Trying to communicate a creative idea can be like trying to discuss a complex concept with someone who speaks another language. Even when you share a great rapport with the other person, often creative ideas aren't fully formed and are; therefore, difficult to express. The risk of moving ahead with photography when you're not clear on what you want to achieve and communicate or what you have to spend, is that you are very likely to end up disappointed. But, never fear! We've compiled the SIX TOP THINGS TO TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER if you want to make sure your expectations are met and your investment is maximised.
1: BACKGROUND: WHY YOU ARE SHOOTING
Start off your brief by explaining why are you commissioning the shoot. Are you launching a new product or are you aiming to engage people with your brand? Perhaps you're re-branding or you have a specific marketing message you need to convey - whatever your objective is, be sure to communicate this in your brief so your photographer can put your project into the right perspective.
2: EXPECTATIONS: WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
What do you want to visually capture - an interaction, a scene; both? Is there a central idea you would like to communicate and, if so, what is it? Perhaps, if you have talent in your shots, you'd like them to look happy and be interacting with certain elements of your product in a certain way. If this is the case, list the features of the product that you would like to emphasise, as well as how they work and why they're important.
Be sure have a clear understanding of how many shots you want to achieve from your shoot and agree to this with your photographer. If you don't agree to this upfront, you run the risk of being disappointed when you receive less shots than you'd hoped for. Knowing upfront how many shots are expected also helps the photographer (or their producer if one is assigned to the job) work out how much time they have to get each shot in the bag.
3: REFERENCES: HOW YOU WANT YOUR SHOTS TO LOOK
Words are great but pictures are the holy grail when it comes to a brief. Consider putting together a mood board for each component of the shoot, i.e. talent, wardrobe, location, expressions, lighting, scenarios (whatever is relevant to your project). If you want a certain type of talent, for example, hop on to Pinterest or consult an image library to find people who look similar and put them on a board. Similarly, you may have a certain type of garden or beach location in mind - go ahead and find reference examples and create a board.
Share what's in your head from the outset by seeking out references so your photographer comes back with recommendations that are in line with your expectations. Failing to do this can cause additional expense and wasted time. Don’t expect a photographer to copy a reference shot though. You can run into copyright problems simply by reproducing another photographer work. Also, you’ll want your photographer to bring his or her own style to the shoot, so be sure your reference material is only for a ‘look and feel’.
4: BUDGET: WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SPEND
This information is critical. Everyone has a roundabout budget of what they're willing to spend, even if it's the roughest of ballpark figures. If you don't put thought into this and communicate your what you have to spend, you will find it difficult to find find a photographer to meet your needs. The cost of talent, locations, props, stylists, hair and make-up artists, equipment (and that's just to name a few of the moving parts in a shoot) can vary hugely and, without the guidance of a budget, a quote is really just a stab in the dark and, frankly, it's likely to give you a rude shock.
Be clear on what you have to spend and allow your photographer to come back to you with a solution that fits the budget.
5: BRAND: WHAT IS YOUR IDENTITY
Your brand has it's own look, feel and quirks and, while a good photographer will do their research and investigate these attributes, a good brief should include information on your brand's overall identity. What is your colour palette and how are these colours generally used? What is your personality - are you a relaxed, outdoorsy brand, more fashion forward and style conscious or are you corporate and structured? Give your photographer some insight into how you like to be presented on a brand level.
6. TIME: DON'T RUSH
A rushed quote can be inaccurate, and generally the quote will allow for worst case scenario thus costing you more. Make sure you're organised a brief your photographer with enough time to give you a considered response (at least a couple of days). Also, allow enough time to produce the shoot. A short lead time always incurs extra costs with location permits, crew scheduling and moving other jobs to fit you in.
We hope you find these tips useful and they help you and your photographer create images that engage and inspire your audience. If you have a brief and you'd like us to send you a quote for your project, please visit our super simple briefing page.
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