The Photo Estimate Checklist…

Photo of a hand holding a pen filling out a form.

Over the years I have had a variety of solutions to try to support the process of asking all the right questions one must ask in order to put together a proper estimate. For a long time I had used a form I created in Microsoft Office that had space for most of the pertinent information. I would print up a stack and have them sitting next to the phone ready to go. A few years ago in my effort to be “paperless” I incorporated that information into my CRM (Daylite) as an embedded form I could pull up and fill out as I was talking to someone. But inevitably there would be questions I would ask that the client had not thought about, or did not have the answer to, and they would have to go away and talk to the other parties involved, in order to obtain the answers and “get back to me later”. There is no one size fits all solution, as each shoot has its own unique factors to take into account. But for me with the types of projects I shoot, there are some basic questions that go a long way to getting most of the needed information for any given project, and from there it is usually a simple email with one or two follow-up questions that get us the rest of the details needed in order to provide our clients with a spot-on estimate.

Recently I decided to create an online questionnaire that addressed the common key points and was readily available to my clients so that they could more efficiently collect the answers before making the initial request from us for an estimate.  It has been a big hit with my clients and has acted as a checklist for them to make sure they too, are addressing all the needs of their various projects. In addition it has been very helpful to folks who are new to the process and don’t even know the questions to ask in order to start visualizing how a production will be put together.

This week we took it one step further and incorporated the online version into an editable pdf, that can be emailed to someone to work on over time rather than having to do it all in one fell swoop online. So we thought we would go ahead and share it. Granted this Estimate Request Form is very much geared to our particular workflow and shooting style. If we shot Architecture or Sheet Metal (automotive) this form would probably look very different. But hey… whats to stop those who do, from taking this and moulding it to their own specialty or workflow?

We also hope this will be helpful to Art Buyers / Producers or Creatives to gather all the details they might want to relay to us in their RFP’s.

Again every unique project will usually require a couple follow-up communications, but for us, this goes a long way to eliminating the MULTIPLE “just one more question for you…”‘s as well as helping to educate those who may be doing this for the first time.

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8 thoughts on “The Photo Estimate Checklist…

  1. Dana, this is fantastic! You said you integrate this into your CRM? I’ve integrated my online contact form with my CRM (SalesForce), but I love the details this form goes into. (

    Even just to have it as a ‘script’ when following up with clients is invaluable. Many of my clients are small business owners, that aren’t familiar with many of these steps, so I walk them through a similar process on the phone, but I’m gonna steal this and adapt it to my work flow.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey Pascal! You bet! Happy to share what I can to make workflows more efficient. It is always great to educate folks, who are new to the process, about all of the variables that can go into a proper shoot. We don’t just pick up a camera and press a button.. right? Let me know as you incorporate this, if there are other questions or fields you add to make it even more usable!

  3. Love the detail you go into in this form – all photographers should adapt this to their workflow and at the very least use it as a script when they’re on the phone. I’ve spent the last day integrating this into my CRM (SalesForce) automation. Now when a client comes through my contact form, that’s captured all the info into CRM, there’s a link on the thank you page that gives a link to this form. Online. Fully integrated. Rockin’ awesome. Thanks for the frame work.

  4. Thank you for selflessly sharing this.
    its fellow professionals like you who make us proud to have you among our ranks. Most of what I’ve learned has been from pros who aren’t paranoid of sharing their experience and talents, to say nothing of business savvy, and I, like you, believe in passing it on!
    Thanks so much.

  5. Thank for checking out the blog Lee and for taking the time to leave such generous comments! While I certainly know that some photographers like to keep the visual “process” close to the vest, there is just no reason not to share information that will make us all better business people. If we can elevate our standards and practices it will only serve everyone and we can then just concern ourselves with doing what we love; making compelling imagery! I am happy to share what I can and contribute to the conversation.

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