BRIEFING THE PHOTOGRAPHER

TIPS & TRICKS

 


A clear brief is important to make sure you are getting an accurate quote for your project and ultimately a quality shoot. For a simple brief you should consider supplying some of the following, depending on the size and scope required. 

  1. A general overview and purpose of the shoot. e.g.  Online marketing, advertising,  headshots, people at work shots, architectural, video presentation... or combination.

  2. How many people / products are to be photographed.

  3. The end use of images such as website, social media, print.

  4. Are there specific formats or dimensions required?

  5. A rough idea on the time and dates in mind with an estimation of how many hours on site are likely required.

  6. Shoot location, access and parking options if known.

  7. Also consider the line 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. 

  8. Sending a visual reference is the 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.

  9. 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.

  10. If you are using the images for an above the line campaign the usage of the shots / where the images will be shown needs to be stated. This is important for all shoots, especially if we are hiring any talent.

  11. 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. This is especially the case in corporate photography where the messaging may change.

BEFORE THE SHOOT

 

  • If you are unsure of a location being adequate for photography, then simply send some snaps of the location. For headshots an area at least 5 meters long is advised allowing for lighting from the side and back. For advertising shoots I will often source and visit the location before the shoot.

  • Consider that most shots will need lighting. Indoors lighting from ceiling fixtures will put shadows in eyes and needs to be rebalanced. Outdoors the sun will need to be balanced with reflectors or flash lighting to fill harsh shadows. Time of day and the position of the sun is always worth considering for anything outdoors. The sun brings out more colour and contrast, but it harsh on faces if not well lit by a photographer,

  • For outdoor shoots it is worth discussing a weather plan and doing a weather check a day or two before. 

  • Assign someone to be present at the shoot to oversee progress and co-ordinate talent / staff. It's good to have an input as I shoot. 

  • Full length portraits on a paper background roll are more involved technically with lighting and require more space, lighting equipment, background stands and time to setup. Please consider and discuss if you really need full length shots.

  • When you are scheduling, allow at least half an hour for lighting to be set up headshot against a white background. If we are moving around allow time for quick pack downs and set ups. Pack down at the end the day should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Don't forget to schedule for moves between locations and a coffee break over a long day.

  • A simple headshot per person should take about 5 - 8 minutes with some variations shot, but allow wriggle room. A more devised shot in a specific location may take 20-30 minutes, while an advertising shot may take half a day. 

WHAT TO WEAR

 

  • Your clothes will reflect the overall tone you are looking to set and should be well fitted and crease free. 

  • Normally it's a good idea to avoid wearing busy patterns, 3rd party branding, pure white for outdoor sunny shots and avoid heavy/dark, light absorbing clothing like jumpers at all times.

  • This is a visual medium of course, so colour is important to help stand out. Try and add some colour in what you wear.

  • Consider shooting options such as jacket on/off, with/without tie etc. For multiple portraits you may want wardrobe changes to get more use out of the shots.

  • You might have requirements such as OHS, branding or uniforms that need to be considered and planned for ahead of time.

  • Don't worry about covering over blemishes with heavy makeup as it's better to remove a spot in retouching and keep a natural look.

  • Hair is difficult to fix in retouching so please consider your hair before being photographed. Ideally a visit to the hairdresser a few days before.

  • I often fix face and neck wrinkles, yellowing or cracked teeth and areas that might have loosened up a little over the years. I'm happy to be directed if there is something physical you are concerned about. This is not the time to be shy as a good photo will last years.

HERO SHOT SELECTION

  • When choosing the final high resolution photographs to be retouched, my advice is that it is far better to ask for only the shots you are going to use. The hero shots. Having a smaller selection of finals allows me to spend more time on each of those shots making them better. A long list of shots that may not end up used will take up valuable post production time costing you more. Think, 'what will I actually use'. You can always come back and ask for more shots later if you find you need more.  

  • Always look to choose for the expression and overall composition. I will always adjust lighting, exposure and colour corrections as part of the exporting and file management process.

  • The low res shots will not be individually colour corrected, so expect the high res photographs to look even better when it comes to tone and colour.

  • Never change the file names before you have chosen and received the high resolution finals back from me. Without the matching file names I will need to visually match shots which takes time.

  • Download the images as soon as possible from the FTP link I send you. I keep them active for 14 days. 

  • If you would like a copy of the whole shot I supply the everything to you on  hard rive posted at cost.  A great idea if you have a large shot that you'll be using for a long time to come.

BRIEFING A PHOTOGRAPHER