Writing a Photography Brief
✓ You have an agreement with the company about expectations
✓ You ensure that you get as much as possible from the commission – that doesn’t necessarily mean more photographs. It means that your photographer will focus on capturing the images you need and take into account any technical/logistical details.
- Define the purpose of the photo commission: what do you need them for? There are a hundred and one things that you could use a set of professional images for, including:
- Staff portraits for your website, press and content marketing
- Facebook or Flickr album – encourage staff and clients to share and comment
- A selection kept ready as required for issue with a press release to media outlets
- Evidence for grant applications, Quality Awards, etc
- Newsletters and blogs
- A visual content stock kept ready to use on Twitter etc
- Technical Information: Are there any technical things you should let the photographer know about (ie if you are having the images printed big, or if for a website)? It is best to check with your designers/printers first about what they need, you could ideally just put the photographer and designer in touch so you don’t get too caught up in the technical bit! If unsure, ask the photography company. So long as this information is shared and expectations are clear.
- Plan the time carefully to ensure you enable a relaxed environment (it will be far more enjoyable for you and your staff, and that will come over in the images), whilst obviously balancing that with the needs of your business.
- Style: Your images should enhance your brand, tell a story, illuminate your company. Show samples of any images that you do and don’t like. The more you can describe what you want out of the commission, the better – include a Branding Guidelines document too if appropriate.
- Location: To a large extent of course, this depends on what is being photographed and for what purpose. However, if for example you are having staff portraits taken, have a think about where you could go that enhances your brand and style. We sometimes work with whole staff teams at a stately home, park, hotel or outside along the seafront as part of their away day. The company you work with will have specialist knowledge and ideas to help you with this.
- Communication: Share the Brief where necessary – let everyone involved know it’s happening and what to expect. If appropriate, ensure you have a point of contact for the photographer during the shoot who can offer any on-location advice.
- Shot List: Write a list of the shots you would like – it doesn’t have to be exhaustive of course as sometimes the best images just ‘happen’ during the shoot. However, make sure you put down anything you really do need.
- Deadline: When do you want them by? Very important; we tend to send over edited images within 24 hours, but many companies have a longer turn-round, so be sure to let them know.
- Transfer: How do you want to receive them? We send images to our clients usually via We Transfer, ftp or Dropbox – of course, you may prefer good old DVD’s.
- Enjoy! Your relationship with your photographer should be a really positive experience. If it isn’t, or your photographer is too intrusive, takes up too much time, doesn’t deliver, or doesn’t keep a smile on their face – find someone else!
 There is a knack to writing a good press release but don’t be scared by it if it is not in your comfort zone. Professionals like us can help.
 ‘Turn-round’ – just an informal term for the time it takes a photographer to get back to their desk, download the images to their computer, edit the best, caption them [the information ‘behind’ the image that shows up on social media and for picture desks in the media] and send them to their client.