WHAT IS IT?

Commercial photography is a broad category that involves creating images for other businesses for use in advertising and marketing. It can encompass a wide range of types, subjects, and industries.

For me, this generally means some form of product-based photography, whether that is in the studio or lifestyle shoots on-location. I tend to gravitate towards the outdoor industry because that’s where my personal passions lay: mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, hiking, etc. This is not a limitation or rule though. I have produced stellar works in many other industries including: beer/beverage, internal corporate, insurance, mobile technology, electronics, local business, and more.

I want my work to meet your goals and expectations, and ultimately, to move your brand forward in a positive way. If something doesn’t look right, or isn’t working for you, I want to know. I love to collaborate with my clients so that you feel involved and comfortable with the creative direction of the project. It’s also important in the process to experiment and take creative risks. That experimentation is what can take a project to the next level.

The state of professional photography is a mixed bag these days. Not everyone who owns a decent camera is a professional. I don’t believe in hiring the cheapest person you can find to do a “good enough” job. I focus on the world-class quality of my work and the value of the experience and skill I bring to any project. Competing to see who can do something the cheapest is a red flag that quality is not important.

My commercial photography pricing is typically composed of a creative fee for the shoot, a usage fee that is dependent on how the images will be used (see the Image Licensing section below), and any specialty equipment, supplies or other expenses necessary to complete the shoot. The creative fee is based on the number of images to be created, estimated shoot length, project deadline, complexity, location, and other factors. Depending on project specifics, I may price based on a day rate, per image, or a flat all-inclusive project amount.

Normally, a shoot can be broken down into three core phases: planning/prep, the shoot itself, and post-processing. Often, advanced post-processing like retouching, compositing, or clipping paths are essential to polish an image and complete the original project vision. This phase is highly variable and can be just as time-intensive as the shoot itself.

I apologize in advance, but we have to take a quick dip into the legal pool when discussing image licensing (also called image usage or usage rights). According to US law, a photographer automatically owns the copyright to any images they create. The photographer then licenses specific usage rights, by means of a contract, to a client  based on how/when/where they want to use the images.

Image usage fees are generally based on industry-standard guidelines that include the following criteria:

  • Number of images: Quantity price discounts
  • Media: Print, web, television, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Distribution size: Number of copies printed, or viewing audience size
  • Geography: National, regional, international, etc.
  • Exclusivity: Exclusive or non-exclusive use
  • Length of use: 1 print run, 1 year, 2 years, etc.
  • Prominence of display: 1/4 page, 1/2 page, full-page, front/back cover, home page (web), interior page (web), etc.

Client size also plays a role in image usage fees. For small local businesses, I typically waive the usage fee to include 1 year usage for website and social media, non-exclusive, with photo credit to JMV Digital or Justin VanAlstyne (where reasonable). Any other usage, including a longer duration or for use in advertising, typically requires an additional negotiable usage fee. Larger companies who may expose the image(s) to a large audience should expect industry-standard usage fees.

Use of my images is not allowed in any form unless expressly granted.

I like to keep communication and expectations on the up-and-up, and thus, as boring as it is, a signed agreement and deposit is typically required before the start of a project. The project balance must be paid in full before final delivery of the project files and before any usage rights transfers are complete.

Included in every shoot

  • Basic image processing (white balance, brightness, color accuracy)
  • Digital image capture (typically 50mp)
  • Output of proofing image files for review and approval
  • Output and upload of final deliverable files to web server

 

Potential Add-ons

  • Image retouching, composites, clipping
  • Studio usage/rental cost
  • Lighting and equipment usage/rental cost
  • Image licensing/usage
  • Camera equipment and lens usage/rental
  • Set design, construction, props
  • Expendables like backdrop paper, studio supplies
  • Travel, tolls, meals, parking
  • Models, assistants, stylists
  • Other special equipment or materials needed