Jan 30, 2023

How to write a clear photography brief​​

Read our guide to creating a clear photography brief for a smooth shoot from start to finish.

The first step to any successful commercial photoshoot is a well written photography brief. A concise and structured brief ensures a smooth shoot from start to finish. It also allows your photographer to know exactly what you want and how you want it to be done. And it gives them a clear grasp of your vision and audience. Ultimately, this will help your photographer capture your message in a way that connects with your customers. 

Below, we’re going to show you how to write a clear photography brief. So by the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to make your next corporate shoot a winner. 

Have a clear goal in mind

As the saying goes - start with the end in mind. Your first port of call is to write down detailed objectives for the photoshoot. 

Think - what do you want to achieve with the imagery? Do you want to use them to create brand awareness? Do you want to showcase a new product to your customers and inspire them to buy it? Or do you want to use them for internal PR to evoke a sense of loyalty and pride amongst your staff? Knowing the purpose of the images will impact how they are captured. 

Describe your audience 

It’s crucial that you give your photographer a clear picture of your audience. If they understand who your message is intended for, they’ll be better equipped to make it land with their imagery. 

Photographers use stylistic details to connect with a specified audience. This includes considering things like setting, mood, lighting, and colours. So those elements are going to look very different depending on the demographic and desires of the audience itself. That’s why a detailed description of who you're trying to reach is imperative. Otherwise, your message could fall flat and not achieve the desired impact. 

Make a list, check it twice … and include examples!

The next step in crafting a clear photography brief is to make a detailed list of the photos you want to capture. But don’t just stop there. Explain how you plan to use each image. This enables your photographer to select the correct equipment for the job. Therefore, they’ll be able to get the most out of each shot. 

In addition to this, you can include example photographs. This is an excellent way of showing a photographer exactly what you’re after. So find examples of images that capture the desired look and feel for your photoshoot. 

And don’t forget to check your list twice to ensure you’ve included everything. That job’s not just for Santa. 

It's all in the detail - dates, times, locations

When it comes to writing a successful brief, it’s important to consider the basic details. Dates, times, and locations. 

Do you need to capture the design of a new office space? Then you might have to go with a weekend date. Or, are you trying to capture work-in-action images? Select a time of high activity on the shop floor. If you’re wanting to produce new staff headshots - think about what space you have available. Do your rooms get enough natural light? Are they spacious enough? 

There are lots of logistics to think about. But once you’re clear on the best time and ideal location for the shoot, detail this in your brief. And include any contingency plans. For example, if you’d planned an outdoor shoot and the weather is bad - what’s the alternative?

This will make sure you, your team, and the photographer are all clear on what’s happening and when. Ultimately, this paves the way for an efficient shoot.

To sum up - clear photography briefs are the base for any successful shoot

By writing a clear photography brief, you provide the base for an efficient shoot and an exceptional end product. And now you understand what’s required, you'll be able to produce a great brief with confidence. Plus, it’ll help you to stay in your photographer’s good books.

Paul Booth

Paul is the Founder and Director of Pixx Media. He has over 30+ years experience in the world of media production. Paul is also a CAA Qualified Drone Pilot.