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Aerial Photo Shoot - What Should I Charge?  
User currently offlineAndrewUber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 40
Posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 11051 times:

An airline has asked me to do a photo shoot of an upcoming even where they will have a TON of heavies on their ramp, and I'm trying to figure out what to charge them. Here's a LITTLE background info that will be necessary:

I am the "official" photographer for the airline, and I receive benefits for providing the photos.

I do charge them for prints, but it's usually a very modest fee, covering the expense of the print and the frames.

I will have to rent an airplane, and either take a pilot with me or use an instructor for an hour as I will be preoccupied with cameras and lenses.... I don't want to be on the news for losing control and crashing while trying to get a photo or two!!!

My question is - what should I charge them? Is there a normal "fee" for aerial photography? I was thinking about the a/c rental (probably around $100) and a fellow pilot (any volunteers???), plus a couple hours of my time...

I don't want to rip the airline a new one, but at the same time I want to be appropriately compensated.

Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!

D r e w  wave 


I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 11028 times:

Quoting AndrewUber (Thread starter):
Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated!

Why not give them a list of the things you need...plane, pilot, etc... and then quote them a price based on your going rate for the time, processing and prints? I'm sure the 'airline' has many contacts and can round up a plane and pilot.


User currently offlineAndrewUber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 11024 times:

Quoting JeffM (Reply 1):
Why not give them a list of the things you need...plane, pilot, etc... and then quote them a price based on your going rate for the time, processing and prints? I'm sure the 'airline' has many contacts and can round up a plane and pilot.

Under "normal" conditions that would work - but the reason they turn to me is because I provide a complete service, and they don't have the time to deal with all the little details (especially now with their traffic tripling for the next month).

All they want is an e-mail with high res photos and an invoice attached.

Drew



I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 11010 times:

I would start by simply adding up all of the material costs to you - aircraft hire, pilot (unless you employ a friend or someone else willing to fly free of charge...), prints, etc.

Then, based on the total time and effort you've put towards it, add a profit amount which you think adequately compensates you. Is the airline in question a major, or a relatively small operation? Depending, I would think that something around $200-800 profit would be reasonable.

Cheers, and good luck with it.


User currently offlineIngemarE From Sweden, joined Mar 2005, 285 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10978 times:

Drew,
I think that there are about as many "normal" fees for aerial-photography jobs, as there are aerial-photographers out there!

When I've done them, I applied sort of a "Robin Hood-payscale".
The old lady with the little cottage in the middle of nowhere didn't have to pay as much as the couple who wanted to have a picture taken of their mansion-ish estate. However, the old lady still had to cover for my expenses. In your case I'd say you're dealing with the other end of the pay-scale.  Wink

Other than that, make sure to get a hold of a driver that knows how to slow-flite (relativel) close to the ground,...."lest the earth will rise up and smite thee!"  eyepopping  As you mentioned,...you wouldn't want to end up on "the wrong side of the news". Right!?

Also make sure what type of insurances that might apply, since you are doing a commercial photo-job in an aircraft, and not just the random fly-around-shooting-at-everything deal. Things have probably changed since I was in the US back in '98-99, so make sure to cover your behind!!  Wink
FAR's might have changed as well, so I think your best pilot would probably be a CFI who also do some meat-bombing every now and then. (He knows the reg's and how to slow-flite!!  Wink )



In thrust I trust.
User currently offlineAviatorG From St. Lucia, joined Apr 2005, 264 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 10933 times:

Quoting AndrewUber (Thread starter):
I don't want to be on the news for losing control and crashing while trying to get a photo or two!!!

- Don't think that would be good, especially for the airline you represent  flamed 

Quoting QantasA332 (Reply 3):
I would start by simply adding up all of the material costs to you - aircraft hire, pilot (unless you employ a friend or someone else willing to fly free of charge...), prints, etc.

-  checkmark  Great suggestion. Its easy and very effective to work out costs this way. Also, you may want to consider planning a route around the airport (or location) you want the pilot to fly.Doing so may give you more time to shoot, rather than point to where you want to go after takeoff. Contacting the local ATC where you will be operating prior to the set date may also get you some 'special' airspace transition allowances, providing better angles and aerial views as a result.


User currently offlineJetAv8r From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10921 times:

Andrew,

I've owned an aerial photography business for a little while now. We charge $200 per hour in the air, with a one hour minimum. It is broken down into $100 for the airplane (which we own, so you may need to adjust the price), $50 for the pilot, and $50 for the photographer. We also charge a $50 processing fee if the customer wants anything done with the photos. Our average invoice is around $300 and most of that is profit. The only true overhead we have is the gas seeing as how we would have the plane and I would have the camera with or without the company. If I were you I would just try to make sure I made $50 per hour after all the expenses are paid.


Alex.


User currently offlineCalgaryBill From Canada, joined May 2006, 686 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10868 times:

I approach any photography "suppliers" as standard subcontractors. If it's something easy to arrange (such as booking an airplane) then tack 15% onto your cost when you invoice the client. For more complex "supplies" such as the pilot (who you will have to spend time with planning the shoot, etc) add 30%. Even though they are providing the service, you still have to account for the time you spend organizing all the work.

Quoting AviatorG (Reply 5):
Contacting the local ATC where you will be operating prior to the set date may also get you some 'special' airspace transition allowances, providing better angles and aerial views as a result.

This is very good advice. The only thing I'd do differently is meet with the pilot, plan the shoot, then have him/her contact ATC, airport authority etc to get special permission. As a pilot myself, I'd never bite if a photographer said "don't worry, I've got special permission for us..."  Smile

Quoting IngemarE (Reply 4):
Other than that, make sure to get a hold of a driver that knows how to slow-flite (relativel) close to the ground,...."lest the earth will rise up and smite thee!"

I'm not sure which country you plan to shoot in, but in Canada it's illegal to fly lower than 1,000 feet over a built-up area. And unless you have special permission from ATC, you'll likely be restricted to 1,500 and above over the airport. At those altitudes slow flight in a small plane won't be necessary as things go by slowly even at 80 kts.

Preferences for a plane would include a C177 (Cardinal) or C210 as neither have struts to get in the way. But some of them have sealed windows and shooting through old plexiglass isn't fun...

B


User currently offlineBoeingOnFinal From Norway, joined Apr 2006, 476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10842 times:

JetAv8r: That's gotta be one nice job, and a nice way to collect hours as well. A little OT, but I'm curious: Do you rent an aircraft from your local club, or do you own/lease?
Are there any legal issues with selling photographs taken from a rented plane without making some sort of an arrangement with the club first?



norwegianpilot.blogspot.com
User currently offlineJetAv8r From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10828 times:

BoeingonFinal,

It is a great job. My partner in the business owns the airplane (a 172) we do the photos from. He also owns a flight school, but we rarley use those three airplanes for reasons I'll exlpain later. I also have an airplane that we can shoot out of if we need to, but the 172 works much better.

There is a huge insurance problem with using a rented airplane. Almost all schools have in their insurance policy that no airplane shall be used for commercial purposes outside of school business. So unless you actually partner up with the flight school you maybe in serious trouble if you bend the plane on an aerial photography flight.


Alex.

P.S. Pay the pilot if you take one along, even if it is a friend. It would not be very fair to keep all the money to yourself when he or she is provided a required service.


User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10811 times:

Hope you have good weather and you let us know how it goes when you complete the project.

Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
User currently offlineSkyexRamper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10732 times:

Quoting JetAv8r (Reply 9):
There is a huge insurance problem with using a rented airplane. Almost all schools have in their insurance policy that no airplane shall be used for commercial purposes outside of school business.

The FBO/flight school I work for does photo flights ( cessna 172) for any photographer. The CFIs detach the support arm of the window so that the airflow holds the window in the upright position against the wing.

But for the subject matter at hand. Charge them for all cost associated with this photo shoot, the prints or digital files and 15-20% over for your commission.


User currently offlineJetAv8r From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 10695 times:

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 11):
The FBO/flight school I work for does photo flights ( cessna 172) for any photographer. The CFIs detach the support arm of the window so that the airflow holds the window in the upright position against the wing.

That would not be outside of flight school business then.

Alex.


User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 10678 times:

The airport I used to keep my Ercoupe tied down in Dayton would use their Cessna 150 for photo work by taking the door off. It was a Part 61 school so there was more latitude for doing sightseeing rides than a Part 141 shool would have. When I did my commercial pilot oral exam, there was much discussion about what could be done with the new license I was going for. Sightseeing and aerial photographers were accepted since it was not carrying persons or cargo from point A to B for hire. For the three aerial photography companies I worked for, we did not take non-employees aloft to do photography.
Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
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