle gave a good perspective on the finance and business communications side. Maren is John's agent and offered her insight on how agencies worked. I've heard photographers discuss working with agents before, but it was helpful to hear an agent answer questions directly about her experience.