Last week, FREELANCER members got this email from the reputable artist manager "Jaime Feklasname" proposing a photo gig on behalf of singer/rapper Audrey Nuna. You, the lucky photographer, would be making content for her upcoming single, "Double Dutch" – featuring rapper, Lil Baby.
Real musicians, but a not-so-real opportunity:
We’d like the photographer to capture everything her music style and personality emulates. She’s an easy-going person, and spends most of her time having fun and making tunes – and her songs reflect that. Our only caveat for the shoot is that we are really strict on our budget which is $15,000.
$15K for an image!? They got money.
Is Jaime out of their damn mind? And how do we know if this is an appropriate number for this kind of a shoot?
Well, something that was further outlined in that email was the beginning of a process known as bidding. Let's dive into what a bid is and how it pertains to negotiation.
What does it mean to "bid"?
For a photographer, bidding means to outline how much a project is going to cost the client – in the present and future tense.
Bidding in the present tense means you're aware of your present needs as a human being living in your designated city of work – this is your base level fee. Your fee should cover your cost of housing, food, electricity, and other bills that need to be paid to be an operating photographer. Your base level should ultimately be your set rate to merely show up for a shoot. It is the number that defines your education level (We're not talking about degrees here, we're talking about the will to learn and grow), the skills you've acquired, & your concept of time management.
Bidding in the future tense means you did your homework though.
You figured out how much the equipment fees would rack up for the time frame of the shoot, you know who to call to help you on set, & etc. You are basically telling the client, "Hey I've done this before and you know what? I have an idea of how this will pan out."
So what makes this different from a negotiation?
Time and power.