What is a Photography Brief?
A professional photography brief is a document that describes exactly what is going to be delivered at the end of your photography shoot. Here I explain the in's and out's of a commercial photography brief; what it is, why it's important and how it will help you get a better outcome from your commercial photography shoot.
A brief could take any form; a verbal agreement, an email, a bullet point list, a detailed formal agreement, or commandments written in stone. It's form doesn't matter as long as it actually takes form and both parties truly understand it.
What is it used for?
It’s designed so both you and me know exactly what is going to be delivered when the job is completed
Why is it important?
- Expectations - in my experience most problems on a shoot are caused by expectations that weren't clearly defined. The brief helps define these before the shoot begins.
- Knowledge gaps- Information that seems logical or natural to either you or me may be a surprise to the other party. The brief lets us identify all the things we need to make the shoot work. Therefore, no nasty surprises.
- Assumptions - the brief helps us to identify 'non negotiables' that are required to make the shoot work. The condition of our chosen location, for example. We then put plans in place to make sure these things will be exactly as we want them on the day, and make contingency plans just in case they're not.
- Language - Sometimes photographers get so busy talking about image licencing, file types, and when Michael Bolton had a good mullet we sometimes forget not everyone speaks the same language. The brief lets us identify areas where confusion or poor communication may be lurking.
Who’s responsible for preparing it?
I am, with your input. I need accurate information from you to put the brief together properly.
What’s needed to prepare a brief?
The truth, the whole truth and everything else that may, even by a slim chance, be considered truth, now and into the future. If I had a crystal ball I’d be pretty happy. If I had one that actually told me the future I’d be more than happy, I’d be buying an island, Richard Branson style.
Problems can arise if the brief isn't clear or detailed enough, or didn’t include consultation from staff impacted by the shoot. I will go through every aspect of the shoot and help you articulate all your ideas and concerns.
How do we prepare the brief?
It can be done over the phone but for larger jobs it's often best to thrash it out over a coffee instead. Besides, I'm much better looking in person.
Is there anything else relevant to briefs?
Oh... Turns out your was nan right. Always make sure you’ve got clean ones. ‘specially if you’re gonna be wearing them on the outside.