June 30, 2016
Part 10: After the shoot. What happens now?
Well that’s pretty much all on this series on commissioning photography, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I was going to end on ‘The Day of the Shoot’ but our work isn’t quite over, so let’s just tie up those loose ends.
• Delivering the final images
Throughout the shoot the photographer, art director and client may shortlist their favourite shots, but often there isn’t time to select the final images on a busy shoot day. Often other parties who can’t be on set need to give their final approval anyway. So, straight after the shoot the photographer will usually send over all the low resolution files and the final images can be chosen.
We don’t generally restrict a client to using a limited amount of images from the shoot, but each image that is required will need a certain amount of post- production. This can range from basic colour correcting to more complex retouching.
© Julian Calverley
The post-production is usually priced per image in the original estimate or based on a pre-agreed number of images and work. Occasionally clients ask for all the RAW or low resolution files. The draw back with this is that the photographer won’t have control of how the final result will look, or get a chance to really put their stamp on the images.
© Julian Love / Moss Bros
• The invoice
Sorry to bring up the dirty subject of money and payment, but after the shoot we’ll send you the final bill. We’ll collate all the invoices from our suppliers, tally up the shoot expenses and reconcile any pre-shoot advances, making sure it’s all within budget of course (see Part 4: The Cost of a Photoshoot. How we work it all out). Normal payment terms are then 30 days. Our invoice is also our final contract, it includes our business terms that were sent with the original estimate and also serves as the licence to use the images – so keep it in a safe place (see Part 6: Photoshoot Contracts. Photographers terms and conditions).
• Releases and permits
As agents we will keep all the important ‘paperwork’ on file, such as model releases and property releases (see Part 7: Photoshoot Legal Obligations and Codes of Practice). If we have street cast models we will send you a copy of the model releases they have signed.
© Andy Smith / Olam
June 23, 2016
Part 9: The Day of the Shoot
Well the day has finally arrived, it’s shoot time, the fun, creative bit!
© Liz McBurney / EasyJet Magazine
If all expectations have been communicated clearly, the ‘pre-production’ efficiently organised and all key elements approved, then, in theory, everything should run like clock-work when it comes to the day of the shoot.
Fair enough, you can’t always be prepared for every eventuality. I was just chatting to one of my photographers who mentioned a few classics…
‘’Model having a ‘boob’ job after the casting but before the shoot. Arrived and they were indeed quite impressive however nothing but a man’s shirt would fit.
7 year old girl losing 2 front teeth just before shoot, resulting in overhead, from behind and strategically placed items in front of mouth throughout shoot.
Stylist trying to get flames going on a shoot involving an open fire, newspaper catching fire, scorching wall and ceiling (repainted with no one any the wiser)
Being asked by a ‘pop star’ who’s got the drugs?!’’ (thanks Iain!)
A few incidents stand out in my head from over the years; such as a photographer getting stuck in a lift for 2 hours when he nipped out to get his car from the car park (with no one knowing what had happened to him as he hadn’t mentioned what he was doing); a producer having a rather bad bout of indigestion and spending most of the shoot day on the location bus toilet; the 1000 turkeys that died of heart attacks when the strobe flashguns all fired at once on their farm; a model who took a swing at an art director on a shoot – it can be a dangerous game!
Models turning up looking nothing like their pictures, or fibbing about their age, size and height, when we’ve only been able to do an online casting, is the most common problem – which is why we always advise on a live casting.
© Nick David
June 16, 2016
Part 8: Are you Covered?/Insurance
Following on from last week, which was all about photography contracts and legal obligations we’re staying with the ‘serious’ stuff for one more week and tackling insurance. Nearly at the exciting bit though (not that insurance can’t be exciting!), time for the ‘day of the shoot’ next week so stay tuned!
In this part I’m not so much going to talk about the insurance policies you should have as a client, that’s entirely based on your individual business. What I am going to do is have a look at the types of insurances that are relevant to photography and shoot production, and therefore that cover your shoot. I have always taken out my shoot production and other insurance policies with Williamson Carson & Co Ltd, the UK’s leading insurance brokers for the photographic industry. So I’ve had a lot of input in this part from the very helpful Tom Carson, founder and director of Williamson Carson & Co Ltd, whom I can thoroughly recommend for all things insurance.
Insurance and Liability are essential to every business. Some insurances are legal requirements and some are optional and advised. As you can imagine, inadequate cover on a shoot, even on the advised options, can have a catastrophic effect financially.
For photographers, it’s a legal requirement to have Employers Liability Insurance if you are employing people. Others are not compulsory, but are recommended because of the financial protection they provide. There are fundamental differences between insurance and liability policies. Liability provides protection against claims made by other people (or companies) against a photographer, and will cover any payment awarded against the insured, in or out of court. Insurance policies can protect virtually anything including individuals, income, premises, equipment, film, portfolio, car, home or personal possessions, from accident, damage, loss or theft. Claims are not usually dependent on a court decision.
Here are some of the different general insurance covers relevant to professional photography practice.
Employer’s Liability Insurance
All employers must, by law, have Employer’s Liability Insurance. The definition of an ‘employee’ in this case is often unclear and this may cause confusion, but it is generally understood to be anyone working under someone’s ‘care custody and control’, whether or not a fee is being paid for the person’s services. This can include:
• Any person(s) employed by the Insured under a contract of services or apprenticeship
• Labour masters and persons supplied by them
• Persons employed by labour only sub-contractors
• Persons offering their services on a labour only basis
• Persons engaged in work experience, manpower services or similar schemes
• Self-employed persons, freelance artists and voluntary workers
• Any person(s) supplied to or hired in or borrowed by the Insured
Employer’s Liability protects a photographer from any claim of death, bodily injury or disease to an employee arising during a job. If action is taken by an ‘employee’ who has suffered, say, injury, and the court decides that the photographer was negligent and therefore liable, Employer’s Liability will meet the costs of the action and also the compensation. However, if they don’t have a valid policy they will be liable for all costs, fees and compensation and face prosecution for not having Employer’s Liability.
Public Liability Insurance
Public Liability Insurance is not compulsory. However, policies will protect a photographer from a situation where the photographer’s proven negligence causes loss or damage to property or disease, death or injury to another person.
For example, a photographer is shooting on a beach, and a member of the public trips over some equipment and injures themselves and decides to seek compensation from the photographer. A court would have to decide whether the accident was caused because of the photographer’s negligence and whether the claim against the photographer is justified.
If the photographer does not have public liability cover, they will have to meet the costs of defending an action and the additional costs of lawyer’s fees. Public Liability means that all costs are handled by the insurance company, no matter what the outcome of the claim.
Public Liability will usually only cover an incident, which would be heard in a European court.
© John Garon / Swimmer
June 9, 2016
Part 7: Photoshoot Legal Obligations and Codes of Practice: Essential information on shooting people, places and things.
Commissioning a photoshoot is usually a very creative and fulfilling process, but there are a fair few legal obligations and industry codes of practice that it’s important to be aware of. The ‘hazard’ areas are mostly connected to shooting people, places and things – so this week I’m going to take a look at each of these three areas.
As experienced and professional shoot producers it’s our job to stay on top of all the industry guidelines and be mindful of any legal considerations. If you would like us to take responsibility for these on your shoot, we would be more than happy to do so, as long as it has been made clear in writing, before the shoot (see Part 6).
However, sometimes these things are out of our control, occasionally a client might want to arrange all the shoot elements themselves, including models, styling and locations for example. For those that don’t produce shoots regularly, it’s fair enough that they might not realise you have to get a performance licence for any kids on your shoot, or that you need to notify the local police and get a permit to shoot in a street location, to give just two examples.
© Marc Ambros
Whatever the situation, here’s the lowdown on some of main legal obligations and codes of practice that affect the world of commercial photography.
Generally the act of taking pictures of people is not illegal, but, if the images are to be reproduced, especially for commercial purposes, that’s when you need to be aware of additional legal issues. This applies to anyone from a person you have snapped in the street, to a professional model, to a friend or relative.
The Human Rights Act protects people in photography, for example if they are portrayed in a false light or in a demeaning light that is untrue. As well as this, the fees models charge are based on a specific restricted usage, just like photographers. If a client wants a full buyout, the model fees reflect this. Likewise should the images be used beyond the agreed licence, the models will seek compensation for this. Aside from it being fair that the amount of commercial exposure a model gets should be directly related to their fee, some clients want to know that a models image isn’t being used by a competitor at any given time, so it’s important to retain control.
When our photographers shoot professional models, we confirm the exact usage in writing with their agency before the shoot, and keep these details on file. This is often in the form of a booking form that the model agency will provide and should include the product or service they will be promoting, hours and fees agreed and most importantly final exact usage of images.
An oversight in this area could prove costly.
© John Garon / Interflora
June 2, 2016
Part 6: Photoshoot Contracts: Photographers terms and conditions.
What I thought I’d do in this part is try to set out in plain English, the main clauses in our terms and conditions – clauses which are likely to pop up in most photoshoot contracts.
Our business terms are the legal terms upon which we agree to do business and form a contract, we’d be exposing ourselves to too much risk if we didn’t have them. Agreeing to provide photography, with or without the whole shoot production service and the liabilities that comes with that, is a big responsibility both financially and legally. Our business terms protect our rights and limit our liabilities. As well as that, they can be viewed as a set of clear guidelines, ‘ground rules’ if you like. Their main purpose is to prevent any disputes as expectations and responsibilities are clearly set out from the onset, in writing.
We send out a full set of our terms and conditions with our estimates and our invoices, and of course we will be happy to send them to you directly if you wish (just pop us an email). We often receive contracts back from our clients with very similar contents, occasionally there is some disparity or conflicting clauses, but most of the time, client’s terms of business are very much along the same lines and everyone thankfully is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet.’
Having said that, there is one key issue that crops up time and time again, and that is the subject of copyright. Clients sometimes ask us to assign the intellectual property in the images, which in effect includes the copyright of the images. The other two ‘usual suspects’ where there is an occasional clash are payment terms and indemnity. Again areas that, when we explain what is acceptable and why, is usually resolved pretty easily. Now I might be setting myself up for a fall here, but these are the only areas where there has ever been any incongruity. More on these three areas later.
Here at LPA we lay out the specifics relevant to the job in hand on the front page of our estimate before the figures and we include our general set of terms of business on the last page. Specific information like shoot dates, description of shoot and who the client is, form as much an important part of our contract as our general ‘small print’. So we include:
The Date. The date of the estimate or invoice.
The Client. Who this contract is with.
The Advertiser, Brand or Product. Often our shoots are for a particular brand or product, as opposed to a whole business and all the brands they encompass.
An Invoice or Estimate Number.
Description. This sums up what we have been asked to do.
© Sam Stowell / M&S / ‘Antipasti on slate Lazy Susan’
May 26, 2016
Part 5: Timings: The production process.
As part of our ten part, weekly series on commissioning photography, we are now going to look at the shoot production process – from budget sign off to the day of the shoot. This will then enable you to work out how it all fits in with your timings and see what else you might need to be prepared for.
LPA are shoot producers as well as agents and it’s our job to plan and schedule your shoot so everything runs smoothly. The key to that is to think ahead and be realistic about how long things might take, however straightforward or convoluted things might seem. And actually, the key milestones are exactly the same with every shoot…
whether the shoot is fairly straightforward still life …
© Charlotte Tolhurst / BerinMade
or something more complex, involving location permits, model casting and styling…
© Michael Heffernan
Here’s a quick step by step guide from our point of view.
Step One: Agree budget
The first thing we need to do before we crack on with any shoot production or even confirm the photographer for you, is to 100% agree the shoot costs in writing. To do this the brief needs to be the final, confirmed brief. Changes can be a lot more disruptive than you might think (see Part: 3)
As you can hopefully appreciate, once we have agreed to commence with the shoot production we have also agreed to commit to the liability of the shoot costs. We will confirm the photographer and the crew, which means they won’t be available for other shoots so may well turn work away. It is likely we will also start having to pay for other shoot expenses. We often have several shoots going on at the same time, so we do need to be bit strict here in terms of getting everything pinned down and the budget confirmed in writing, ideally by way of a purchase order.
Step Two: Agree timings
Of course we will always try and be as flexible as possible, especially if there is little more than the photographer that we need to confirm. Having said that though, to guarantee you are going to get the photographer of your choice, when you want them, and for us to confirm the perfect crew, not to mention work out if the timings are even possible, the best plan is to pin the dates down ASAP.
May 19, 2016
Part 4: The Cost of a Photoshoot: How we work it all out.
Following on from last weeks post about writing a photoshoot brief, we’re now going to look at how we work all the numbers out.
Like many services the costs break down into fees and expenses – labour and materials if you like. In the world of photography, unlike many other industries, the labour fees aren’t generally a flat rate , they are for the most part based on the end usage.
When we sit down to work out the cost of a shoot, the first thing we do is plan a schedule of both the shoot production and the shoot. We start off by working out how many days the photographer will need to capture all the required images – the photographers shoot fees. Then we take into account how much of their time, if any, will be required for pre-production- recce or casting fees for example, plus post-production. Finally we work out associated production expenses. It could just be basic photographic expenses such as digital capture and equipment or lighting, or we may need to cost for a location scout, location fees, several models, a large crew plus all of their associated expenses to shoot overseas.
© Julian Calverley / Cygnus / Mercedes
So, let’s start with the photographer’s shoot fees.
• Photographer’s Shoot Fees
A lot of clients ask us how much our photographers ‘day rates’ are. Just to set the record straight, none of our photographers have a set day rate as such. Photographers fees can vary significantly depending on many variables and are mostly based on the end usage of the images. When photography is commissioned, we grant a usage licence to reproduce the photography in a specific and restricted way and the fees reflect the extent of this usage licence.
There’s more about copyright in Part 6 (Photoshoot Contracts) but it seems appropriate to mention it here. The photographer always seeks to retain the copyright, this means they own the right to authorise others to reproduce the images. A photographer would only sell the ‘copyright’ in exceptional circumstances. I have yet to come across a commercial client who actually wants to buy the copyright- i.e the authority to allow others to use the image. There are a lot of misunderstandings in this area. When a client asks for copyright, it generally turns out that they want exclusive usage of the images they are commissioning and to be able to prevent anyone else using the images at the same time. This is fair enough and is stated in our terms and conditions of business as standard. Sometimes a client wants to know that they can use the images they commission for any media that crops up, worldwide and forever (in perpetuity). This can be arranged and will be reflected in the cost.
Here at LPA we take into account five factors when we are calculating the extent of the usage:
The day rate is accumulative, increasing as each additional factor increases, for example five years rather than one, six forms of communication rather than two.
The percentage increases are not necessarily equally incremental in all industries and certain things need to be taken into consideration – for example in the world of corporate communications, annual reports are by their very nature often intended for a global audience, albeit just employees of the company or stakeholders, so not on the same scale as a global audience for a consumer advertising campaign.
© Iain Crockart / MSL Group / Experian
There is a sliding scale of fees across different audiences. Generally speaking photography for a consumer audience is valued at the higher end, then business to business and specialist trades, then corporate then charity and education.
May 12, 2016
Part 3: Writing the Brief: What we need to know to cost and plan the shoot.
Whether it’s 20 different scenarios in various locations with a range of models and a big crew, a day of portraits in a studio, or a set of creative still life shots, the information we need to provide accurate costs and plan a smooth shoot is actually pretty much the same. We appreciate it’s all about meeting expectations, so the clearer you can be as to what you need and expect, the easier it will be to achieve this for you.
© Emma Boyns
A clear, defined brief from the onset makes for a straightforward, smooth running shoot with no hiccups, disappointments or nasty surprises.
We basically need to know who, what, why, where, how and when!
• Which photographer are you interested in?
If you don’t have any particular photographer in mind, we are happy to match the right photographer to your brief.
• What images do you require?
The first thing we need to know is what final images you require. What would you like us to deliver?
We appreciate some people want to just get a really rough ballpark and don’t have a formal written brief or a definite shot list. That’s fine, we do a lot of estimates so can usually pull something together for you however scant the information; 5 case studies of bank customers on location around the UK, a bank of 30 lifestyle images with models and locations, 5 hero shots of dishes with various angles for example, that’s enough to go on as a starting point. The problem with this however, especially if you are getting several quotes, is that the costs you get in might vary wildly and not be very accurate. They may be more than is necessary based on worst case scenario, or they may be incomplete, with elements omitted.
Any visuals are really useful, a scamp or a mood board for example:
Scamp provided by Neo / Motor Neurone Disease Association
© Patrick Harrison / Neo / Motor Neurone Disease Association
As is a written shot list.
May 5, 2016
Part 2: Finding the Right Photographer for your Shoot: What to look out for.
Hopefully last weeks post ( Part 1: Why Commission Photography) convinced you that bespoke, original photography is the way to go. So now you just need to find the perfect photographer for your shoot.
We are known for being helpful and open here at LPA, but we aren’t so altruistic that we are going to give you an in depth guide on how to find photographers outside the agency! You probably get bombarded with emails, promos and calls from hundreds of photographers anyway. This post is more about spotting which photographer is right for your shoot.
Here’s a handy checklist:
• The Style of Photography
The number one thing that you’ll be considering is the actual work of the photographer. Can they interpret your vision and translate visually exactly what you have in mind.
©Julian Calverley / Redwood / Land Rover
©Julian Calverley / Redwood / Land Rover
I know this sounds a very obvious one but I have come across the odd client disappointed with the end result (obviously not any of our photographers or anything to do with LPA!) because they haven’t quite matched up the right man (or woman!) for the job.
We make sure our website is up to date with our photographers’ most recent work and also provide links to their websites where you can see more. If you would like to see their printed portfolios or would like us to tailor make a pdf of relevant images for a shoot you have in mind, please just let us know.
The images may look great in the folio or on the website, but has the photographer got the right experience and skills you need to carry off your shoot.
You may need the end result to look like a spontaneous moment, but you also want to cast specific models, scout locations and have the shoot styled. Is this something the photographer has experience in? Working with a large crew can be an intense experience and photographers require a whole load of skills other than just taking great pictures to do this well.
Here at LPA recreating spontaneous moments with a large production crew is one of our specialties.
© Iain Crockart / Landor / Barclaycard / Shot as part of a multiple day location shoot featuring 12 locations, 36 models and 54 different scenarios.
Perhaps you are looking for a photographer who can literally go and photograph people he finds on the day, rather than working with professional models. Again a very different discipline and skill.
© Andy Smith
Or your shoot many require a photographer that is used to working with kids.
© Nick David / Children’s Society
I used to represent a still life photographer who was commissioned to shoot quite a large campaign involving children, the creative director was one of his mates – the whole thing was very painful as he had no experience of shooting people let alone kids!
April 28, 2016
Part 1: Why Commission? 10 good reasons to commission original photography.
In the first part of our new handy guide we look at 10 good reasons to commission photography.
No one can deny that photography brings things alive, it’s a very powerful tool. Whether it’s on a billboard, a website or the cover of a magazine, imagery makes the world of difference in getting the message across and making an immediate impact. It’s probably the first thing that captures the attention and the last thing that is remembered on a piece of communication. It goes without saying that customers are more likely to contact a business if there is photography in the marketing, they are more likely to buy a product if there is a picture rather than just a description and people are more likely to read an article if it’s illustrated.
So, whether the images entice you to buy something by simply making it look delicious …
© Sam Stowell / Geometry @ JWT / Baileys
Grab your attention, making you want to read more…
© Liz McBurney / Ink Global / Norwegian
Or whether they convey the entire personality of your brand, connect with a target audience and communicate essential core values…
© Nick David / I-AM / KFC
…photography is undeniably one of the strongest and quickest ways of communicating.