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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Need advice on a quote
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01/05/2012 10:57:04 PM · #1
I have been asked to give a quote on archiving the walls of a corporate building. The walls are covered with framed photos and memorabilia. I was just going to set up a tripod on each individual photo/framed piece. The problem is that there are thousands of photos in this building. They wont me to start off by quoting phase one. Just in this small area there are 222 framed pieces. How would you quote this. I want the job, but I don't want to take on too much and the price is not worth it to me. On the other hand I don't want to quote to high and loose it all together.

Any advice is appreciated.

Clint
01/05/2012 11:22:04 PM · #2
Are you "photographing the installation" or "archiving the contents"? There's a huge difference... Is it sufficient to photograph each wall from a few different angles, or do you need a series of elevations that faithfully reproduce, with no perspective distortion, the entire surface of every wall? How far can you get from the walls? that's going to be a biggie. Will you have to shoot at night when the building is not working? Etc etc...

We need more info.

R.
01/05/2012 11:28:40 PM · #3
first, read this article on rate calculations, just to get some ideas.

pricing and valuing this type of work is just as much sales as any thing else. it's not rocket science - it's a matter of having the right equipment and knowing how to use it. well, that, and being able to work in an organized manner, paying attention to the details (like keeping track of what you've shot). it's also workflow management and cataloging, possibly key-wording. the more you think about it, the more you realize it's a lot more involved than just plopping a tripod down in front of a piece of art and popping the shutter.

[it's been a really long day for me, so this is coming right off the top of my head, but i'd be thinking of charging a day rate of 3-5k a day, all-inclusive (shooting, processing, archiving, delivery, licensing). maybe i'll feel differently in the morning, but that's what i'm thinking right now.]
01/05/2012 11:43:13 PM · #4
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Are you "photographing the installation" or "archiving the contents"? There's a huge difference... Is it sufficient to photograph each wall from a few different angles, or do you need a series of elevations that faithfully reproduce, with no perspective distortion, the entire surface of every wall? How far can you get from the walls? that's going to be a biggie. Will you have to shoot at night when the building is not working? Etc etc..


I will be archiving the contents

They wont head on shots of all the framed pieces. Some are large with 30 individual 4x6s in them. Each 4x6 would need to be shot separately. I would title all images within the frame the same title to keep it organized.

The halls are fairly wide, but I'm thinking I'm going to be close on most all of them so that I can block out unwanted glare from the hall lights. I think it might be best to shoot at night so I don't have to deal with people walking around.
01/05/2012 11:48:41 PM · #5
Well, I used to document exhibitions/installations for museums, and I can tell you right now you are going to want to shoot at night with the building lights off, using your own light setup. But jaysus, photographing each individual 4x6 in a 30-image group is gonna be a nightmare. You need to have the sensor plane parallel to the art, which means you'll need to move the camera (OR the art) both vertically and horizontally for each shot.

Can you take these things off the walls to shoot them? That is, can you set up a "studio" room or wall and have assistants ferry the art to you piece-by-piece? That'd simplify things a lot.

R.
01/05/2012 11:59:11 PM · #6
No I can't take anything off the walls. The more I think about it I feel like this might be too much for me to handle. You would think taking pictures of framed photos would be easy...but I think there is going to be a mountain of work and I'm afraid to quote what I feel I would need to dedicate that much time to it.

I really don't know.
01/06/2012 12:10:11 AM · #7
I have never done work quite like that before, but I have quoted on jobs that I felt were too large/time consuming/much of a PITA.

My rule of thumb was to always figure out what I "thought" it would take in terms of time, double it and add 10 percent.

That way, if I didn't get the job, oh well, and if I did, it was definitely gonna be worth my time.

In my experience, and I have quoted hundreds of jobs this way, I have not always "loved" the bids I have won, but I have always made good money on them.

Just my $0.02
01/06/2012 12:20:48 AM · #8
That's good advice, thanks glock
01/06/2012 02:16:40 AM · #9
glock's advice is right on. I've had to bid on jobs that seemed overwhelming so I would bid what I thought was extremely high, but was ultimately accepted and ultimately was a fair price considering the work that went into it. Look at Skip's from-the-gut estimate of $3k-$5k per day. I could see this type of project being in the $15k - $25k range. If that is within their budget, then it may be well worth it for you as long as you are good with workflow, planning and organization. If they reject that high of a number, let it go - you are better off without it.

Best of luck!
01/06/2012 02:58:24 AM · #10
how long and what format with what level of back up and availability do they require for archive?

burning them to a cd and hd might not be enough, and how long? next 500 years? its an ongoing cost..

i used to work for sun microsystems and we had backups, tape backups, off site mixed location backups, and cross site inter dependence. now im not saying you need that level but it needs thinking about as well
01/06/2012 03:04:52 PM · #11
ok, i've had a chance to sleep on it ;-)

i would stage it as follows. a proof-of-concept engagement where you shoot for 4 hours and then run through a predefined workflow for ingesting, naming, cataloging, keywording, post-processing, and extracting for delivery (for this i suggest Lightroom). for this delivery, i'd suggest DVD; for the actual production, i'd suggest delivering on an xHD and putting the responsibility of redundancy and archive maintenance on them. i'd price this at $300/hr and i'm guessing you'll probably spend an hour in workflow for every hour you spend shooting. this could come out to $2400, which may be low for the production phase, but it should be enough to cover the effort it takes to work out the process.

when you're done, you need to revisit both your shooting logistics and your workflow, looking for areas that you can fine-tune the processes. what things came up while shooting that slowed you down? what things came up during the workflow that slowed you down? the goal is to get a realistic benchmark for determining how much time is the entire project going to take. then you can start to piece together a proposal for the production phase of the work.

in the end, it won't matter if you bill it by the hour or by the piece. the bottom line is that there will be a number that is reasonable and acceptable to both parties.

good luck!
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