Whether you’re new to the cinemagraph game, or if you’ve been around for a while, pricing and selling your cinemagraphs is always an interesting challenge. Given that cinemagraphs are a new visual medium, there is a precedent to set here. If we, as a collective, start pricing them too low, then the medium itself will be devalued. On the flip side, if we price them too high, then some brands and agencies may look elsewhere.
In a recent post, Flixel Wizard, Jon Kane Houldsworth said, “The biggest challenge is the perception that cinemagraphs will be priced in line with still photos, it oftentimes takes some education on the process being more in line with video production.” Cinemagraphs tend to be visually complex and perform better than still photos, but aren’t as time consuming to create as traditional long-form video. One could assume cinemagraphs should be priced somewhere in-between the two parent mediums. But, it’s not that easy, if you’ve ever charged for a creative service.
How to Price Cinemagraphs
Should you charge hourly/daily, or a fixed rate per cinemagraph? Depending on the client’s use case, how different should your pricing be for a social post versus a full-scale digital ad campaign? Well, we’re here to try and help answer those questions.
I checked in with Mark Homza, the Chief Creative Officer of Flixel Studios. Mark and his team have executed custom cinemagraph campaigns and live activations for brands like Facebook, Mercedes, and PepsiCo. Mark has tons of valuable knowledge and expertise to share. I also reached out to a few of our valued Flixel Community members who are currently earning a living from their cinemagraph businesses. Below is a mish-mash of information and tips that we hope help you figure out how to price your own cinemagraph services.
Turn your cinemagraph passion into a money maker
Take the leap. Start making money from your cinemagraphs! There are a few ways that you can profit from cinemagraphs. I’ve broken it down into 3 main categories below.
Whether you’re hired to create content for a Fortune 500 company or a small local brand, companies are searching for new ways to enhance their campaigns.
Enter cinemagraphs. So, how do you price cinemagraphs for a custom campaign? Here are a few things to consider.
You may have a passion and knowledge for cinemagraphs, but if your client hasn’t heard of them yet, they may need some coaxing. Showing them your portfolio of cinemagraphs and educating them on the benefits of using cinemagraphs over stills is a great start. You can even share your Flixel gallery. We’ve put together a pitch deck about cinemagraphs that you can use for free! Download the Keynote or PowerPoint version below.
Keynote | PowerPoint
Jon has a more personal approach to pitching cinemagraphs to his clients, which involves meeting in person, or on Skype/Facetime to chat it out. “The personal touch goes a long way. I don’t shy away from giving a good explanation in my first email back to clients to explain the basics of what a cinemagraph is, what’s involved to produce them and how to get the most out of them for brand marketing/advertising. Be up front and transparent… there’s nothing worse than a client later saying ‘I didn’t know this!’ Give a few brief ideas but don’t give away too much, some may just take your ideas and go elsewhere or try and do it themselves… just tempt them.”
So, your client is convinced. Now you need to get on the same page. What exactly does the custom campaign entail? Where will the cinemagraphs be used? Below is a list of questions that we’ve put together based on what Ylva Erevall and Jon from our Flixel Community often ask to get a better understanding of what the client is looking for.
- What are you using the Cinemagraphs for — advertising, advertorial, or editorial? Organic social media posts or paid social ads? Digital displays i.e. in-store, tradeshow screens, or digital billboards?
- Where will it run? For how long?
- Will they also be up on a website after the campaign has run?
- What is the approximate ad spend?
- Are they looking for a buy out? Worldwide or just your country? If worldwide, the price should be much higher, as the client will own the images. If they only pay for usage, they need to pay additional usage if they decide to run the campaign again or on a different platform.
- How many creatives? What are the creatives? How many different sets? Studio or location? If location, outdoors or indoors?
It’s also helpful to understand what style of cinemagraph/s the client is looking for, and how much work will go into that style. Questionnaires can help you figure out exactly what the client is looking for. Checkout an example of a short questionnaire that Flixel Studios put together, below!
(Link to: Flixel Studios Example Questionnaire)
Once you’ve received the answers that you’re looking for, you’re ready to provide a proposal. When creating a proposal, there are a few different factors to consider: production, deadline, budget, expenses, and use of content created.
Your pricing should be based on the amount of work that goes into the cinemagraph(s) that your client wants, and sometimes, how fast they may want them (consider rush fees when short turn arounds are requested). Flixel Wizard Michel Molder breaks it down like this:
“I price my cinemagraphs in 3 categories. From basic (this would be something Cinemagraph pro might be suitable for), to advanced (high end lighting and multiple loops), to expert (multiple layers/chroma key/complete composite). Together with my client we determine what/how many they want, and I tell them the costs.”
Whether a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop small business, each client you work with will have a budget for their campaign. Your quote should primarily be based on the service and deliverable that you’re offering, but as you grow your business, you should be valuing your skills and work proportionately to the output and turnover, and consider that worth to any client. Also consider developing a unique expertise (food and beverage cinemagraphs vs fashion) in a particular vertical or style of Cinemagraph production, as it will help you justify a higher day/rate or creative fee.
Clients require content for a variety of purposes, but ultimately it can contribute to their performance and impact their returns. When determining your quote, consider how your work will impact their business, and think about how it’s being used. As Ylva suggested, clients may require your cinemagraphs for a campaign with a short life-span, or may want to own the cinemagraphs for perpetual use. You’ll want to price it higher accordingly, given the use and impact it can have on their overall performance.
Don’t forget to budget in some of those pesky additional costs, such as:
- Set assistance
- Equipment/space rentals
After providing a quote, don’t be surprised if you get a little push back… As Ylva put it, “Companies with little to no experience with photography or cinemagraph campaigns do not realize how much goes into a shoot, and they expect to create magic with no budget. See image below for reference.”
Don’t undersell your creativity and talent! If you’re willing to work within your client’s budget, then make sure they understand what you’ll be able to produce within that budget. No one wants to be undervalued. Flixel Wizard, Alexandre Miguel stresses, “Quality demands time, effort, and proper/equal payment. Saying no to underrated payments is a big step!”
If you’ve gotten to this point, then it’s finally time for you to flex those creative cinemagraph skills! Each campaign you get to work on is another chance to both:
- Delight the client so you can hopefully be rehired or have them refer you to more people.
- Build your cinemagraph portfolio!
It’s important to ensure that you and the client are on the same page. From budget, to concept, to terms-of-use, both parties will be happy if everything is clear from the get-go. Below is a general rule that Mark from Flixel Studios follows when going into a campaign:
“You should always see any campaign in 3 parts from a creator’s standpoint:
Pre-production (all necessary preparations that go into producing your shoot. From sorting your specific EQ list, building your team, ideating around creative, producing proper briefs and shot lists)
Production (shoot dates – on set execution, be mindful of overtime)
Post-production (everything that goes into editing and refining your Cinemagraph. From animations, colour adjustments, image re-touching, compositing as well outputting in a variety of formats)
Additional fees can also be applied if the content creator is an influencer and leveraging his or hers following.”
One of the Flixel Studios business offerings is creating custom cinemagraph booth activations at events and conferences. From Disney, to Mashable, to Red Bull, these cinemagraphs booths are a great way to engage attendees and create memorable moments—moments that guests can share on their social accounts, or even use as their Facebook Profile Video!
Want to pitch a cinemagraph booth to your client? Here’s what you need to know.
There are essentially 2 types of cinemagraph booths you can create at an event.
- Real motion, edited in Cinemagraph Pro
- Green screen, edited in Cinemagraph Pro and Photoshop/Adobe Software
Depending on what type of booth you’re both interested in and equipped to execute, the concept will vary. For real motion, it’s good to keep it simple and have one or two options/props for the attendees to play with. For green screen, you will be shooting an image of the attendee, and placing that overtop of a cinemagraph/moving background, and you can go more complex from there.
Cinemagraph booths are a ton of fun to execute, but they do require some planning. Here’s what you need to consider.
- How many attendees will be there?
- What will the motion in each cinemagraph be? Is there a set prop or background that will be in motion?
- Will the cinemagraphs be sent out during the event, or afterwards? What is your delivery system?
- Are you promising to send the cinemagraphs out via email? If so, how do you plan on collecting the emails?
- How many people will you need to help execute the booth?
Cinemagraph Booth Example
Here is a brief breakdown of how Flixel Studios might execute a real motion cinemagraph booth using the iPad Pro mini, and Cinemagraph Pro for iOS.
Attendee size: Under 100
Concept: Light swinging/blinking above, attendees are still
Execution: Cinemagraphs to be edited in real time, and sent out during the event
- Step 1: Educate attendee on cinemagraphs and the booth concept, then direct them to pose in the booth space.
- Step 2: Shoot video of the attendees using the capture function within Cinemagraph Pro for iOS.
- Step 3: Have the attendee watch as you mask their cinemagraph in real-time, using Cinemagraph Pro on the iPad.
- Step 4: When you’ve finished editing, set the loop to under 6 seconds, press export, and send the attendee over to your assistant who will take down their email.
- Step 5: Airdrop the exported cinemagraph from within Cinemagraph Pro, to your assistant’s Macbook.
- Step 6: Your assistant will then attach the cinemagraph video file to the email, and send!
As a general rule, the more attendees, the more expensive. A green screen booth requires a lot more technical skill and time to execute, so should be priced around 1.5-2x more than a live edit booth—THOUGH, there is something incredibly engaging about shooting, editing, and sending out the cinemagraph right in front of the participant using the iPad.
Licensing Stock Cinemagraphs
Stock photography and video have been around for some time, proving to be a great way to make passive income. Many stock sites have begun to introduce cinemagraphs into the various types of content available for purchase. No matter if you’re selling stock photos or videos on a third party platform already, or even on your own website, cinemagraphs are a great way to diversify your content offering.
Here are a few tips!
- Shoot high quality video, and in turn, you’ll be able to create high quality cinemagraphs. We recommend shooting 4K video, though HD may suffice as long as the scene is properly lit and exposed! As Hendra Aditya Kurniawan puts it, “Enrich your portfolio.”
- Make it simple! Stock cinemagraphs shouldn’t take hours to edit in post production– leave that time for custom campaigns. Choose motions that are easy to mask and execute. Cinemagraphs based on simple concepts will appeal to more customers
- “Shoot high quality scenes that are free from labels, brands, and business advertisements.” – Flixel Wizard, Jason Teale
- Get out there and create. Shoot multiple cinemagraphs from a single scene. Whether it’s steam rising up from a coffee, milk swirling in the cup, or someone stirring in the sugar. Also consider whether the cinemagraph you’re creating can be cropped for multiple dimensions, so clients can use it for social media, digital displays, and beyond. Make the most out of what’s available, so that your stock offering is not only diverse, but large.
- “Think about subjects that would look great on websites and social, rather than what you just happen to shoot one day.” – Jason
Wisdom from Our Community
Now that you’ve got a strong foundation to price cinemagraphs and sell your cinemagraph services, here are some quick tips for anyone getting started in the cinemagraph business:
“Shoot shoot shoot. Make mistakes. Edit. Repeat.” – Michel
“No matter what type of cinemagraphs you are creating – food, fashion, cosmetics – put together test shoots for your book where you challenge yourself in order to learn. When problems come up once you are on a real shoot, you will remember how you solved it when testing. Once you work on your files in Cinemagraph Pro, you realize what works and not and how to make your cinemagraphs as seamless as possible.” -Ylva
“Create what you love with passion and spirit. Be courageous, take risks, learn with mistakes, and always keep evolving.” – Alexandre
“Have a good portfolio showing some dedicated Cinemagraph work. If you already have a portfolio site for still photography, create a new section just for cinemagraphs, feature it on your homepage, write up some information on why they work so well and include some info on proven case studies.” – Jon
“The biggest thing is not to work for free. Payment can be made in many ways but I find a lot of companies are looking just to save money. It has to benefit you in someway. So look for the win-win and remember exposure doesn’t pay bills. If they say that they can get you more clients, make them an affiliate. For every client they bring in, they get a percentage back.” – Jason
If you’ve got any other tips for creators who are looking to sell their cinemagraph work/services, or have some questions about pricing, leave a comment below!
This is definitely one of the most comphrensive article I've ever read concerning facing clients and general approach with proposals & co. Thanks for the time you spent on this, and well done :)