Gone, sadly, are the days of massive photography budgets… There was a time when an advertising agency might approach a photographer or his or her agent and present them with a project and a vague idea about how much they or their client wanted to spend. Then after a while the agent or photographer would come back and say; “Actually, if you want Charlie Dung-Fungus to shoot your campaign then it’s going to cost this much.”
Things have changed somewhat… Technology has seen photographer numbers explode in recent years. No one has to go through that troublesome business of buying expensive film and having the stuff processed any more so the learning curve is a heck of a lot less steep than it once was. Add to that the growing trend for ad agencies to use images found through social media outlets or the ever growing number of image libraries and you have a situation where professional photographers are finding it increasingly difficult competing for the ever decreasing number of commissions on offer.
So how do you beat the competition and bag that elusive commission or campaign? In my experience one way is to work smarter than your competition. If you can do that then you can probably keep costs down. Do that and there’s a good chance you’ll have a happy client who will keep coming back to use your services. As long as the pictures are good that is.
The picture that heads this blog entry is a good case in point…
A beautifully lit interior of a Lexus with a City of London backdrop seen through the windscreen. Apart from the photographers agreed day rate, the other associated costs were as follows…
Studio hire…Nil.. The car was shot in a garage beneath Toyota GB headquarters in Surrey.
Assistant hire…Nil… You don’t need an assistant to set up one light and put a camera on a tripod.
Lighting hire…Nil… Photographers own. Every photographer should have some lighting equipment.
Retouching…Nil… All retouching done by the photographer… At the most, a couple of hours work by a decent retoucher.
City backdrop image… Shot by the same photographer, and incidentally used at the bottom of our web site.
The end result is a great looking image shot on a tiny budget that could have cost a hell of a lot more.
A lot of photographers won’t appreciate my myth busting. After all who wouldn’t want to be shooting a campaign or commission with a massive budget in locations rarely covered by the major airlines. So there you have it.
Work smart… Work more.