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Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,184
New York, New York, US


Hey HMS members of MM. Thanks to some very eye opening misconceptions in another thread...I thought we should start fresh and set the record straight.

To all HMS members who are braking into paid jobs (not TF, specs or testing), welcome to:

Negotiation 101

The first and MOST important thing to understand is that to make a living in H/M/S, you need to treat it like a REAL business.
You need to have solid base rates to guide your negotiations.
And to set realistic rates you need to know what the majority of artists:
- at your experience level
- with similar credentials
- in your geographic market
are being paid for the jobs you are trying to book.
You're going to have to do some serious research to get this data, but it is essential. Once you have a good cross section of these rates, add them up and average them out. Take that number and raise it slightly. This will give you a good starting rate and will prevent you from accidentally undercutting anyone at your level.

IMPORTANT: Don't get stuck worrying about the Craigslist and MM "discount artist/stylist" - they aren't laying the foundation for a career by charging this way.  The "discount artist/stylist" is NOT your competition and will not be booking the jobs you want.  REPEAT: They are not competition for the jobs that will move your career forward.
Besides, they burn out faster than a match in the wind.

Never quote a rate until you know what the budget is. If the client or photographer refuses to tell you what they have budgeted for your job, there's something shady going on. Simply ask them to get back to you when they have the budget worked out.
That's not being bitchy or a "diva" (as some photographers on MM would chose to call it) - IT'S BUSINESS.

You don't have to be rigid about rates when you're the one doing the negotiating. Adjusting your rate for a project that offers advantages to move your career forward in a tangible way is totally acceptable. (tangible = it will get you more paid jobs)

Industry Standards for Booking (outside of "MM World")

Half or Full Day Rate:
Photo - Editorial/Commercial/Advertising
Film & Video - Music/Theatrical/Reality
Live Media Events - Press Junket/Satellite Tour/Runway/Fashion Show

SPECIAL NOTE: Runway/Fashion Shows can also be booked at a Flat Rate - but NEVER "Per Model".
EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE: Kit Fees are charged ONLY for Film & Video bookings.

Flat Rate or Per Client Rate:
Salon
Headshots
Glamour Studio
Special Event/ Bridal/Prom

EXTRA EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE: "Per Look" is a booking classification that does not exist outside of MM or GWC World. Please do not offer it to a legitimate, paying client outside of MM - it's will definitely damage your credibility.

I think that just about covers all the basics.

And to any of you reading this post who wish to HIRE an artist/stylist...
Always remember, you get what you pay for.
Aug 08 12 05:18 am  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
BodyPainter Rich
Posts: 17,899
Sacramento, California, US


EXCELLENT post.

I would add one thing.

Quote a rate that you, personally, will be happy with. If you underbid, or try to get "competitive" and end up working for less than you wish... you will end up doing a lesser job and likely not your energetic best.

It is important to feel like you are valued, and that you are motivated to do what you do.

I get that people need to pay bills, but the fact is that if you repeatedly do work at a rate you find inferior.... you will begin to feel inferior about your work. This is the path to self destruction.
Aug 08 12 08:09 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Susan Zeytuntsyan
Posts: 21
Los Angeles, California, US


Great thread! Thank you for this! smile Now my question is, how does one transition from doing tf work to charging? I am in that stage where I feel my work is good enough to start charging, and I have done research on rates in my area (Los Angeles). But, I am just not sure where to start. Since I am relatively "new," I know I can't charge over-the-top rates that are more appropriate for artists with years of experience, but I also do not want to undercharge either. I just need some advice on how to make this transition, and where that "middle ground" pricing for someone of my level may be. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Aug 08 12 09:30 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Jodie Acty
Posts: 44
Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom


Fantastic thread!  Bookmarked smile
Aug 08 12 09:39 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,184
New York, New York, US


Susan Zeytuntsyan wrote:
Great thread! Thank you for this! smile Now my question is, how does one transition from doing tf work to charging? I am in that stage where I feel my work is good enough to start charging, and I have done research on rates in my area (Los Angeles). But, I am just not sure where to start. Since I am relatively "new," I know I can't charge over-the-top rates that are more appropriate for artists with years of experience, but I also do not want to undercharge either. I just need some advice on how to make this transition, and where that "middle ground" pricing for someone of my level may be. Any advice would be much appreciated!

When you're graduating from assisting senior artists and striking out on your own...
You need to research what artists at your experience level are charging in your market and base your rates on an average between their highest and lowest. That's a good starting point.

The rule of thumb across the board is to always base your rates on artists that share your experience level and credentials - it's the best way to insure that you will be paid appropriately.

Aug 08 12 09:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,925
Los Angeles, California, US


KJ Bennett Beauty wrote:
When you're graduating from assisting senior artists and striking out on your own...
You need to research what artists at your level are charging in your market and base your rates on an average of their highest and lowest.

The rule of thumb across the board is to always base your rates on artists that share your experience level and credentials - it's the best way to insure that you will be paid appropriately.

AND be realistic as to what your level is. Maybe your level is, for some jobs like model tests, NOTHING because you need the photos more than you need money.

One thing about budgets- sometimes I am asked to get competitive bids. If i ask someone to give me a bid and they ask for my budget i usually just move on to the next artist.

I don't have time for games, and in LA it has become a game where no one will name a number first. If you can't give me a rate based on a breakdown of the day and expplanation of the usages for the images, I can't work with you.

You know what your rate is for a job based on 5 factors

1. time on set

2. location

3. photo usage

4. how much you want to work the job

5. complexity of the look and time to complete it

4- is important because maybe you bid lower for Harper's Bazaar than you do for some random lookbook designer. It may seem weird, but HB is a huge thing to have, and the random lookbook could turn into a nightmare and most likely won't ever be in your book anyway.

4 also takes in personal preferences. I just shot Dita Von Teese again, and asked for no money. Cause i wanted to shoot Dita again. Will also work for no pay for David Tennant. As long as they are non commercial shoots, I set my own rate depending on if i want the job. Commercial and even dreamy David has to pay me.

5- is important because depending on the number of models and complexity of the look you might need to budget for multiple assistants to make the completion of the look in the time allotted probable.

Aug 08 12 09:52 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


BodyPainter Rich wrote:
EXCELLENT post.

I would add one thing.

Quote a rate that you, personally, will be happy with. If you underbid, or try to get "competitive" and end up working for less than you wish... you will end up doing a lesser job and likely not your energetic best.

It is important to feel like you are valued, and that you are motivated to do what you do.

I get that people need to pay bills, but the fact is that if you repeatedly do work at a rate you find inferior.... you will begin to feel inferior about your work. This is the path to self destruction.

You just hit the nail on the head....  This is one of the major issues I have with budget artists... they feel like budget artists... and because they FEEL like bottom feeders they act like it on the job.   They sit around chatting on the phone all day... they move at a snails pace and they don't really take the job seriously because why should they? they know you can't get anyone cheaper, they know that they're being taken advantage of and they act accordingly

And try this in any area of life.... Get someone to believe they are worth very little and they will become worth very little...child psyhology 101.

  Generally people  fulfill their own perceptions of themselves, no more, no less. How they get this perception of themselves is complicated and out of your control as a client.... but someone that takes a very low paying job  (less then market rates)  does have a low perception of their value in the market place and you should expect them to act accordingly

Aug 08 12 09:56 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


Kevin.... I love your OP.... can I credit you and put this on my Q and A page?  I think it's very valuable
Aug 08 12 10:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David J Martin
Posts: 458
Amberg, Bavaria, Germany


Thanks for the education.  Any chance you could write more on the subject.  I would really be appreciative of more of your shared perspective and knowledge.
Aug 08 12 10:18 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lucinda Reilly
Posts: 114
Saint Paul, Minnesota, US


Kevin, thank you for this. I could have used this a week ago for sure. I am in an area where there were not many senior artists to assist when I started out (and the ones that were in town were extremely busy). The ones I reached out to early on were reserved when it came to shoptalk, so it has been a lot of guesswork and trial by fire over the years. I actually sat down about 5 years ago with a pile of printouts from the forums here and made a database of rates by region, and by the experience levels I saw in the work, and set my rates by comparison to experience level and city size and my old spa rates. I was buried under paperwork and highlighters and I'm not sure it was the best way, but I was desperate for that information. I just picked up a major corporate client, and I still question if I gave an appropriate rate  because  I didn't follow the above rule "Never quote a rate until you know what the budget is".
Aug 08 12 10:59 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
FacesByNiki
Posts: 51
Germantown, Maryland, US


*see's KJ's thread, sits up straight, opens it, grabs pen and paper, starts reading*
Aug 08 12 11:00 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Susan Zeytuntsyan
Posts: 21
Los Angeles, California, US


KJ Bennett Beauty wrote:
When you're graduating from assisting senior artists and striking out on your own...
You need to research what artists at your experience level are charging in your market and base your rates on an average between their highest and lowest. That's a good starting point.

The rule of thumb across the board is to always base your rates on artists that share your experience level and credentials - it's the best way to insure that you will be paid appropriately.

Noted. Thank you! smile

Aug 08 12 11:21 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LisaJohnson
Posts: 10,525
Nashville, Tennessee, US


What are some of the questions or information a photographer, art director or whoever is booking (calling) a makeup artist?  What should we, as artists expect to be asked by them?


Kevin, you need to write a book.  Call a publisher, stat.  This is invaluable.  Thank you.
Aug 08 12 12:48 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,184
New York, New York, US


Mary wrote:
Kevin.... I love your OP.... can I credit you and put this on my Q and A page?  I think it's very valuable

Absolutely Mary - I'm honored to make your Q&A page.  wink

Aug 08 12 12:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Wigs and Makeup Allison
Posts: 217
Austin, Texas, US


Thank you so much for this, KJB!

I lurk in here a lot, and I am always so impressed with how you handle yourself, even in the face of the most irrational arguments.  Thank you for continuing to share your knowledge--it says a lot about what a great person you are!
Aug 08 12 01:14 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,184
New York, New York, US


LisaJohnson wrote:
What are some of the questions or information a photographer, art director or whoever is booking (calling) a makeup artist?  What should we, as artists expect to be asked by them?


Kevin, you need to write a book.  Call a publisher, stat.  This is invaluable.  Thank you.

Interesting.
Come to think of it, the client doesn't do most of the questioning - I do.
And my questions are pretty similar to the ones Star has listed above.

1) Location(s) of the shoot.

2) Time frame (half or full day - daytime or nighttime shoot).

3) What will the images/video be used for?

4) How many people will I be working on and how long do I have with each of them (do I need an assistant)?

5) What is the intricacy or difficulty level of the "look(s)" (do I need an assistant)?

6) May I please have comp cards/headshots of the models/performers prior to the shoot?

6) Do they have a storyboard or inspiration images?

7) Who signs-off or has final approval on the finished look (client, photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

7)Who will be directing the shoot (photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

8) Who is my contact or point person on this shoot?


I know this sounds like a lot of questions, but trust me, I've never had a client complain that I was too well prepared.

Aug 08 12 01:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LisaJohnson
Posts: 10,525
Nashville, Tennessee, US


Thank you so much!  I have learned SO much more from this informational thread in one hour then years messing thru other posts.  Thank you.

KJ Bennett Beauty wrote:

Interesting.
Come to think of it, the client doesn't do most of the questioning - I do.
And my questions are pretty similar to the ones Star has listed above.

1) Location(s) of the shoot.

2) Time frame (half or full day - daytime or nighttime shoot).

3) What will the images/video be used for?

4) How many people will I be working on and how long do I have with each of them (do I need an assistant)?

5) What is the intricacy or difficulty level of the "look(s)" (do I need an assistant)?

6) May I please have comp cards/headshots of the models/performers prior to the shoot?

6) Do they have a storyboard or inspiration images?

7) Who signs-off or has final approval on the finished look (client, photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

7)Who will be directing the shoot (photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

8) Who is my contact or point person on this shoot?


I know this sounds like a lot of questions, but trust me, I've never had a client complain that I was too well prepared.

Aug 08 12 01:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Merenda Morris
Posts: 45
Memphis, Tennessee, US


KJ Bennett Beauty wrote:

Interesting.
Come to think of it, the client doesn't do most of the questioning - I do.
And my questions are pretty similar to the ones Star has listed above.

1) Location(s) of the shoot.

2) Time frame (half or full day - daytime or nighttime shoot).

3) What will the images/video be used for?

4) How many people will I be working on and how long do I have with each of them (do I need an assistant)?

5) What is the intricacy or difficulty level of the "look(s)" (do I need an assistant)?

6) May I please have comp cards/headshots of the models/performers prior to the shoot?

6) Do they have a storyboard or inspiration images?

7) Who signs-off or has final approval on the finished look (client, photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

7)Who will be directing the shoot (photographer, art director, video director, producer)?

8) Who is my contact or point person on this shoot?


I know this sounds like a lot of questions, but trust me, I've never had a client complain that I was too well prepared.

Writing these questions down as I type. I've been learning so much from KJB I have a mini booklet! These questions would have really come in handy this past weekend for me. Better now than never!

Aug 08 12 07:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Danielle Hampton
Posts: 1,558
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia


Thank you Kevin!
Aug 08 12 11:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Elin Laine
Posts: 6
Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden


Awesome thread!
Aug 09 12 03:02 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Maria T-E
Posts: 184
London, England, United Kingdom


Star wrote:
AND be realistic as to what your level is. Maybe your level is, for some jobs like llama tests, NOTHING because you need the photos more than you need money.

One thing about budgets- sometimes I am asked to get competitive bids. If i ask someone to give me a bid and they ask for my budget i usually just move on to the next artist.

I don't have time for games, and in LA it has become a game where no one will name a number first. If you can't give me a rate based on a breakdown of the day and expplanation of the usages for the images, I can't work with you.

You know what your rate is for a job based on 5 factors

1. time on set

2. location

3. photo usage

4. how much you want to work the job

5. complexity of the look and time to complete it

4- is important because maybe you bid lower for Harper's Bazaar than you do for some random lookbook designer. It may seem weird, but HB is a huge thing to have, and the random lookbook could turn into a nightmare and most likely won't ever be in your book anyway.

4 also takes in personal preferences. I just shot Dita Von Teese again, and asked for no money. Cause i wanted to shoot Dita again. Will also work for no pay for David Tennant. As long as they are non commercial shoots, I set my own rate depending on if i want the job. Commercial and even dreamy David has to pay me.

5- is important because depending on the number of llamas and complexity of the look you might need to budget for multiple assistants to make the completion of the look in the time allotted probable.

Thanks Mr KJB.. I always learn from u... Please come to London

Aug 09 12 04:11 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Talitha Williams
Posts: 61
Miami, Florida, US


Thank you for this!!! I needed it so much, as I am currently negotiating with a photographer about my makeup & hair rates for boudoir shoots...this has been helpful
Sep 08 12 12:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Linda Chudomelova
Posts: 133
Prague, Prague, Czech Republic


As always, you are THE source of invaluable advice.

Thank you for sharing it so freely.
Nov 25 12 08:41 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LC Makeup and Styling
Posts: 90
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Thanks for this!  I was always nervous about charging because I didnt want to charge so much that they would go elsewhere, or charge too little and undervalue myself.  Friends always told me I charged too little but I never listened.  Anyhoo, I upped my rates a little and was surprised to see that people will still pay!
Nov 25 12 07:34 pm  Link  Quote 
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