Commercial Photographer Brief

What you need for Commercial shoots, Examples, Ideas and Templates

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Commercial Photographer Brief basics

What is a commercial photographer brief?

A commercial photography brief contains all the key elements of a trade arrangement between two suppliers with a creative deliverable.

Are commercial briefs important?

Briefs for commercial shoots are key for establishing an understanding between two parties.

The hiring entity should take the time to clarify in writing all the important features and characteristics that’s important to them.

A commercial photography brief is essential for keeping the project on track, on time and on point. A brief plays a big part in the collaboration process.

Who uses commercial photography briefs?

Photographers, Copy writers, Agencies and most creatives use briefs.

See our Free Copy – Edit – Use template below.

Corporate Party Hemmesphere Bar & Restaurant Sydney

Creative Commercial photo briefs detail

What types of shoots use commercial photo briefs?

Are commercial creative briefs contractually binding?

If the Brief is part of the commercial contract of engagement, then yes.

If you were given a full creative brief after being awarded the work then it has some ambiguity around it.

Sometimes we’ve won creative work with a commercial intent from a basic outline of the needs of the business. We submit a price estimate and accept the contract. As time and conversations progress into the detail of the requirement, the scope changes many times. Scope creep happens regularly.

The requirements of the hiring business changes often. With long lead time project work it is common. So both parties staying flexible is the best approach.

Either way, in all instances they are used as a guide to the direction and outcome the two businesses need to aim for. Collaborative creative tasks always have some personal interpretation no matter how comprehensive any written brief is.

Types of photography briefs

  • Some types of briefs are written in a movie screenplay format.
  • Others are simple text list of shots to capture.
  • Complex collaborations involving many different types of creatives such as on a set may contain everybody’s part or just yours. This particularly happens when you’re not only photographing products but products with Models / Talent.
  • The other common type of commercial brief is via mood board, this type of visual representation of the outcome that’s desired consist of digital or physical ‘collage’ of ideas. They usually contain images, text, and samples from other projects. Then are used to share the program designers or Brand managers intention for the new work.

Detail for Commercial Photography Briefs

What does a good commercial photographer brief contain?

List of top 20 items to include in a commercial photographers brief

  • Shoot or Client name
  • Start and finish dates
  • Start time
  • Shoot location address
  • On location contact information
  • Project overview
  • Specific project outcomes
  • Detailed Shot list
  • Permits if required (in public places)
  • Waiver forms if children are in the photos
  • Model release forms
  • Mood boards or previous photos
  • Safety requirements
  • Overview and history of your business
  • Photo licence conditions
  • Payment terms, example 30 days
  • Photo Processing
  • Retouching inhouse or outsourcing
  • Photo delivery deadlines
  • Photo technical information

We’ve provided a free useable template below, copy into your editing software, add your specific requirements and email it for a free quote.

Creating a commercial photography brief

How to write a photography brief?

The simplest way to write a commercial photo brief is to use one of our free templates. See the templates examples below or use our online simple editable maker to get you started. Add your specific criteria.

Once you’ve created one and tailored it to your exact needs, re use over and over.

How to Briefing a photographer

If time allows a full detailed and comprehensive photographer brief make it easier for you to brief the lead photographer.

You can present the facts in a consistent process driven structure that will be easy for any creative to follow.

Creatives such as photographers are very visual people by their very nature so having something written down that can be easily understood will help you and the team immensely.

In person pre shoot meetings are great but not always practical with time constraints or distance.

Email the brief to the photographer ahead of time so they can review it, write down any questions or areas that need clarification. On your online video or phone call to go over the brief and the head photographer can be ready to ask and scope out all the minor detail prior to the shoot.

Having the correct resources for the shoot such as lighting, accessories and equipment plus any support people will depend on the clear understanding of what the deliverables are.

Your commercial session is sure to run smoother, get more done in a day and be closer to your vision than leaving it to chance or winging it on the day. And a lot more cost effective than having to do reshoots.

The easy way make a basic brief is to use this simple photography brief tool

Enter basic information, perfect for simple shoots.

With multiple choice prefilled answer and check boxes, it is the simplest way to provide all the basic information a photographer needs to get started.

Guidelines and tips for what to write on a commercial agreement brief documentation

If you are working for the first or even a second time with new suppliers then it is a good idea to be as detailed and thorough in conveying who, what, when and how your business functions to as practical extent as possible.

For creatives to ‘feel’ and your company’s vibe they essentially need a crash course or orientation on the business.

For large complex shoots we suggest the following to include in your photographers brief;

  1. Include the history and direction of your business
  2. Mid to long term Business outcomes
  3. Your two main customer personas
  4. Who’s are you main two competitors
  5. What is you overall campaign budget
  6. Human resources to allocate for the shoot
  7. Main product or services features

Most of this information may already be in your company brochure or website, if so just share those links or PDF and we’re good to go.

Let’s explore each one in some detail.

Brief Business history overview

  • Company size
  • Products and services range
  • Awards
  • Position in the market place
  • Price point positioning
  • Overall Brand perception
  • Values and mission statements
  • Annual turnover
  • Key members of the executive team

Business outcomes for the campaign

Just a simple note of how many products with the image you are aiming to sell. Or where this is to reposition the company. Will the photos be used for X number of years or is it a seasonal marketing program.

Or are the product photo to be used to sell into new markets or using new platforms? Social media or 3rd party websites. This type of information makes a difference to the creatives you’re going to be working with.

Two main customer personas

Good to know who the products or services will be sold to. Which demographic do they need to appeal to. Knowing the target market is great for aligning your mindset with the creatives.

Who are your two main competitors

Doesn’t need too much detail, just so it helps frame the advertising intent and to who product this is going to be compared to.

Overall campaign budget

This great to know before photographers provide a quotation. Knowing you overall budget helps in not over specifying a shoot.

The amount of production is directly connected to your overall budget. Not allowing enough equipment to deliver the images can have detrimental effects on relationships.

Let’s not over price or under specify a shoot.

Human resources to allocate for the shoot

How many support people do we need. How many of your staff and who will be involved in the pre production, production and then who will we liaise with for the post production.

If your shoot is for a small new business or a medium size one with limited number of specialist staff. You may just the the sole person involved. Could be a brand or product manager or as is commonly the case, the marketing manager.

What product features to highlight the most

Material selection, fabrics or specific accessories. What are the product strengths to focus on and accentuate?

Which Talent or staff are key focal points in the advertising campaign.

Are we bring to life your new fleet of vehicle or showing off your easy to use software. All great ideas to write down on your photographer brief.

Wrapping up this section

The non technical items to add to your comprehensive documentation for the creative team to be better aligned with the shoot. As noted earlier. If your shoot is only small or simple no need to go into this much detail. Simply let the photographer know about your website and they can do a little home work.

Common Basic Photography brief terms

What does it mean?

Schedule

A photography session schedule is more commonly used for busy studios to manage their bookings. There are lots of appointment scheduling software to chose from online.

Program

Is a run sheet or check list of what needs to be done, usually in order.

Brief

An event photography brief is a simple outline of what the photographer needs to focus on during the event. It will summarize all the key features and characteristics that’s important to the client.

Deliverables

The product most photographers deliver these days are digital files. Wedding and portrait photographers carry on the wonderful tradition of including prints in their deliverables.

Shot list

A list of cuts for video or frames for stills photography.

Project brief

Typically major commercial shoots will have a Director of Photography. One of their roles is to project manage all the elements of the campaign. They are responsible for the deliverables on the shot list and brief.

Free Commercial photographer brief template Infographic

Commercial photographer brief template Infographic

Photo brief ideas for Models and commercial Fashion shoots

Preliminary works tips

Many models and fashion labels start out fairly small so don’t have huge resources for major photo shoots and advertising campaigns.

If you are starting as model and looking for tips and ideas on how to protect and enhance your professional image, this section is for you.

The below ideas are not legal advice, you’re best to seek official advice, for example, Arts Law or a professional in commercial contract agreements.

For start-up fashion labels you may need to do a bit of home work documenting your history and your vision for the brand. Similar to the above 7 point list.

Define your social mirror image

If you were looking at you or your work as a makeup artist, model or fashion designer what would like to see on your website and social media channels?

By defining how we’d like to see us, our online persona it can help bring some clarity. Just don’t fall for the what’s popular on social media at the moment as that is not the real you and those fads change quick anyhow with the latest fickle trends.

Write down 5 main points of what and how you’d like your personal or product brand represented. Use words to describe it or photos and other graphics.

What happens on photoshoot day?

Be as specific as you can without constraining the creative juices. Also take note if the shoot is for streetwear fashion, can it be photographed in a local street. The shoot will be lower in production equipment and set up so may also be quicker than a full studio set up. Sometimes. Also take note of providing a safe area for the models to get changed in. Bathrooms, coffee near by etc.

Fashion Photoshoot Brief details to add

  • Makeup being applied
  • Hair being done
  • Clothes being prepared
  • Fashion photoshoot on location
  • With 7 garments
  • Worn in 3 different ways
  • Each by 2 different models
  • Total 42 finished photos

Then add some time guidelines such as

  • Shoot will be in 3 weeks
  • Allowed 2 days on location
  • Quote based on 2 days post processing
  • Deliverable files 3 weeks post shoot
  • Exhibition deadline submission date

State how the photos will be used

  • Website resolution photos
  • Social media ready
  • Print ready
  • Look book
  • Competition entry
  • Advertising
  • 3rd party use
  • Perpetual length of time
  • Photo crediting

Creative direction for pre shoot preparation

  • Photos bright and punchy
  • Contrasty lighting
  • Strong colour palette
  • Mood is energetic
  • Low camera angles
  • Half body shots
  • Neutral model expressions

List the Perfect team

  • Designer:
  • Producer:
  • Creative Director:
  • Photographer: Orlando Sydney
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Hair and makeup:
  • Retail outlet / website:

Putting it all together in an easy to use template, see below. Add more information or less depending on what your Editorial or Commercial shoot needs. Then send it in for free quote or conversation to see whether we’re right for you.

Free Commercial photographer brief template

Model and Fashion Simple Free Photo brief for small shoots

Commercial photoshoot template and checklist
ITEMDESCRIPTION
Shoot Date:

Friday 32nd January 2022

Time detail outline:
  • 1 x Photographer required on location
  • 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
  • Shoot will be in 3 weeks
  • Allowed 2 days on location
  • Quote based on 2 days post processing
  • Deliverable files 3 weeks post shoot
  • Exhibition deadline submission date is
Photo Session location:The shoot is on Chalmers Street Surry Hills Sydney
Photo use overview
  • Website resolution photos
  • Social media ready
  • Print ready
  • Look book
  • Competition entry
  • Advertising
  • 3rd party use
  • Perpetual length of time
  • Photo crediting
Shot list ideas:
  • Makeup being applied
  • Hair being done
  • Clothes being prepared
  • Fashion photoshoot on location
  • With 7 garments
  • Worn in 3 different ways
  • Each by 2 different models
  • Total 42 finished photos
Creative direction:
  • Photos bright and punchy
  • Contrasty lighting
  • Strong colour palette
  • Mood is energetic
  • Low camera angles
  • Half body shots
  • Neutral model expressions
Creative team:
  • Designer:
  • Producer:
  • Creative Director:
  • Photographer: Orlando Sydney
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Hair and makeup:
  • Retail outlet / website:
Product Check list:
  • Clothing 1
  • Clothing 2
  • Tops
  • Pants
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
Contacts list:Sent the brief to [email protected] for a free quote

Free photography brief checklist template you can use

Use the template or create your own. Edit & Send it to us for a free quote. You will receive great results, with affordable photography prices. Book a photographer in Sydney you can depend on.

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