HOW TO BRIEF A PHOTOGRAPHER


Whether you’re a communication department putting together a media team for a large-scale company event or a private client seeking lifestyle images for personal use, soliciting any creative services can be a time consuming affair. Here are some tips on how not only to speed up the process, but also how to avoid potential pitfalls…



As an event and lifestyle photographer with many years of design experience, I know only too well the frustration of receiving an incomplete brief, and therefore of having to chase a client for information rather than being able to respond with a quote in the first instance. My Quote Form outlines the fundamental information required in able for me to give a proposal, although the golden rule is always to simply provide as much information as you can.

There are always circumstances where you might not yet be able to provide a certain detail, e.g. you still haven’t decided on a venue, you are unsure of how much time you will require a photographer for. In such cases, simply give an estimation; if after receiving a quote, your needs change, both parties will already have a starting point from where to modify the quote consequently.

softbox portrait at student event

DATE, TIME, & DURATION

• The most important information; you may have found your dream photographer, but if they are already booked, they will not be able to help you.

• For events, bear in mind that for an event photographer “a day” can mean 7 hours (e.g. 10:00-17:00) or 17 hours (e.g. 08:00-01:00), so be specific about timings!

• If you don’t have a specific date in mind, give an estimation, or, for studio portraiture etc, simply provide your availability.

3080-portrait-of-young-children.jpg

TURNAROUND TIME (TAT)

• The (joint) most important information; a photographer may well be available on the date in question, but if in the 5 days that follow they are working full-time for another client, that’s likely to be 5 days during which they will be unable to work on the selection and retouch of your images. Therefore, if you’ve a specific date by which you need the images, it’s essential you communicate it!

• Always bear in mind that from the date of the shoot to the agreed submission deadline, you can’t guarantee that a photographer will be readily available to meet last minute requests etc, so if, for example, you know you’ll need a handful of specific images much earlier (e.g. for a press release the day after the event), be sure to state this in advance.

nick pynn with fiddle

ADDRESS or LOCATION

• Sure, a photographer will take their travel time into account when quoting. However, for creatives such as myself who are specialised in the Paris area, the essential thing to know in the first instance is whether the event will take place in or outside of Paris.

• If you require photography in various locations, you will of course have to consider the travel times of the photographer, so that there’s a smooth overlap.

professional posing for studio portrait

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS or GUESTS

• This is essential for knowing how many photographs to quote; in general, the more people there are to photograph, the more photographs you will require to get the best coverage possible. As always, if you’re unsure in advance, simply provide an estimation (e.g. “100-150 guests”, “400-500 delegates”).

off camera flash photograph at wedding reception

A ROUGH IDEA OF THE ITINERARY (FOR EVENTS)

• Although I normally receive the official event itineraries after I’ve been booked, it’s important to have an outline of proceedings in advance, as the planned activities and environment can dictate what equipment you’ll need to bring. If for, example, the event requires portraits in front of a branded step-and-repeat background, then is it possible that considerably more lighting equipment may be required (which in turn could affect a photographers transport options etc etc). Aware that unforeseen requests can occur once I’m on location, I’ll always to to bring a little extra material “just in case”, although, sure, I can’t cart along my whole photo inventory :)

SPECIAL REQUESTS & REQUIREMENTS

• Do you need images submitting in a certain format/resolution?
• Do you require your images to be watermarked with your own branding?
Etc etc… :)


If you found this article helpful, don’t hesitate to like and comment - I’d love to hear from you. You can also follow my photography work and my latest creative projects on social media: