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Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 12:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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For those of you who have to give a quote for a project and [shoot digital], how do you expense for film (card). Back in the day, you would buy a roll of film for $X.xx and then invoice for the cost plus a mark up. With digital cams, the card is used over and over again. so I am wondering when quoting for a job, how do you allocate the expense for the digital media?

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Re: Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 12:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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same way you do for your camera.
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Re: Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's the same as allocating costs for any reusable piece of equipment - either build it into a base rate or add an equipment charge to the quote.
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Re: Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 02:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That is part of using digital, you don't itemize that. Is part of the whole deal.

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Re: Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The original cost of digital is much higher than it is with a film camera. So it might make sense to consider the pricing as if you were shooting film. A roll of 24 exposures would cost how much and base your 24 shots with a digital camera accordingly. Could be one possible way to do this anyways.

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Re: Expensing for digital film
Old 08-22-2005, 07:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The card cost should be built into your overhead, same as camera, lights etc.,

Some photographers don't "own" any equipment so the rental of all the equipment ( including cards) is quoted.

Otherwise just build it into your fees.

What you should bill separately for and make sure you budget for is the digital processing fees... the time it takes you to download, sort, process and archive your digital files. This used to be lab fees, but now that you may be doing this yourself you should charge for it.

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Thanks all (nt)
Old 08-22-2005, 07:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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.
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digital processing fee
Old 08-22-2005, 07:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Clients are under the mistaken impression that now that we don't have film & processing to charge for, and the cards are reusable, there should be no processing fee. WRONG. As GRS says, you now charge a "digital processing fee", which can be per hour, or something like $100 for each 100 imagess. In the old days, you'd shoot a job drop the film at the lab, go have dinner, come back, look at your snips, go home, go to the lab, pick up with film, edit it, sleeve it, deliver it. Now you have no excuse to take time out for dinner or sleeping. You're spending hours editing, converting, organiztion, building review pages, burning to CDs & DVDs to deliver to the client and/or archive, so that's what the digital processing fee covers. How much is up to you, but some guys charge $100/job, some $100 per 100 images (probebly depending on how much work they put into the review images). In the end, it should work out to about the same as if you were still shooting film. When/if the the client balks, remind them that not only are you archiving the images for their protection, and that the storage is easier, but they don't have to pay for scans anymore. If you want to build this into your shoot fee thats up to you, but most pros break it out seperately. Some actually have a lab do that work (the same labs that did film, and now using super fast computers to process RAW images and make proof sheets overnnite).

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Old 08-22-2005, 08:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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<CENTER></CENTER>
At this point I feel silly answering a question that's already been well covered by Andy and Glen, but I have already written it and so you have to read it.

You are asking a good question, one that has a lot of people trying to figure out how to handle the issues involved. First, as we all know in the old days (like two years ago) you had your day rate/hourly rate, and expenses. As part of those expenses we typically we billed film out at $35 roll (or something like that) which covered the film, processing and pickup/delivery expenses.

Now, we have digits. The (not so) conventional wisdom of clients is digits are free. Wrong. True, I don't buy digits (okay, once when you buy the card), but the film developing expense is now replaced by my time in front of a computer downloading images, doing basic processing (opening and converting raw files, adjusting levels, maybe a color or saturation tweak), and then burning the cd(s). That's my time (and skill set) which used to be regulated to a third party (the lab). How do you bill for that, it's not in your day rate or your hourly rate? You have several options, one is to have a rate per image (say $50/$100 for 100 images) or one which I've adopted for most jobs which is a flat rate per job (typically I figure in $200 which also covers basic set up and local travel). The client is still getting a deal, the final product I'm delivering is ready for use without having to get scans done.

Now, none of this involves any retouching (that's available and I bill separately), just basic batch processing and cd burning for the most part. If you expose your images properly and have sufficient experience with your camera so you have confidence in your color parameters, processing should be pretty straight forward. But it does take time, and my time and skill set are what I sell.

John

PS, It's funny to see how closely these expense charges match with photographers with whom I have never discussed this problem. Go figure.
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