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Bidding Process

Where Your Bid Total Stands With The Client

Don’t you want to know where your bid total stands with the client?

It can be helpful to have an excuse to check in on your bid after submitting it. 

If the client left out some piece of info about the job, I could put in a low price, knowing they may come back to ask for more. 

That check-in can allow us to feel out the budget and see if there is room to bump up the price. 

Estimate For A Corporate Shoot


I’m putting together an estimate for a corporate shoot. I usually charge for travel days, should I also have a line item for crew travel days, or is that something I should be covering? Any advice?


Bidding is all about finessing what gets you the most gain while still getting the job. Crew costs are within the production expenses, including all their prep, post, and overtime. If being hired as a local helps your odds of getting the job, you can stash a little extra in your equipment instead of calling out “travel” costs. 



When asked to bid on a job for Vegas attractions, I was told they want a BUYOUT for billboards, taxis, video walls, and ads for Vegas, but this entire campaign is unexpected and isn’t even in their budget. How in the world do I price something like this when they say something like that?


When I hear this from a potential client, I hear, “We are looking to get a good deal with the lowest bidder.” This is a sales tactic that gives you a sense of what they are looking for. If you have any “down & dirty” ideas that will get them more bang for their buck with less of a production, this is that type of photoshoot. My warning in this situation is to have your estimate terms clearly state what IS and what IS NOT included in your bid. No surprises!

Untold Language of Our Business

One of the untold languages of our business during triple bidding is when the response to your bid is requesting you to increase a particular line item usually means you are not the first choice. Ouch. I know it’s not easy, but it is best to know where you stand and what you are probably dealing with.

Be Prepared To Discuss Your Costs With Your Client

When bidding on a job, clients may ask us to dive deeper into the basis of the costs. Put your business mind to work by understanding what the client needs to hear from you. 

Our estimates cover us for unexpected real-life additions like grip truck availability, insurance changes, crew covid testing results, overtime, etc. 

Our bids are not as black and white as clients would assume, so get ready to explain the gray areas in ways that speak their language.

Charging for Interior Shoots


How do I know what to charge for interior shoots? The scaling of projects is all over the place.


We are in an industry with no set rate structure. It’s a bit of a guessing game based mainly on usage licensing terms, the size of the company hiring us, and our experience in the different types of photography. 

Each photographer has to come up with their midline rates based on previous jobs, the word from others, and where they are in their career and go from there. It will always fluctuate, but the one solid component of negotiation skills is asking for a higher rate than you expect, which can work in your favor.

The Importance of a One-Sheet Attachment Promo in an Email


What is the importance of a “one-sheet” attachment promo in an email sent to a potential client? How many images and should this promo include any descriptive text about the images, background/bio, pitch, etc., or should all of the text be in the body of the email?


When saying hello in an email, it can be good to have a fast visual sampling looking like it belongs in that email. The key to a one-sheet promo is that it’s a quick relatable read of a small number of images only, not needing that extra step of being clicked to open.

Are Elaborate Promos Worth The Money?


Are elaborate/over the top promos worth the money to get a client’s attention? If so, should more simple promos be sent first so you are potentially already on the client’s radar?


Depending on your budget, I like to stick with consistent, well-designed promos with a quick, concise message. The expensive promos we can send or hand to clients could be a striking piece that ends up on their wall, getting the attention of a long-standing art piece. I’ve seen this happen, but it’s like going to Vegas and playing the High Roller risky games.

Email Promo Clicked Lists


What do we do with our email promo “clicked” lists?


To know who CLICKS from our email promo to our website supplies valuable feedback shaping our marketing direction. Analyzing this relevant resource can be what you need to know.

  1. Put them on a hotlist and use every method to follow up with them, including following and engaging on IG.
  2. Look up all the others at that agency or company on Agency Access, yodelist, and LinkedIn to get them on your lists. If your work is applicable for one person at that place, I will put money down that the same is true for the others.
  3. If one of your top dream list clients didn’t have any clocks, you know you have some changes to make.
  4. Compare the marketplace segments clicking percentages to see which category of clients your work is attracting vs. which types are not being drawn in.
  5. When you get an unusual amount of clients or lack of clicks from one email, use that to analyze what was different, like your subject line, the time or the day of the week, wording changes or design.

Do You Always Expect Clients To Negotiate?


How do I leverage this abundance of accolades and high end client work to get more exposure? My past mailers and hand curated Do you always expect clients to negotiate? Or do they just walk away sometimes if the price is automatically too high?


Unfortunately, clients walk away for so many reasons beyond our control. I like to feel out the situation to hear the temperature of their response before fully committing to a price. Odds are more in our favor if we can create a human connection off the bat, helping us open the doors of communication. The conversation can include the openness to flexibility by discussing a price range before we officially submit an estimate. If clients know we are willing to bridge, they may be more apt to negotiate.