An Art Producer Shares Her Approach to Estimating. Thank you Kim Roemer.

More and more both art producers and photographers a like ask the same questions when it comes to estimating.  Art Producers are interested in how other art producers are handling the process, what challenges they are facing and how they are handling them.   Photographers are feeling more and more in a vacuum and alone when it comes to the process and often do not have resources they can ask the questions they have.  I have posted these questions before but still think they are relevant.  Thank you Kim Roemer, Senior Art Producer at Inventiv Health for your insights.

1) How often are you asked to triple bid a project?  And, is there ever is a clear first choice, do you let that person know they are the recommend?
Unless we are doing a second part to a prior shoot, we always triple bid jobs.  Overall I feel like it’s a wise approach to business and that we owe our clients options.  When there is a clear first choice I do let that person know.

2)  Sometimes after a photographer bids a job, they will not hear back in regards to the outcome.  Can you shed some light on why that may be?
I have heard this from a lot of reps and photographers and know it’s really difficult for them and I understand this. I think circling back with the photographers/reps is something that must be done  out of kindness and respect.  Over the years when I have dropped the ball and haven’t done so it’s because I forgot to do so in the midst of the zaniness….likely this is the case for most other producers as well.
Perhaps another reason producers don’t update the studios  as a rule is that they don’t want to field questions from the reps or photographers which can sometimes be uncomfortable.

3)  We all know there are many reasons for a photographer not getting a project.  Besides the obvious of price or creative, can you share some other reasons that they may not be awarded a project?
More often than not, the lead creative on the project has had prior experience with a particular shooter and wants to hire them.

4) What sort of things are you dealing with on your end to get an estimate approved? We all know it is not always as easy as presenting a photo estimate for approval.  What other things could your client be considering at the same time that could hold up the process?  There are so many things, big and little, that hold up an approval.  Literally sometimes its the availability of the person who needs to sign the paperwork and get it back to us – sooooo frustrating!!  Other things are: there are a number of people on the client end that need to approve or there is a lack of understanding on the client end about the production basics and they have a lot of questions which can drag things out.

5)  Do you share budgets when they are available?  Why or why not?  It depends.  If I am given a budget that I know will be hard to hit, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time so I give it to reps/photographers upfront.  Sometimes (but not often) folks bow out right away but if they move forward with estimating, they at least know what they have to work with from the beginning. If I have a rich budget, I sometimes won’t share that as I think that the job could be produced for less and sharing the number could possibly inflate the estimates.

6) What is your client’s/agency’s policy surrounding advances on projects?  What do you do as an art producer to help facilitate that process?  And, what can a photographer do to help it along as well?
Our policy is that we give 50% of overall budget plus 100% of talent fees as we ask that talent get paid by photographer’s producer. I find that advances are harder and harder to facilitate on the agency side.  The big challenge is time – as we all well know: sometimes a shoot sneaks up out of nowhere.   If a client’s pay terms are 30 days, they have to jump through many hoops to get funds to us and do so outside of the typical process which is often problematic.  Producers at our agency have made it a rule to start having conversations with account services about this part of the process as soon as we hear about a photo shoot.  We discuss the notion that the money will need to come quickly and how the production will stall without it. Really the only thing a photographer can do to help this along is to send the advance invoice as quickly as they can for processing.

8)  What mis-perception about the estimating process from your end would you like photographers to have an clearer understanding of based on your experiences?
I don’t know that it’s a mis-perception but I am as transparent and honest as I can be throughout the process.  Good producers  want to get their clients the best creative for the budget while also building solid relationships with folks in the business they admire and love working with.

9 thoughts on “An Art Producer Shares Her Approach to Estimating. Thank you Kim Roemer.

  1. Love these articles. For photographers, bidding is such a frustrating process. Especially when there is a large project in the works and you lose the project based on what the art producer says was a coin flip. Nothing can be done, you have to surrender yourself to the process.

  2. Circling back to the photographer is a big deal to me. I understand people are busy, but after spending the better part of the day preparing an estimate, a simple email with “thanks” goes a long way.

    • I agree – and given how much time and effort goes into it by many people, more than a thanks is even more appreciated! Most people do reply but it is always interesting when someone does not. Thanks for reading!

  3. Great article, thanks for posting this Heather. I’m curious to know how much ‘back and forth’ there typically is with the photographer of choice, or if it’s just a matter of looking at the estimate and accepting/rejecting it as is?

    Definitely agree about circling back with the photographer too, a quick email is always appreciated!

  4. Hi there! Thanks for reading and posting. Yes, there is back and forth for sure. How much depends on how complicated the project is and how interested the agency is in the photographer. Each job varies. Happy holidays!

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