watertight photography brief

So you’re planning to commission a commercial photographer to shoot some images for you… but where do you start? The best way to kick off is to share a thoughtful and detailed brief with your shortlist of preferred photographers. Providing a good brief is the best way to help them ascertain if they can capture your creative vision and communicate it effectively on your behalf. 

What Should I Include In My Brief?

Writing a brief can be tricky if you don’t have a template of your own but never fear! Follow our guide and you’ll be well on your way to forging a clear and collaborative partnership with a photographer that’ll get results. 

Good briefs include these 5 essentials:

1.      Client Summary

What business/industry are you in? Are you well-established or a start-up? What are your main products and/or services? Who’s your target audience? Why do they buy what you sell?


2.      Objective

What’s the product or service you are promoting? Is it a new product/services or are you creating new assets for something existing? 

The goal/s for the photoshoot should be included in the brief so that both the client and the photographer/studio can work towards them, as well as the call to action.


3.      Mood/Style

What’s the creative purpose of these photos? What’s your vision? How do you want these photos to feel? Different businesses have different styles, and although photographers have a creative approach of their own, they can adapt it to your brand guidelines to make sure it’s complementary. 


4.      Budget

What’s the budget for this project? If you don’t know, you really should try and ascertain what it is before you brief the job. Even a ballpark estimate can help the client and photographer determine viability and/or areas where modifications could be made to the scope. Rates for photography and production can vary considerably between artists. If you don’t know what sort of budget you’ll need to put towards photography, that’s fine, but be aware that your quote will likely be higher than if you had given a definitive budget. It’s not because the artist is trying to squeeze every last cent out of you, it’s because they’ve quoted the job in a way that will get the best possible result. In short, it saves a lot of time on both sides to be upfront on the money stuff. 


5.      Specifics

  • How many images do you want to get out of the shoot overall? 
  • How long do you expect they’ll be in market for: 3 months, 12 months, forever? 
  • Where do you envision the shoot taking place – on location or in a studio? 
  • How many days do you anticipate it will take? Do you need models or specific props and, if so, who’s responsible for casting and sourcing? 
  • If required, do you have a preferred hair and make-up artists and/or stylist? 
  • Delivery-wise, when do you need to receive your images? 
  • What format do you need to files delivered in? 
  • Will you require just a basic clean up on the images or you looking at more complex creative retouching?

The more information you provide you photographer and their team with, the better equipped they are to deliver what you need.

Lifestyle photographer
commercial photography brief

Providing References

Providing visual examples in your photographic brief helps communicate the look and feel as well as details like the lighting and location. Feel free to include any of the client’s previous images as well as shots from their competitors. 


A word of advice, however: a great photographer/studio doesn’t need hundreds of references to understand your creative vision. Provide enough examples to communicate your ideas without taking away from the artistic license of the photographer.

It’s A Team Effort

Even the most accomplished visual artist couldn’t interpret your brand or communicate your corporate vision without your input. They don’t know what you (or your boss) does or doesn’t like or what went awry on your last shoot or that you’ve spent most of your marketing budget but have big targets to hit with the campaign you’ve been left to create on the remaining shoestring.


Conversely, you might have a sizeable budget and the desire to give your photographer total creative control over the outcome but without parameters, you still won’t achieve the results you want. Without a well-written photographic brief, opportunities will be missed and the potential for a dynamic creative collaboration will be lost. Documenting the details of your photoshoot will help you find a commercial photographer that can partner with you to effectively meet (and often exceed) your goals. 


By considering the objective, mood/style, budget, and specifics of your photoshoot, you’ll end up with the images you need in the timeframe you need them. They’ll also be within your budget and get the results you’re aiming to achieve. Simples! 


You will have also formed a partnership with a photographer that’s collaborative and productive, which will benefit your business for many years to come. 

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0409 723 912 (Steve)