The story: I was recently contacted by an agency shooting video for a well-known drinks brand. “Are you available to shoot stills on location?” they asked and “What would the costs be?” The first answer is yes, easy. The second is not so straight forward without a full brief, so I gave a general starting point for drinks photography to be on location. The response was that my costs were not in line with the budget and did I really need an assistant?
OK! Fair enough, but what’s wrong here??!! Lack of process that’s what. Establishing cost is about planning, communication and control. I need a clear brief so I can be clear in turn.
Hopefully, my thoughts below will shed some light on how I think things need to work to ensure the client gets the right result.
Good drinks photography means taking control of the product and elements swiftly. My role is to take stress off the agencies shoulders and react quickly and efficiently to any situation or client request. I work with good assistants to ensure the right equipment and help are at hand to provide an optimum range of options. Questions that need to be asked are:
- What does the client expect from the location drinks photography shoot? Are there examples of the type of photography they’d like to see so I can understand the requirements better.
- How much time will I be given for my stills? Will I have help from the video crew if I have to work with their setup? Will I be working alongside the video team or have my own space?
- Duration of being on set? Whether video or stills, location drinks image making can easily be 10 – 12 hours a day as well as travel to and from the location. All of which is relevant to final costing.
- Drinks photography generally requires retouching. Who is doing it? If given the chance I will always recommend the specialised team I work with who know how I shoot, how to handle my files and will present the finals to allow the maximum flexibility of use to create multiple assets.
I try to maintain costs which make shooting quality content viable however this has to be balanced by the reality of necessary requirements to ensure optimisation of the project.
I relish working with clients on all levels to supply what they need, in many cases helping them establish those needs precisely. So the moral of this little story is that experience has taught me applying due diligence from the start will be beneficial to all in the long run.
But it all worked in the end and everyone was happy!