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The Structure of the Bid

There is a common perception that a photography bid is merely a set of numbers that are hopefully close to what the client wants to spend on their commission. That’s only a small part of the equation. Bidding is an art form that relies on finesse and experience, not unlike the art of photography. The more practiced you become at bidding, the more profit you will realize.

It’s easy to get intimidated when you’re called upon to produce one of your first bids. The intimidation can quickly turn into paralysis as you search a million contradicting opinions on the internet about the right numbers to use. There are no right numbers. Each bid will be different, and each bid, like great art, relies on your intelligence and your gut. Once you know the structure of a bid, you’ll be shocked at how quickly you’ll become adept at bidding itself.

The structure of an advertising photography bid is, in essence, the financial language of the advertising industry. A huge part of winning a job is effectively communicating what you plan to do with the money that you want to charge. If your bid comes in higher than the bids of the photographers that you’re competing against, but you have a compelling rationale for what you’re going to do with that extra money, you will win the job. Conversely, if your numbers are lower than the competition, but you have devised a clever way to work with low budget, you’ll be a hero.

 It explains the difference between a bid and an estimate, and offers advice on handling your usage licenses in a market where the role of the usage license is changing. The mini-book is free as either a PDF or as an Amazon single. The Structure of the Bid is brought to you by your friends at Blinkbid, the best bidding software in the world, and Agency Access, a full service marketing agency for artists.

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Lou Lesko

Lou Lesko is a writer and director who started as a fashion photographer back when Depeche Mode was on the radio. He’s the founder of Blinkbid which is bidding software built specifically to empower creative types to be business savvy.

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Join the conversation

  • Jeff Nelson - 2 years ago

    Great info Lou! I am much more confident in my bidding now! Thank you.

  • Eric Muetterties - 2 years ago

    So true. Great time with you in Chinatown with J Michael and Nicolo. Lots to look forward to in making this crazy business work for our bottom lines!