• Claire Elbrow

Happy Snaps - getting the best from your photo shoot

Updated: Mar 24, 2019


When you are commissioning a photographer for your project, you may not immediately think of writing a brief, particularly if you are working on a smaller shoot.


However, lack of clarification or direction before the shoot could mean that your photographer is left guessing about what you want and this can waste time and effort on both sides.

It makes sense to discuss and plan the details with your team and pop it all down on paper so everyone has a clear idea of the end result you are aiming for.

So how do you go about creating a clear, simple brief for your photographer?

The majority of people will hire a photographer based on the strength of the work they see on their website or from a recommendation. They will look at the overall style and be drawn to it, so a good place to start is to clarify what in particular drew you to this style of work in the first place and how this fits with your brand.

Next step is to discuss what that images will be used for, and if you are trying to appeal to a particular set of people or demographic with the images.

What do you want your images to say? Do you have set ideas of style?

Your business images should fit your brand, so be clear on what you expect your new images to say about you. Is your business fairly traditional and needs to portray a professional image, or would a more casual and fun look suit your business style better. Think about the background you want – do you want a traditional grey/white static background, or something different, or perhaps more informal.

Think about how who your images are aimed at and how and where they will be used.

You may need a set of specific shots and some ‘nice-to-haves’ as well, so write a bucket list of the shots which are absolute vital to get and then include those which would be nice to have if you have the time. The aim is to get a small set of stunning shots rather and a batch of random, not so great ones. Think through your available timing and make sure you allocate enough so things are not rushed through.

Be aware of any particular location or timing constraints, particularly if you are trying to shoot outdoors or are including part-time colleagues. Try and arrange the time so that the lighting and background arrangement changes can be kept to a minimum.

If you are shooting team shots, your team should think about the colours they will wear on the day and how they will present themselves. You should guide them with some basic expectations.

If you are using external models to create a certain feel, remember you might need to give them time for hair or makeup and you will need to ensure you have factored their cost and the organisational costs into your budget.

Think through the final specifications of each image. Will the final crop need to be portrait, square or landscape? Do you need to leave any space to add text at a later stage? When do you need the shots? Be clear on the delivery deadline as it invariably needs to be realistic. Think of the final formal you need. You may want jpegs for online use and a set of high resolutions TIFFS for print use.

Ensure you have a clear knowledge of the copyright for the images and if there any further usage fees you need to be aware of.

With all of these thoughts in place, your end result will be a smooth-running shoot and some stunning images!

If you need to commission a photoshoot, get in touch as we work with a number of freelance photographers so we can pick the person who suits your business best.

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