Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 2, 2010

1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2.

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 8:44 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is an email I sent to a client, trying to explain why 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2, after they asked: “Can you confirm the cost for a stylist (if not already included) for this project”.
Which on the face of it, sounded like a strange forward request and could easily have been answered by just saying the Stylist’s day rate fee is £££.

However, sometimes things are not that simple – hence this email to explain why – which I have decided to post here for others to read … and hopefully it will make sense to some of you.

Hi ___________
You will be well aware, putting a price on what we ‘creatives’ do, is never easy or straight forward.
There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – from quick snap-shots through to full production staged images – which means all images are not equal nor will they be the same. That in turn means there value to others could vary hugely… from zero to thousands of pounds.

So when Quoting a fee – to produce & provide images for others to use – I need to look at a number of things, besides the subject matter, to determine where to start.
For example, I not only need to take into account the type of images they require – the style, the look & the feel – I also need to take into account the number of images they require, plus the Media use, Period of use and Territory of use.

This information will not only help me workout what my basic production costs need to be – but it will also help me determine what else I may need to bring to the table, to meet the clients needs. So it’s this information I use to help me determine the value of the images to them.
Value to them‘ being all important.

As a general rule of thumb:
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
… to them.

So it’s the Usage Value that will usually determine what they (the client) feel the images are worth – and that in turn will determine what they are prepared to pay i.e their budget.
It’s that budget that will ultimately determine what I can afford to do or ‘bring to the table‘ for them – in terms of the total amount of time spent on the project, number of people involved, their roles and what all can be put aside to cover expenses, etc.

Like I said before – there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – and our before & after images here – Test shots – clearly shows this.
Same room (subject) but different images.
From a client’s point-of-view, the big difference here would be the Usage Value of these images.
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
.

So that is what the Licence fee is based on i.e the Usage Value.

As you know, time is money – so from my point-of-view, that’s what I need to keep an eye on too.
Example:
If I shoot it on my own, I will be able to produce X number of images in a given period of time.
If I hire a basic Assistant (bag carrier / gofer) he will help me produce more images in that same given period of time.
If I hire a more expensive & experienced one, he will not only help me produce more images in that given period of time, but he will also be able to help me with lighting, etc – so the images would be more appealing; and therefore, of more Value to the user.
If I hire a Stylist, she will help me produce more appealing images too; however, a Stylist will slow the whole process down – so I will not be able to produce as many images in a given period of time – it could easily take twice as long to produce each of the images. Plus, for a Stylist to be able to do her job properly, she will need the budget in place to allow her time to prepare for each of the shots – and she will also have to have the budget in place to buy props and other items, which she feels will be needed. That stuff can add-up fast – especially if the client wants different items in every shot – which most do.
If I hire both an Assistant & a Stylist, then things speed up again – so not only would we be able to produce more appealing images but we would also be able to produce more of them, in a given period of time.

So… this is the sort of stuff I need to take into account before Quoting a fee… because as you can see, it’s not just a simply case of saying 1+1 = 2… as other factors need to be taken into account.

Cheers,
Ashley

Ashley Morrison
M: +44 (0)7860 391196
www.ampimage.com

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