United StatesRate for still photographer on independent feature
I'm hoping you can assist. I've been asked to be the still photographer on an independent feature which will be shot in Ireland by a U.S. company. This will be a work for hire (the production co will own the copyrights) and the estimated budget for the film is 4 million dollars.
Since it's a work for hire I will supply the production co with RAW files and will not be responsible for post production work.
The producer has advised that the still photographer will work 20 days at 150 euros per day for a total of 3,000 euros. The 20 days will cover days on set (entire shoot is 28 days) and a week of prep for photos which will be featured in a key scene.
Re: the key scene mentioned above. The producer wants me to create a number of images which will be featured in a key scene. Again, I will not be responsible for post production or printing of these photos. However, because these images are not documenting the film and are being created to be featured within the film it's my contention to keep the ownership of these copyrights. Any thoughts? Should a different rate be negotiated for these images? Right now it's tied into the day rate of 150 euros.
Lastly, what are you thoughts on the day rate. Does this seem reasonable?
Thank you for any insight you can offer.
One thing I like to point out is the film industry is quite use to paying for rentals. On top of your creative fee and usage fee you can often get equipment rental and expenses paid. Even if you own the equipment you can submit a kit/rental fee.
It's been my experience here in Canada that a $4mill (and lower) indie feature will usually pay $350/day - $500/day but that includes your kit fee (you do charge a kit fee don't you?)
Larger budgets (above $10mill) are on the order of $500/day-$750/day + $150/day-$300/day for kit.
I think it really depends on the film. In the past I have done shooting on several low budget films in the US and the negotiated fee was indeed $500.00 per day. This was back almost 10 years ago which is why my range went from $500 to $750. I do realize that I meant to say USD and it was marked with EUR currency by mistake
I cannot exactly give an answer to your question, but I like to share my experiences. I did some stills for commercials for a UK company shot on my home turf Japan and got paid $1,000/day for the shooting part alone. Commercials probably have a higher budget than movies (if you compare the production cost vs the length of the final product) but I heard later that I was on the lower end of the pay rate. Damn. Where was Shakodo 2 years ago?
Additionally a Japanese movie production licensed some of my already existing and model released pictures to be used in a Japanese movie as a major plot point and was paid $500 for the license to be shown in the movie in theaters and on DVD, but not in stills (it’s a plot point, so they don't reveal it beforehand). The movie budget was about $1,000,000 which is quite a lot for an indie movie in Japan and probably compares to a 10mill production in the USA, so I am not unhappy with the $500 for the license and the pictures are maybe shown for a max of 2 seconds in the movie, printed on a flyer and held in the hand of the main actor.
I don't know how this compares to the USA, so I leave the price open.
The average rate for still work on a feature of this size is typically $500 to $750 plus all expenses and it is typically work for hire which also means that you have no rights to even show the files in your portfolio. Remember that WFH means that you do not own it. For the photography that is going to be part of the film you should totally separate that as an entirely different contract. Whether they will allow you to do this with you retaining copyright or not is likely going to be a bone of contention. That said to determine a fair price will depend on if the usage is only in the film or whether it is also used in promotion of the film and how long on screen those images will be present. The fee for this could be $2500 to $5000 depending on these variables.