HOW TO BRIEF A PHOTOGRAPHER
Updated: Mar 23, 2021
All projects start with an initial conversation and asking the photographer for a quote. As every shoot is naturally different, it's important to get the brief right so you get the best result and the best price.
A clear brief is important to make sure you are getting the best quote for your project and ultimately the quality result you are after.
For a simple brief you should consider supplying some of the following, depending on the size and scope required.
A general overview and purpose of the shoot. e.g. Online marketing, advertising, headshots, people at work shots, architectural, video presentation... or combination of stills and video.
How many people / products are to be photographed? A rough idea on the time and dates in mind with an estimation of how many hours on site will affect the quote.
Do you have specific numbers of talent or final hero shots needed?
The end use of images such as website, social media, print.
Are there specific formats or dimensions required for the files to be delivered in.
Do you have turnaround times that need to be met?
Where is the shoot location? Is there easy access and parking options for me to get equipment to the shoot?
Also consider the balance between quality and time spent on each shot. On larger shoots it can be a false economy to try and achieve too much on one day if it means cutting back in lighting, composition and styling that may reduce quality. This is also a consideration in regards to crew. Is it worth me hiring an assistant so I can spend more time composing and shooting rather than setting up and packing down gear? Would a hair and makeup artist be a good investment to make sure everyone looks great?
Sending a visual reference is the quickest and simplest way to get your ideas across. You might point out what you like, or not like about your reference shot. What to go for, what to avoid. Your company may have some branding guidelines here.
It's a good idea to let me know if you want a previous shoot matched stylistically, or show me previous shots if you didn't like what another photographer did so we can get the result you want. I am often being asked to do re-shoots but often the client is not telling why the last photographer didn't deliver.
Knowing where the images will be shown is important for all shoots, especially if we are hiring any talent that are likely to charge based on "usage". I include copyright information on my quotes and this is good to discuss upfront. Photographers will charge different rates if it's a shoot for someones small business website as compared to a large print campaign for a well known brand.
Examples of usage are
Print magazine, Outdoor, Billboard, Online Website, Social Media, DM
Time is use. Such as unlimited, 1 year, 3 years etc
Location. Australia, NZ, Worldwide etc
Let me know if there are any 'extra' shots you might want on the day. If you are booking me for portraits but then want an exterior shot of the building, for example, it would be good to know so I can bring the gear.
A more detailed brief will discuss your projects objective and the overall tone you want to set. It's not always about smiling and looking happy and relaxed to camera. Confidence and expertise may come across better with a sincere expression. You may want to cover a range of expressions so you can get more use out of the images considering the unknowns that may relate to your product and messaging. This is especially the case in corporate photography where the messaging may change for each article your portrait is associated with.