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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Food Photography Talk
Thread started 28 Mar 2017 (Tuesday) 09:02
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Shooting 5,000 products

 
Shawn_BS
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Mar 28, 2017 09:02 |  #1

So I was recently contacted for a job, and the client is looking for 5,000 photos. They run a small grocery store and would like to put all of their products online. I've never shot anything that big before, so any suggestions would be great.

I'm figuring it will be a multi-day shoot, maybe 3 or 4 days?

Would you charge by breaking down cost per photo, or just an overall price?

I have two bodies, Alien Bee lights and a variety of lenses, so my thoughts are to setup two locations to shoot from.


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peeaanuut
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Mar 28, 2017 09:20 |  #2

I charge per photo just in case the scale of the job changes. The upside is that mostly it will be cookie cutter shots so knocking them out rapidly is pretty easy.


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Wilt
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Post has been last edited 7 months ago by Wilt. 3 edits done in total.
Mar 28, 2017 10:08 |  #3

Sounds like a tough situation to bid, no matter how you figure it as a Photographer...

  • Assuming 1 minute per shot, that's 2500 minutes or 83 hours. Even at a very modest $25/hr, that is $2100 .
  • Assuming you charge by item, even $0.50 per item is $2500

Compare that to 'day rate' pricing often used in commercial photography, those would be bargain prices paid by commercial clients for photography to be used on a web site. TWO WEEKS of commercial photography simply assuming 1 minute average per item shot.

But put $2000-2500 into the Grocery Store management point of view, and the slim margins on most items,
  • how many items would they need to sell to break even on the expense?! A
  • nd how much volume do they really think they would do via web shopping?!
  • So how long would their pay-back period be, before generating net profit from the expense?


...big difference for a chain store vs. a mom-and-pop neighborhood store. Do you have any idea of the client's preconceived notion of cost to have the photography done? You might want to simply sit down with them, explain what you think what the consumed time would be on a day rate vs. a piece rate. They may not realize the magnitude of effort! In fact, YOU may not comprehend the magnitude of effort, and might want to do this little exercise for yourself so you have an idea of what it takes to photograph a variety of items taken from your own pantry shelves...

  • Initial setup of lighting and camera and set
  • time to shoot each item (average of 20 items taken from your own pantry shelves), adjusting light as necessary, for good web depiction of product
  • teardown of set, and lighting and camera

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PhotosGuy
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Mar 28, 2017 10:18 |  #4

The nice thing about a day rate is that down time that is not your fault doesn't cost you anything. I'd be inclined to charge a day rate & ask them to provide an assistant to bring/remove/setup each shot as you work with the other one.
Don't forget to allow for hand holding time before/during/after the shooting, as well as post-production.
Have you asked them the critical question, "What's your budget"?


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tcphoto1
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Mar 28, 2017 13:23 |  #5

I think the question should be, what is their budget? How valuable are the images to the client? Do they want shots of produce, soft goods, private label canned goods? Will you be editing the images? I cannot imagine producing quality images shooting 5000 items in just a few days. Besides, I understand that major producers have artwork available to their vendors. Off the top of my head, I would think about the actual workflow and delivering the images. Would you subcontract someone to process and edit them? I think the volume alone would justify a fee of $1250-$1500 per shooting day and editing at $500-$750 a day. Even though there is minimal Stock value, I would have a defined term of use and leverage that to secure the highest rate possible.


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Shawn_BS
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Mar 28, 2017 22:00 |  #6

So the client finally got back to me. Here are some more details:

- The shoot is for 5,000 items to be sold in-store, as well as on sites like Amazon. Photos would be used online, as well as possibly in print for flyers.
- Shot on location in the grocery store they own.
- Wants photos of each item to include front, back, side and a zoom in shot of nutrition facts.
- No budget per say, said he is contacting a few local photogs for rates and will go with "best price."
- Wants all photos edited and cropped.
- Would like all shot against white background. Items range in size from 20 lbs. bag of rice to grapes.


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PhotosGuy
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Post has been edited 7 months ago by PhotosGuy.
Mar 29, 2017 08:45 |  #7

Shawn_BS wrote in post #18313712 (external link)
- No budget per say, said he is contacting a few local photogs for rates and will go with "best price."

RUN AWAY! ; D


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Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
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tcphoto1
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Mar 29, 2017 09:13 |  #8

PhotosGuy wrote in post #18313966 (external link)
RUN AWAY! ; D

+1 because they'll post the shoot on craigslist and some hack will lowball, shoot it and it will be a train wreck.


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Hannya
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Post has been edited 7 months ago by Hannya.
Mar 29, 2017 10:30 |  #9

Must be lots of stock shots of rice, grapes etc available for a small amount. That, and an iPhone to do the rest. I would imagine from what's been said the cost of doing this would be way beyond what the chap wants to pay. And none of that so far takes into account downloading, processing, saving for web et. No siree. +1 on RUN AWAY :-)


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Qlayer2
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Mar 29, 2017 10:57 as a reply to Hannya's post |  #10

Don't run away- put in a quote for what you would actually be willing to do the work for (if you actually want the job), and hope the other photographers he got quotes from run away.

The description/scope alone will scare off a lot of people- you might be the only one who gives him a price. If he can't pay the price, or offers you less than you want, THEN walk away if you can't come to an agreement.

Giving an actual quote also lets him know what photography costs and time required will be for a project of this scope- something they may not know until someone tells them.

I'd be quoting either a per image cost, or a per day cost at 20 days minimum- that's around 2 minutes per product, so 30 seconds per image at 4 images each, 8 hours a day. If they don't provide a helper/assistant to be moving the products back and forth, the time required goes up.


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Wilt
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Post has been last edited 7 months ago by Wilt. 6 edits done in total.
Mar 29, 2017 11:15 |  #11

ShawnBS wrote:
- Shot on location in the grocery store they own.
- Wants photos of each item to include front, back, side and a zoom in shot of nutrition facts.
- Would like all shot against white background. .

IOW, you have to set up and take down the shooting set every day including lighting and background (or is there some location in the store where you will be permitted to set up shop for 2-3 weeks?!)
That adds to the time required each day before and after you shoot the products.

And it is not '5000 items' with a single shot of each, you have three sides to shoot AND you have to carefully zoom in very tight to shoot the nutrional facts information, too!
How long do you think THAT will take just to do a single product, it is not merely

A. place a product, B. shoot it, C. remove that product (to back to A)

It is, instead:


  1. Place product to shoot side X
  2. shoot it
  3. rotate product to shoot side Y
  4. shoot it
  5. rotate product to shoot side Z
  6. shoot it
  7. rotate product to shoot side W close focus nutritional data
  8. move camera to tightly frame nutruitional info
  9. shoot it
  10. move camera back to starting position
  11. remove product


(go back to step 1...5000 times)

The job is suddenly about 5x-6x in magnitude...four sides, one of them ultra close framing

I would certainly make NO EFFORT to provide this service on the cheap

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nathancarter
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Post has been edited 7 months ago by nathancarter.
Mar 29, 2017 15:15 |  #12

Whew, that's a ton of work.

You'll need an assistant who is familiar with the store and the products, otherwise your time investment will triple.

If you have to do it on-site, you'll need a secure location in which to work. Not just a storage closet - you need room to stage everything, set up lights, and maintain a reasonable camera-to-subject distance. A large office or a medium-sized conference room.

One minute per item, five shots per item, will be working really quickly. That'll be exhausting but do-able on packaged goods like cans and boxes.
Soft packages like bags of rice will need several minutes each to stage the product so it looks good to the camera in each of the five shots.
One minute for five quality shots will be absolutely impossible on fresh foods, fruits, prepared foods.

That also doesn't include time spent to process, crop, export, deliver. It's imperative to get it right in camera in order to minimize this effort.
They'll probably want them all renamed too, which is hours more effort. (might be some way to put this in a spreadsheet to automate renaming, not sure).

If you quote them 3-4 days, you're gonna regret it. 3-4 weeks will be closer, but still a full day of hard work every day.


I agree with Wilt's suggestion to pull 20 random items from your kitchen to photograph.


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ksbal
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Post has been last edited 7 months ago by ksbal. 2 edits done in total.
Mar 29, 2017 15:40 |  #13

^^^ what these two said.

He'll want it done as all it takes is to 'push the button', probably, unless he's ever had work with a real commercial photographer before.

4 weeks easy for time.. My day job pays more than $2500 in 4 weeks. I wouldn't bid it for less than a dollar per item, and I think that is way too cheap.

Put it this way.. just to review each image, (15,000 of them) at 20 seconds a piece, is ~80 hours. It's going to be 1-5 minutes per item to photograph, on average say 3 minutes x 5000 = 15000 minutes= 250 Hours

we haven't downloaded, copied, backed up or edited a darn thing yet.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Mar 30, 2017 00:23 |  #14

I would suggest including the cost of renting a second camera/macro lens. The first camera is used to shoot the main packaging shots and the second is used to shoot the close up label shot without having to mess about changing lenses or settings on the first camera.


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DaviSto
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Mar 30, 2017 06:17 |  #15

Dan Marchant wrote in post #18314613 (external link)
I would suggest including the cost of renting a second camera/macro lens. The first camera is used to shoot the main packaging shots and the second is used to shoot the close up label shot without having to mess about changing lenses or settings on the first camera.

If this, which makes good sense, then how best to keep cataloguing and matching the labels to the products? This needs to be a very simple straightforward process or you are either going to lose a lot of time on paperwork while shooting or on trying to tie everything together later.

Would just making sure that the clocks in the two cameras are exactly synchronised be enough? Then everything would automatically be grouped sequentially by time of shot once transferred to computer.

I've no experience to draw on here ... just musing.


Comment and (constructive) criticism always welcome.

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