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  • Sean Whitmore

3 comprehensive ways to sell your video and photo work to higher clientele

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Video and photo content are all the rage these days. From production companies to the solo videographer content is the name of the game. Selling is the most essential part in any business because without it, well you don't have a business. So I am here to give some tips and tricks on how you can walk out of sales meetings with confidence, give some real world advice and get you that double digit project!


I have broken down an easy to understand 3 step method attached with a budget and profit spreadsheet to help structure your video or photo project.

Step One | Know Your Video or Photo Project


Knowing your project and business is an absolute must. Early in my career as a videographer and photographer I would take whatever came my way and try and do it all myself. Years later I am coming to know that I cannot do everything by myself and having help around me is essential. How do you know where you fit in though? Easy. Knowing production and how it works is the base line of knowing your project. In video and photo production you can break down the project into three separate elements.

  1. Pre-Production

  2. Production

  3. Post- Production

Pre- Production is the beginning phase of where the project stems from. In this phase you calculate how much time it will take to produce, and creatively direct the project. Under these there are man hours attached to making the concept come to life and where I wish I would've charged more in the beginning of my career. But what goes under producing and creatively directing you might ask and what costs are associated with it? Underneath producing and creative direction you will have costs associated with crew assembly, production logistics, talent acquisition (if you don't have a casting director) location scouting, script writing, and voice over talent to name a few. I never realized just how much time and energy this took but to create a professional product it was imperative that I fully understood just what all went into the front end of the project.


In the production phase of the project better known as principle production you will have all of the parts come together and have cost associated with crew labor which can include but is not limited to Director of Photography, Camera Operator, Field Producer, Grip, Gaffer, 1st AC, 1st AD, Production Assistant and beyond. This is where all of the planning and front end work comes together to execute. There are a lot of tips and tricks associated with this part of production outside of selling which you can read more on here.


In the post- production phase you link and put all the puzzle pieces together. Considering cost of this is paramount and is broken down like so.

  1. Editing

  2. Motion Graphics

  3. Sound Design

  4. Color Grading

  5. Audio Mastering

  6. Video Archival

A really great video editor will know the ends and outs of all of these however in higher budgets these are usually sent out to specialists and over seen by the creative director. Keep this in mind however as if you are a solo videographer your value stems from knowing this and bidding your project accordingly.






Step 2 | Add Strategic Value


Positioning yourself as an expert in your field and having a clean and organized portfolio of work automatically elevates your perceived value. Perceived value is a staple in this industry because it is all visual. Clients want to see and feel couple of things.

  1. Visual capabilities

  2. Will this solve my problem of making my brand look the best that it can

  3. Will these visuals extend my brand reach in the form of entertainment, education or emotional draw.

  4. Will this hire allow me to have minimal oversight so I can focus on my job.

Stemming from knowing your project and having experience in your industry and theirs you can take the client on head first and have a good feeling of exactly what they are looking for before they even have to speak. This takes time but is essential in providing the end value. For example when I sell my projects I spend 80-90% of the first conversation asking what the project is about, where they want it to land, how they want it to influence and internally relating it to other projects that I have done in the past.


I then think strategically on it and begin telling them our mission which is to capture and curate high quality media assets that they can use for their marketing efforts now and in the future. That is internally followed up by knowing the projects I've done in the past and re-linking them to "Step One | Knowing your project." This way I can confidently and transparently explain the process and all that goes into it which adds strategic value and justifies the end price.


We are past the days of just being hired to document, we are now being used for a higher purpose in the digital age which helps supplement marketing efforts for brands. Our content has to be brand aligned, Search Engine Optimizable, and visually intriguing. Why is this? Because you are there to help make them MONEY! One of my biggest mistakes in the past, especially shooting concerts and events was shooting what I thought looked cool where in reality those event clients were looking to me to document not the artists that I thought were awesome but to document the full fan experience. Thinking strategically on a level of diversifying a clients content plan and explaining it to them in a thoughtful and elegant way will be a sure fire way to set you apart from other content creators in the industry.



Zhu | Camp Nowhere Texas | Austin, Texas


Structure & Pricing


As a beginner in this industry it was easy to have a client say "Hey! Love your content will you shoot this or that." which was usually responded to with a "Hell yeah! My price is this, just send me a venmo?" Growing out of that I realize that professionalism, presentation of pricing and structure of legalities are super important.


My process of selling now includes a phone call/ meeting to understand the project -----> written proposal ------> fill out the Budget & Profit sheet ----> follow up phone call or meeting in person to discuss pricing and deliverables ----> written agreement with terms and attached proposal uploaded to DocuSign for e-signature ----> 50% deposit. With all of that behind us we can now start the production process.


I cannot stress enough how important this is to running a smooth transaction. The more communication and documentation you can have between you and the client the better for your protection and theirs. By doing this you will also position yourself as an expert and once again raise your perceived value which usually leads to repeat work with the same client.


In conclusion selling comes from building relationships and trust. The more you can be on the same level as your client and understand their needs the better chance you have of winning the bid.



Download your Budget & Profit Sheet Here.



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