panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2005-05-15
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2005-09-20
#1

Suggestions on pricing for new project

Hi Friends,

I am traveling tommorow to call on 2 large companies.

One is a Ford truck dealership that sells heavy duty trucks like semis and high payload pickups. It is a big dealership with a big showroom etc...I mean reallllllyyyy  big.

The other is a large RV dealership with an RV park next to it. It is all the same operation. 36 acres of Park and dealership.

The RV dealership is the one I want to land. This could turn into 10 to 20 panos easy plus a bunch of stills.

I am thinking BIG here. But how big??? I am thinking in the $5000 to $8000 range for each of these.

I won't have time to shoot the real project. Only enough time to make my pitch and take some demos of the showrooms etc. Later I will make up a job estimate and time schedule.

But I would appreciate your thoughts on a job like this.

General Lee


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2005-09-20
#2

I don't base prices on customers. Meaning. I wont charge more because its a big firm and can aford more, or charge less because its a small firm.

My prices depend on the service I provide.

Low Quality (Nikon 995, 3 Shots) Less clean up. Only Java

High Quality (Nikon D70 Sigma, Bracketing and all)

I have a base fee for the first pano (cost for individual Loading image, Navibar in Java, Travel expenses, CD production, html examples for code)

And a price per pano.

I then give discounts starting from 10 panos 10% and so on.

This way I am transparent and fair.

**********

To estimate the right price I would advice you like this. Take the average amount of time you expect to do for your panos. Outside shots take less time then inside shots because bracketing is seldom needed, less stiching errors to fix)

Once you have your average time you take for a pano mulitply it by your hourly rate, or what a hourly rate would be in your country. Therefor a pano can cost 200 USD in Germany vs. 50 USD in Uganda because Labour cost is lower, rent is lower and so on.

Once you have your time and your hourly rate you know how much you must charge to get your work payed for. Now you can make a desicion. Is this a price on the lower side and I want to charge a bit more so I wont just have my work paid but make some profit.

I would say 10 panos should not cost more then 2500 USD in the US but thats just my guess and I am a view 1000 miles away.

Because if you take 15 panos and spend 3 hours on each, taking shot and postproduction and stuff you end up with 45 hours of work. Dived your lower figure 5000 / 45 = 111 USD / hours. And I thing that would be a rather hig hourly rate. But then again I might be wrong.

You can charge top $ for top work. Lets say you would take an interior shot of a SUV and you make it really perfect. This one pano alone could be worth 5000 USD.

It probably is a problem of my business ethics not to have someone pay more then he gets from me. Even if they can afford it.

I don't know if this helps any.

If you tell me your hourly rate (yours or in the US) I can tell you what I would charge in Switzerland.

Regards Markus


Nikon D70s, Sigma 8 mm, 4 to 12 shots, Agnos MrotatorTShort, PTGui, PS CS3, and lots of other software :-)
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2005-09-20
#3
I am new to pano photography and have not sold any commercial images yet. But I would treat Pano Photography the same as I would with the rest of my business. I seperate shooting from production.

Since I am by no means an expert photographer, I don't charge expert fees for shooting, unless of course I am hiring an expert photographer. I have a low day rate and a low half-day rate plus expenses (including mileage if more than 25 miles away). It's not the client's fault if I have to shoot extra because I'm not yet proficient in determining the correct exposures. It also doesn't matter how many shots I take since it's all digital.

As far as production is concerned, I charge the same as I would for any Photoshop job that I do (which I am an expert at), which is based on an hourly rate that is comparable to what others charge in my area. But I don't charge by the hour. I try to figure how many hours I need to complete the job and calculate the charge and then give the client a range for an estimate. Then I stay within that range.

So let's take your RV park as an example. 20 panos plus stills would probably be a full day (guessing approx. 15 minutes per pano plus extra to shoot the stills).

It takes me about 1/2 hour per pano to stitch, color-correct and manually blend each pano. That may sound like a long time, but I'm not talking about quick real estate type shots. So we're at 10 hours. then 15 minutes each for the stills -- let's say 10 stills. So that adds 2.5 hours for a total of 12.5 hours just to work on the images. Putting together a tour with that many images would probably take me about 2 hours (keeping it conservative). So now we're at 14.5 hours. My normal production rate is . . . Well, I'm not sure if it's against forum rules to tell you. But you should put your own numbers in to figure it out for your own purposes.

Don't forget expenses like prints and CDs. Also, this could lead to a website too. Which is another whole ball of wax.
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2005-09-22
#4

Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate you guys posting your thoughts. Below I write about my thoughts on pricing for the high end part of the market. It is hard to convey emotion in writing. So please do not think I am addressing you two directly becasue I am not. Only the topic at hand.

It is interesting that both of you based your pricing advice on an hourly rate. I think hourly rates are ok for economically priced real estate tours. But when it comes to high end full screen work hourly rates are not the way to go. First your images are worth considerably more and calculating the worth should not be based on a simple hourly rate schedule.

I have done considerable research on photography rates. Most of the information is based on traditional print photography because there is very limited information on rates for panoramic photograpy. There is however information for high resolution print panoramas. But again very limited information on web site panoramas.

Further, film photographers generally look down their noses at digital photographers. It is a new world now with the internet. On-line publications are kicking the crap out of some of the big magazines. It is only a matter of time before the digital photographer makes the money.

Shooting stills and shooting panoramas are obviously completly different. A panoram is a full environment. Just because it is a panorama does not make it a good one even if it is"technically perfect". It is even harder to make a good pano because you have to compose the entire scene 360x360 not just a single frame. I think that most good film photographers will fail miserably when shooting a panorama. It is just totally different. You have to think in 3 dimesions not 2.

It is my opinion a "very good" pano is still a single point in time just like a still is BUT it is MUCH harder to make this a "great" image than a simple single frame still. When I take panos I never shoot an object I shoot emotion. I look at my images as art. I want to capture a feeling, a sound, a taste, an emotion, an event.

The value of a "great" panoramic image is worth many time more than a single "great" still. How many stills do you have to take to cover the same scene a single pano can. It is not the same. The person looking at your pano is free to explore the image at any angle, at any point and is free to interpret the image in many differents way on the same image. Amazing. You just can't get that kind of reaction from a single still or even many stills. The may feal humor at one angle and feal adventours at another agnle within the same image. The artistic posibelites are unlimited.

Now take these thoughts and convert them to "advertising photography". Take the RV scenario. The tour is 6 images for a particular set.
1. inside the the RV
2. outside the RV with a camping scene -  Awning, chairs, people enjoying themselves. etc.
3. The lake scene with all the wildlife and nature and the RV in the close distance.

This "tour" can create a powerful fealing that the RV company would like to impart upon the potential customer. It can show the RV is a totally different way than a series of stills. I argue  that this is a better way, a more powerful method of conveying the advertisers message to the customer.

This brings me to the VALUE of the image. Even though I may have produced the image in X amount of hours that does not factor in the "creative power" of the image I created as a photographer. First these images are worth way more than a series of stills and second the artistic skill to create this is of considerable worth.

Now lets get to the "intended use" of the images. They may only be used on their web site but they may also be used on a mail out CD marketing campaign. Or be used on kiosks. Perhaps dislplayed on large plasma screens at a trade show. They may be converted to a large print or even converted for a large double truck pring ad in a national magazine.

The intended  use also determines the price. This concept is not new. Film photographers have charged this way since photography was invented. And we as panoramic photographers should not be treated any different.

When I look at my hourly time sheet which I keep for all jobs I average out the hours and the final price. This is just a easy way for me to judge the value of my work. This number should never be below $50 and I attempt on every job to make this come out to $100. To  me this is cheap. I am striving to make this number around $250 to $500.

My training, knowledge and artistic skill is worth just as much as any lawyer, doctor or architect (ie professional rate) as opposed to "skilled labor". I am not a "skilled laboror". Any monkey can turn a wrench or pound a nail but when it comes to making great photos that is in the professional level of income. I did not go to college and I don't have a fancy marketing or photography degree but that does not matter. What matters is the product I deliver.

When you start thinking about the marketing possibilites of panoramas the artistic qualities become endless.

In the RV example of 6 images above consider the logistics and advertising message that is intended for the tour. This may involve all or some of the following.

1. Hiring models to make up the "family".
2. Locating and acquiring the needed "props" such as cars, boats, furniture, clothing and other items however small such as plates, food on the grill and such to really create a compelling image
3. Securing a location to shoot.
4. Dealing with weather conditions and the needs of the crew
5. Difficlulty in actually getting the camera in the right location to shoot.
6. The time in hours actually shooting.
7. Story boarding the shoot or otherwise planning the scene before the shoot even takes place.
8. The meeting with the client to determing there needs and what the marketing campaign will entail so that the images can be matched to the clients theme or idea.
9. And about 10 other things I have forgotten at the moment.

The client knows nothing of all this. They are hiring you to orchistrate this whole event and deliver panorama that will blow them away.

You can charge an hourly rate for some of this stuff and of course the "job costs" will be added to the price but what the client is really paying for is "your" photographic skill and creative ability to produce what they need.

Heck, after writing all this I think I need to be thinking in the $10,000 range.

Just to be complete it should be noted I could walk in and pitch them with the great advantage of panos. Quote something like $1000 and then proceed to walk around the lot and get a few panos of "oppurtunity". Show it to them and get $750 after negotiations.

EXCEPT, that is just what I am not going to do. I am striving to get out of the low end shutter bug market. Panos are worth way more than what real estate gents or some crappy hotel can or would pay. Besides that is just worken for a linving. I on the way to much greener pastures. Any body want to come along.????

General Lee

 

 

 

 

How

 


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2005-09-23
#5

Hi Gen. Lee

I agree with you 100%. It really dependts on what you want to achieve. Thats why I wrote:

Quote

You can charge top $ for top work. Lets say you would take an interior shot of a SUV and you make it really perfect. This one pano alone could be worth 5000 USD.

Unquote

So if you get models out to the nature, set up a whole sceneary and all that stuff. Yes you charge more of course. But then again you will have higher costs as well.

All I wanted to say is that just because a client is willing to pay 1000 USD for a 250 USD Pano I would not sell it to him at that price. Just not the way I do business.

Markus


Nikon D70s, Sigma 8 mm, 4 to 12 shots, Agnos MrotatorTShort, PTGui, PS CS3, and lots of other software :-)
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2005-09-23
#6

Hi Marktold,

Right, I know that is what you meant. And I was not suggesting one charge more because the client has more money. Its a question of value to the customer. 

Take an image you decided to shoot for stock uses. Say this is a shot you planned and used props. Not that big a deal. A fishing scene for example. You pick the scnenery/location and get a friend to be the fisherman or even take a pano of oppurtunity at a fishing pier.

Now you sell this pano to a big company selling fishing equipment. And you sell it to a small company with only a few stores.

This image has different value to each of these customers.

The big company will use this image on a heavily marketed web site that gets thousands of hits and sells lots of product. The value to them is how much the image can produce in sales.

The small company doesn't have much online sales but does book fishing charters. They have a smaller amount of sales. The value to them is not as much because they have limitied audience but do want to have a compelling pano as a part of their charter fishing page.

This kind of blends into intended use as well. It is likley the big company will want to use the pano for other uses like on  CD's given out at the store.

But the big company should pay more for the same pano than the small company. It is about the "value" of the image and that changes from client to client.

True about the models and prop stuff costing more to create. But as this difficlulty and cost increases so does the skill and effort to produce it and that makes the same image worth even more. The difference between this is exponential. It is not equal. All things equal this kind of image shoud generate twice as much profit as a simpliar image. It is just worth more. It's value is higher as well. Besides, the skill to compose this kind of pano is considerable. And that alone is worth a significant amount more than the "standard" rate.

Am I out of my mind. Have I been blinded by the light.??? It is uncharted territory so I could be wrong here. But looking closley at film photography rates for advertising photography  we can construct a similar set of costs and profit. I think all things equal panos are like a new kind of product. A hybrid of video and print. It potential value to advertisors is tremendous but the advertiser don't know that yet.

Studio panoramic photography is un heard of. I have never seen or known about any photographers producing studion panoramic work. But this aspect of the panoramic market is going to take off. It is ready to be tapped now. The customers just don't know enough about it. It is like "whhhaaaaat isss that", "is it video". I had a client I called on tell me "we can't put any pictures on our web site", he then acted like , sorry not interested. I asked him if he could put links on and he said yes. The deal was back on. Its that kind of ignorance that kills a deal.

I recently called every major news agency and pitched them for panos of Hurricane Katrina damage and relief efforts. I got to the AP news digital department after some creative calling. I talked to the editor. He even looked at my portfolio page while we were on the phone. He listened to my pitch and said "well we don't really do many of those". I asked him about who else was doing them and he confirmed what I already knew. ONLY the washington post was putting up panos on thier web site. How is it that pano's have not taken off in news and documentary photography. It is a "techno" barrier. It is like the old days when my clients would ask  me "is AOL the internet". Also to make matters worse the this segment of the market is completly dominated by old school film guys. They look at guys like us who shoot all digital as geeks with cameras. You know, photoshoping, RAW developing, and ohhhhh that mysterious panoramic stuff that you have to be computer genius to make. LOL

You would expect the advertising agencys to be utilizing panoramas in thier web marketing projects. But I will be damned if I can find any panos on even the largest of web sites. They do exist but it is rare to find one.

General Lee


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2005-09-23
#7

I disagree with you on the fishing scene pano example.

It's like ford would charge you more if you use a car for your business with 100'000 miles a year or an old lady who drives for grocaries only 2000 miles / year.

The price is the same.

What I agree on is that a Ford Explorer could have a different Price then a Lincoln Navigator. It might be the same car (pano) but its built differntly.

So unless I would have put more effort into the fishing pano I would still sell at the same price as for the small fishing shop.

If you want Harrison Ford dressed up in the river doing fly fishing. -> yes I would charge more.

But I alos agree that we can or must distinguish us from one shot shooters.

Regards Markus


Nikon D70s, Sigma 8 mm, 4 to 12 shots, Agnos MrotatorTShort, PTGui, PS CS3, and lots of other software :-)
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2005-09-26
#8

Don't forget that the photographers making the big bucks are "big-bucks" photographers. I can take a wonderful, technically perfect, beautifully-shot pano. But still it won't command the same pricetag as other more established, still photographers. I just don't have the name behind me. And it won't matter what the use is for.

So for me, a no-name photographer, I need to base my charges on an unspecified hourly rate to be sure I'm making money. After calculating the cost, I give the client an estimate range (i.e. $1200 - $1800) without specifying an hourly charge. The only time I charge by the hour is with on-going revisions (retouching an image to death).

BTW, Gen. Lee, selling photography on technical merit probably won't help much. Editors and other clients don't much care about the VR setup, how much Photoshop you know, how convenient digital is over film, blah, blah blah. Find out what matters to them and sell your photography to satisfy that need. If being the first online newspaper to prominently showcase panos is it, focus on that. If the advantage of panos over stills is it's ability to tell the story better by putting the viewer inside the photo, then focus on that. It has been my experience that instead of telling the customer how great I am at what I do, it's better to show them how much better they can be by using my services.