So now you’ve created a body of work that is good enough to start promoting yourself with. And your work caught a client’s eye and you’ve been asked to put together an estimate! Now what? This again can be a daunting task! Most of you probably don’t have an agent and some of you might not be aware of what usage means. Some of you don’t even have a clue where to begin to even fathom what your work is worth! What would you charge as a “day rate” for an ad job? What would the usage be for a national ad campaign for 1 year?
Well, fear no more because there is a great solution to these problems and it’s called Blink Bid. Blink Bid was founded by Lou Lesko, a photographer himself, who saw that there was a wide gap in the industry for people who didn’t have representation and were estimating for jobs without the proper knowledge of what to charge. Blink Bid is a subscription based website that allows you to fill in the job description and put in your expenses and the usage for the proposed job and it will calculate for you what you should charge for a job. You can subscribe monthly as a solo artist or you can buy a yearly subscription and create different personalities. For instance, let’s say that you are marketing yourself mainly as a fashion photographer because that’s what you truly want to pursue but you also shoot weddings because those jobs put food on your table. On Blink Bid you are able to have the two businesses (or personalities) under your main subscription, so that you can keep the two businesses separate but still have the ability to create accurate estimates.
Blink Bid is very user-friendly. You are helped along the way with every aspect of a job. From adding all your potential expenses for a shoot like 1st assistant, digi-tech, casting director, hair, make up and stylist fees, Blink Bid will allow you to fill in all your expenses leaving nothing out so you aren’t left with that expense that at the end would have to come out of your pocket because you forgot to add it in. The second part of estimating your usage is the really cool part of Blink Bid. Because let’s face it, we are photographers, not agents. Do you know what the usage would be for a billboard? Because I don’t even know what the usage is for a billboard and I’ve been doing this for a minute. But Blink Bid knows and when you go to the section on the site called terms it will give you every single option for usage and then give you the grand total.
So to give you a small example of what the Blink Bid looks like and how it works, I’ll share with you some screen shots from a recent bid I did for a client. I have to keep the client’s name anonymous for obvious reasons, but I recently shot a hair campaign. The first task is to include all the expenses for the shoot. Your whole crew and team. You can see from the drop-down menu that Blink Bid will help you leave no stone unturned.
The next part is to create your estimate for the usage. Usage is what protects our images and our rights and it’s something that us photographers need to pay very close attention to. You can’t shoot a job, give your client all the images and then let them use them however, wherever and whatever means they want to. You need to specify on your estimate EXACTLY how and where you will ALLOW your images to be used. The fees for a national ad campaign are less than an international campaign because your images will be seen less in a national ad campaign than an international campaign. Your usage on web only is different than your usage would be if it’s on billboards. In short, the more places and the wider the spread of who will see your images equals more money.
I don’t know about you but I got into this business 30 years ago to make money. I’m not embarrassed to admit that. Fashion photography is a business, like any other business, and it has to treated as such. I didn’t get into fashion photography to gain followers and have my ego stroked. Sure, it was nice to see my name in magazines but what made me really happy is that seeing my name in magazines meant that my portfolio was expanding and advertising clients would see the work, hopefully, and hire me. Of course, that was a long time ago, pre-internet and Instagram, and the whole industry has become something else. Still, I urge you to really arm yourself with business knowledge and to understand your rights.
Lou Lesko will be sharing some of his business insight here on Breed and all of you should pay close attention to his advice. Let’s make this industry strong again by charging what we deserve and making sure our rights are protected. I don’t care how many Instagram followers you have: If you are underbidding yourself and not charging for your usage, you are bringing down our industry and crashing our power because you are undermining others who are working so hard to earn a living from their photography company that they’ve put years of work into. Learn the right way from the start and let Blink Bid help you!