Help with band photography fees and usage.

Giordano

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I live in Maryland. Few weeks ago I had the opportunity of taking behind the scenes pictures for a band recording their first EP in a studio.

Now they'd like more services from me, and they want to know what my fees are to include them in their budget.
The thing is, I've never done this before, and I'm starting as a photographer as they are as a band, so I don't want to overcharge them and having already a "regular" day job, I don't have to make a living out of this.

I have no idea what to reply them.


This is what they ask:

1-Album shoot: album/website specific photos. Probably take a full day and shoot in 3 to 4 locations.

2-Behind the scenes shoots: performances, music videos, fundraising events, etc.


3-"Gear" tee-shirts, posters, magnets, etc. They want to know if I can offer this or what I charge for my images to be used.

4-They want a general idea of how many pictures they should expect from each shoot and the turn-around time.


5-They want to know if I have any deals setup for bands--like if they use me as their photographer or guarantee a certain amount of work/hours, I give a reduced rate....have any packages like that.

I know that I should set the fees based on how much my time worth etc...etc... but at the moment what I need are some numbers to get an idea of what I should reply them.
Also, I need ideas/templates on contract (for the shoot and the usage fees)

I really hope you guys can help me.

Thanks a lot!
 

Robin_Usagani

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You just started, they just started. Just really charge minimal and be sure you get a model release from everybody. Be specific what they can use the images for on the contract.

For exaple I would only let them use the images for lets say their album cover and website. If they ever become big and start selling merchandize to the fans, they have to pay you to use your images.

What I am saying is.. Work for cheap but dont hand out everything!
 

tirediron

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First and foremost, do you feel that your skill level and equipment are sufficient to discharge this commission? There's a lot of work here, and depending on the style of cover images, it could require considerable lighting and grip gear. There's also the question of whose going to fill the role of creative director; do they expect you to come up with the image ideas, or do they have a plan and they just need you to capture it?

"Music videos" are a whole 'nother beast. This is NOT something for which I can offer any advice, other than to suggest that it's probably a field for a specialist.

There are lots of on-line printing services where you can t-shirts and pretty much any sort of souviner item made. The question here is volume; do they want a couple of hundred units or ten thousand?

The percentage of "keepers" varies by genre and photographer... I'm happy if the I get 10%. Let's use the album cover (are they still called that?) as an example. We'll say a band of four people, without any exotic props, just typical lighting, etc... four locations, two two and a half hours/location (30 minutes set-up, 30 minutes strike down) I'd expect to shoot maybe 75-100 frames/location, and for each location, I would turn over maybe 6-8 at most options for their selection.

As to cost, come up with an hourly rate and bill straight time for all of the work, that way they can buget for your work. It's hard to speculate on what that should be. How much can they afford? $50/hr? $25/hr? Remember that if you shoot all day, and then take another full day of processing, plus transportation, two days would be in the area of $450. Can they manage that?

For licensing the images, that's going to be more difficult; I wouldn't expect to get a lot from a relatively new band, but I would make sure that I was covered just in case they're the next Rolling Stones and license the images in units of use, that is: $XX for the first XXX images/year, and so on. That way, if in two years, they're all of a sudden selling 100,000 t-shirts a year, you make more money!

Paper-work wise, I think Robin's approach might be a little simplistic. Again, this will depend in large part on how popular the band is, and how popular they anticipate being, but I would do some research and draft a contract which gives you the right to use the images for self-promotion, accrediation, peer review, etc (this is essentially the model-release part) as well as governs their use of your work. It would definitely be prudent to spend the couple of hundred dollars that it would cost to have a lawyer review the contract.
 

Joeywhat

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I would speak with a lawyer or other professional versed in legal documents in regards to getting the band a contract to sign for costs, releases and licensing issues. You'll be much better off this way, a poorly worded contract could bite you in the ass good and hard if you're not careful. Assuming you want to continue this sort of work, having that done for future clients will be beneficial anyways. It's a necessary operating cost to make sure you as a business can continue to do business.

In regards to figuring out what to charge, and what exact services to perform and deliver: sit down with them and have a discussion as to what their wants and needs are, and what you can actually give them. Figure out the lowest price you want to charge out of all of this to be happy (and actually make money), and make sure not to charge any less then that. Being open about everything and in constant communication is key to any good business relationship...make sure they know to come to you with any issues or questions, and on the flip side make sure to be as thorough as possible when discussing things with them so there are no unknowns.

Also, when quoting turn around times, under-promise and over-deliver. This means if you think you can get everything back to them in two weeks, tell them a month. This way if you get it all back in two weeks they're much happier, and if something comes up and it takes a month then you still met the deadline. Don't tell them two weeks and make it go to a month, that's bad.
 

Steve5D

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Ah, yes. Band photography.

First, let me say this: If they're talking about a "budget", consider yourself lucky. Most upstart bands don't have much spare cash.

When I started doing band photography, I didn't know jack. My results were so bad I should've been cited for littering. To get better, I enlisted the assistance of a local band (that of a good friend). Get me into the venues to shoot, and I'll give you photos. They, too, were just starting out, but they had, literally, no budget.

Through shooting them, a couple of things happened. First, and most importantly, I improved. I became very good at band/concert photography. Second, because I was improving, they were using my photos on their website, which resulted in people seeing my work. This resulted in me getting paid gigs. I continued to shoot my buddy's band for free.

Once I got to the point where I was shooting regularly, I had some "basics" (for me). I would guarantee 50 usable images. Only once did this not happen, and the band actually approached me after the gig and apologized for the poor lighting. We reshot at another gig and all was well. My images could be used for the internet, posters, local rag ads, etc. If any merchandise with one of my images was sold, I got a piece of that (I think it was something nominal; 8% or something random like that). That did not include CD's, as those images were dealt with separately, and payment was based on the number of CD's being produced.

Turnaround time? Man, that's all on you and your proficiency with whatever editing software you use.

Since you're just starting out, it's difficult to assign a number to it all. It comes down to quality. Do your images have it? That's going to dictate everything. The again, if they're talking to you about all of this, they must already be happy with the quality of what they've seen.

More than anything, you have to be comfortable with what your compensation is. I've shot single, local performers for as little as $50.00, and I've shot national acts for a couple thousand.

Do you have dollar figure in mind at all?
 

KmH

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Giordano

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Steve, the "behind the scenes" I shoot for them a couple of weeks ago, I did it for free...to gain experience and add images to my portfolio.
They are really happy with the images I created and they want to continue our relationship and (try to) compensate me.

I'm trying to come up with some numbers but I don't really now where to start. Before reading your post I didn't even think about getting a percentage on the merchandise sold or getting paid based on the number of CDs produced.
I think, for now, I'm fine with charging them a fixed fee (maybe $50/hour for either events and album/website shoot), guarantee a number of images and let them use them for whatever they need. At the same time I want to be covered if they start getting big and selling more and more stuff...

TBH I'm really confused...

Do you have a contract for band/event photography I can look at?

Also, equipment. Right now I shoot with a D300, 35mm f1.8, 18-200 f3.5/5.6, 11-16 f2.8 and a flash mounted on a stand w/ umbrella. I'm thinking about investing in a 24-70 f2.8 and another flash. What else would you recommend?

Thanks a lot!
 
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Giordano

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Tirediron, probably my equipment is not sufficient to shoot any pro band, but at the moment, they're very happy with the images I created for them (for free) and I guess they can't afford a pro photographer.
Right now I shoot with a D300, 35mm f1.8, 18-200 f3.5/5.6, 11-16 f2.8 and a flash mounted on a stand w/ umbrella. I'm thinking about investing in a 24-70 f2.8 and another flash. Would you recommend anything else...or something different?


When you say "$XX for the first XXX images/year" do you mean XXX copies of an images per year of XXX different images? In other word should I charge something like $10 for 5 images for 1 year even if one of these images is printed on 1000 t-shirt of in that case I should charge per t-shirt made?

Same question to you: do you have an event photography contract I can take a look at?

Thanks!!!
 

tirediron

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Tirediron, probably my equipment is not sufficient to shoot any pro band, but at the moment, they're very happy with the images I created for them (for free) and I guess they can't afford a pro photographer.
Right now I shoot with a D300, 35mm f1.8, 18-200 f3.5/5.6, 11-16 f2.8 and a flash mounted on a stand w/ umbrella. I'm thinking about investing in a 24-70 f2.8 and another flash. Would you recommend anything else...or something different?

When you say "$XX for the first XXX images/year" do you mean XXX copies of an images per year of XXX different images? In other word should I charge something like $10 for 5 images for 1 year even if one of these images is printed on 1000 t-shirt of in that case I should charge per t-shirt made?
Same question to you: do you have an event photography contract I can take a look at?
Thanks!!!
I think the 24-70 and a second flash will set you up well. The D300 is a very capable camera. What I meant was if they produce 1000 copies of a CD with your image as album art, then you charge them 'X' dollars. If six months later they do another run of 1000, then you charge them 'XX'and so on. This way, the more of your work they use, the more you get paid. I will see if I can dig up a contract.
 

KmH

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How about the other way? You charge XXX for the first 1000, and then 1/2 of XXX for the second, 1/2 of XXX for the third, and 1/2 of XXX for the fourth 1000.
 

tirediron

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How about the other way? You charge XXX for the first 1000, and then 1/2 of XXX for the second, 1/2 of XXX for the third, and 1/2 of XXX for the fourth 1000.

Yeah, that makes more sense; I didn't mean that you should charge more for the second, run, but rather a different amount.
 

Steve5D

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Tirediron, probably my equipment is not sufficient to shoot any pro band

I think you'd be surprised.

The bigger the band, the more lights they use. The more lights they use, the easier it is to shoot them. Under pro conditions, your 18-200mm would be fine...
 

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