HOW TO WRITE THE BEST CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF TEMPLATE IN 2021
Learn how to write the best creative photography brief with these exclusive tips, ideas, examples and a premium template for commercial use. Get the best out of your photographer with this professional template you won’t find anywhere else.
Utilising professional photographers is still the best option if you want total control and certainty of the photography outputs. Yes, that’s right, when you hire a photographer for a photoshoot assignment you have total control and decision power on:
- The exact location and models to be used.
- Creative output and quality of the final results
- The exact quantity of images
- Copyright ownership
- Image delivery deadlines.
If you want an influencer to post photos or videos of your products, services or events, I would suggest you better read this article.
WHAT IS A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF?
A creative photography brief is a document written by anyone who needs photography services delivered by a professional photographer.
KEY REASONS FOR DRAFTING A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF
- Offer clear instructions, background information, reasons for photography and any other specific needs a client has.
- A successful creative photography brief will help a photographer fully understand the client’s needs, ideas and expectations and to know exactly what the client is trying to achieve with the new images.
- Also, the photographer will use a creative photography brief as a base to draft an initial quote for the assignment. This is because the photographer can look at the brief and think:“Aha okay, so I’ll need to rent those flashes for that shot, bring those lenses, and I’ll need to do this much travelling to get all those locations in”.
Marketing managers, brand managers, business owners and advertising professionals can learn the art of writing a creative photography brief and proposals with the right details and instructions.
BEFORE WRITING A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF – PROPOSAL
Before you write your killer creative photography brief; you should:
- Check the photographer’s experience. Ensure your chosen photographer has demonstrable experience photographing your industry and ideally he/she is a buyer of your product/service. Some photographers might be extraordinary in a specific type of photography but not in all types of photography. Every industry requires different photographic skills and bring different challenges. Some photographers’ experience may be focused on fashion, nature, landscape, portrait, christening, weddings, food or corporate photography.
- Check top influencers. Some social media influencers are also creative producers and/or photographers. Hiring social media influencers via a social media influencer platform for your next photoshoot not only will give you access to great imagery but also they have the power to promote your new photos and campaign to their tribes (audiences).
- Involve key stakeholders. When having an initial meeting with your professional photographer, you may want to get input from stakeholders who are involved with your brand visuals. These include graphic designers, agency account managers, brand managers and/or marketers. If a set of meetings are required to define the exact photos you need; ensure you have a structured agenda and expected outcomes so your photography brief document is agreed /approved. The below meeting goal-outcome matrix will help have effective meetings.
WHY A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF IS SO IMPORTANT?
Your brand visuals and images are – more than ever – a vital element for your business. Professionally produced photography can be used to engage your most valuable audience and help you increase brand awareness and preference.
Commissioned photography work that includes professional photoshoots is very much a part of almost any company’s marketing and advertising day to day activities. In fact, any form of successful marketing will require great photography.
No surprise, thousands of business owners and marketers engage commissioned photography assignments to be completed by professional photographers to ensure they get the exact images they were after.
You can help your photographer minimise any potential errors, challenges and issues by writing a flawless creative photography brief to be passed to your photographer. This way all parties responsible for the photoshoot are on the same page and agree on objectives and deliverables.
BENEFITS OF A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF
- Get the exact images you wanted. Get your photographer to understand your exact imagery requirements for your brand taking into account your goals, usage (in which context and for what purpose) and the exact audience to be reached with the new visual imagery.
- Get only top quality images. You cannot always use your iPhone to get the best quality imagery. Both creative and technical requirements are a mixture of art and science. Even some Australians with the most Instagram followers use professional photography services.
- Copyrights. Specifying your copyrights needs is as important as the quality of the photography you get. You should ensure you obtain “rights of usage” and other legalities.
- Allow for extra creative ideation. Within a brief, you can show your photographer some other images you like (image boards) or any other creative inspiration or input important for your brand. This can include mode/talent specifications, preferred colour palettes, textures, lighting, fonts, etc.
- Successfully managing limited resources. When access to your modelling talent and/or locations are limited and no other dates are available; you need to ensure the photoshoot goes according to an exact plan.
- Help you minimise errors. The more detail in your brief the more likely you get the exact photos you want and reduce any misinterpretations.
- Avoid delays or extra costs. Your brief should include the expected shooting date and image delivery times. A well crafted creative photography brief should help your photographer deliver extraordinary work with no hassle, at the right time and on budget.
A GREAT BRIEF STARTS WITH A GREAT TEMPLATE
A really good Photography Brief must cover all details needed to ensure a successful photoshoot and offer all information and insights to help your photographer deliver the best results.
Save time and get this Premium Premium Creative Photography Brief Template
This exclusive and premium template has been designed in Google Docs.
Benefits of having this template in Google Docs:
Real-time interactive collaboration. See immediate changes and updates as they happen from different users.
A universe plugins/addons for Google Docs to manipulate your information.
Bring data as a powerful graph on your brief document. Turn numbers on a Google Sheet file into powerful graphics you can add on your Google Docs briefing document.
Make copies in seconds and hand briefing documents to multiple influencers.
Access it anywhere/anytime. Just need an internet connection.
You can even use your voice to type! Use Google Docs voice recognition.
Easy download as Microsoft Word or PDF file.
eDIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF TEMPLATE – SECTIONS
✔ Objectives and Goals
✔ Marketing Channels
✔ Talent Requirement
✔ Images Technical Specs
✔ Creative Examples
✔ Inspiration Board
✔ Creative Brief
✔ Location Details
✔ Photography Copyrights
✔ Shooting Dates
✔ Final Photo Delivery Details
✔ Payment Instructions
My photographer loved it
Initially, I was intimidated by the task of briefing my photographer. This template not only made it so easy to draft all key requirements but also my photographer loved it. We were all on the same page of what we wanted to achieve. Thank you.
Alex W. Verified user
I was having issues getting my photographers to understand our brand visual needs. This template made it so easy to add all our requirements and make sure the brief was totally understood by our photographers. Thank you
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When purchasing your Premium Creative Photography Brief template, you will also receive the below templates:
+ ✅ Model release form template
+ ✅ Model release checklist
+ ✅ Property release form template
+ ✅ Photographer contract checklist
Yes, that’s right; you will get five templates for the price of one!
GET YOUR CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF TEMPLATES TODAY!
TOP TIPS WHEN BRIEFING A PHOTOGRAPHER
Consider the below when writing a creative photography brief for a photoshoot to be completed by a professional photographer. The goal when writing a creative photography brief is to allow your chosen photographer to:
Must read >> how to write a creative video production brief
HOW TO WRITE A CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY BRIEF – STEPS
1. TARGET AUDIENCE
Describe the people that you want to reach with your new photos. Will your new photos be reaching current customers? potential customers? investors? partners? employees? Is there any demographic and psychographic data you can share with your photographer?
An example can be:
“The new images will be used for a campaign in which we will be reaching mothers between 33-40 who live on the west coast of USA with small children who are looking for great fashion inspiration and interested in sustainable products. They value practical yet styling solutions for their family life. Most of these mothers are professionals who work part-time or have their own home-based business. Their free time is spent at the beach or in national parks with their family. They buy online, however, the visit shopping malls to see what’s new. They take online courses to up-skill and they have shown interest in our top product XYZ. They love watching ZZZ on TV and also enjoy CCC with other mothers” Quality is extremely important and is considered top factor when buying our products. They like to use Pinterest for pinning photos that convey VVV and use Instagram to follow top celebrities including WWW”.
2. CLEAR OBJECTIVES
You want photos for a specific reason. A creative brief will let your professional photographer know the exact reasons you want creative images and photos and the exact actions/activities you will be using your new imagery for.
You should write exactly what you want to achieve (measurable goals-objectives). Remember, visuals are mainly to be used to create a “feeling” that no text, stats or any other rational element can convey.
Before approaching your preferred photographer, please have clear the answers to the below questions:
- What do I want my target audience of the photos to feel when watching my new set of photos?
- How unique the new photos need to be to stand out from the millions already published on the internet, social media, blogs, print (newspaper/magazines/journals), billboards and any other channels?
- What is the main call to action? What do I want viewers to do once they have seen the new photos? Do you want them to call your business? Email your business?, “Like” the photo? Subscribe to your blog? Download a guide? Buy a specific product? Send an enquiry? Book your service?
Below are some examples of what you might need new photos for:
- Print campaigns. Let your photographer know about the specific newspaper/magazine, any specific rules/instructions they might have when delivering the final image. Also, a great idea is to show your photographer other images on that magazine/newspaper that you believe are great so the photographer has a feeling on the type of images you are after.
- Social media amplification. Ensure your photographer is aware of the type of photos and style your brand uses via social media. You might also want to provide examples of your best (most liked- most shared photos) so the photographer knows what has worked for you.
- Interior decor. Brief your photographer about the image size and material you will be using when printing on a large scale. Also, you might want to invite your photographer to inspect the wall or area where the photo will be displayed. Photographers might want to check the area, the natural light and ensure the colours will match. Your photographer might be able to suggest the best location, the size needed for your printed large-scale image.
- Product packaging and/or labels. Specify to your photographer about the exact type of product(s) the image will be shown and the size and material (i.e. packaging) where the image will be printed. The photographer might recommend a specific image for the type of size and material you will be printed on.
- Marketing collateral and/or promotional material. You may want to use a well-produced photo for a marketing flyer, business card, brochure, a PowerPoint presentation or for the new version of your media kit. The photographer can offer input and ideas for the right photo to be used on your marketing collateral and/or promotional material.
- Corporate portraits. “C” level and directors professional portrait headshots for annual reports, media releases, company newsletters, investors reports.
- PR. a form of commercial photography with a news angle, a PR photography is commissioned to create images for a business, organisation or individual’s news usage. These images are used with press releases or for public relations use, helping to enhance press coverage in newspapers, magazines and more increasingly in social media platforms.
- Events. You are running an event or your CEO is speaking in an event, you surely will need a professional photographer to ensure you have visual material that you can use later on either for you content strategy, PR or marketing collateral or campaigns.
- Product pages on your e-commerce website. You want the best photos of your products to be uploaded on the product pages of your website. This is a very common reason to get some new photos. You want to ensure your product appear nicely and people can zoom in to see details. In fashion, for example, potential online buyers want to be able to see all the details of your product.
“Visually awkward products can be a challenge for marketers and photographers. Make sure you are on the same page as to what results from the shooting session you want. Below is an example of a visually awkward product photoshoot (sneaker/shoe). It seems that the shoe has shrunk but it has actually been designed and manufactured that way” Mau
3. SPECIFY MEDIA PLATFORMS WHERE PHOTOS WILL BE USED
Let your photographer know about the exact media platforms you will be promoting the photos. Normally if photos are ONLY used for social media or a website, the image size/quality resolution does not need to be as high definition as to when using them for print, large scale posters or billboards. Photographers will generally charge less for photos that will ONLY be used for the web.
Some large global clients might require photography for a foyer, gallery or museum where the viewer might be extremely close to the image, in this case, a photographer could be asked to use top high-quality equipment such as a Hasselblad H6D-100c 100mp camera equipment which you will not see very often that can cost over USD$40.000. On the other hand, a photographer might use an entry-level Nikon full-frame 610 camera equipment with a basic lense which will cost in total less than USD$2.000 and still offer great images small to medium scale print or web.
4. DEFINE IMAGE LICENSING/COPYRIGHTS
RULE OF THUMB FOR MARKETERS – DO NOT INFRINGE. In the US, a photographer does own the copyright the moment he/she presses the shutter. But damages for willful infringement are generally capped at the market value. When photographers register their image with the US Copyright Office, they can be awarded up to $150,000 per image for a willful infringement plus legal costs. Photographers can still register a photo even after it’s been infringed. In this scenario, photographers just lose some rights that they would have if registered before the infringement, which is the right to statutory damages and collecting their lawyer fees.
In Australia – for example – for photos taken on or after 30 July 1998, the general rule on ownership depends on the purpose for which the photographs were taken:
- if the photos were taken for “private or domestic purposes” (such as family portraits, or wedding photos), the first owner of the copyright in them is the client, unless the photographer and client agree otherwise; however if they were taken for any other purpose (e.g. commercial shots), the photographer will be the first owner of the copyright, unless the photographer and client agree otherwise.
You also have the option to agree with our photographer on the right level of “Copyrights” needed. Photographers might charge you differently depending on which of the below copyright option you require.
- Full Copyrights. You (the client) own the photos. This is great when you want to use the photos for commercial purposes. Example: print them on t-shirts/postcards/calendars/posters you sell or a massive national billboard campaign you are about to launch. Price: PREMIUM – Photographers will charge you a premium price as they are giving away the copyrights to your business.
- Specific Platform rights + industry-exclusive rights + perpetual time rights. Photographer will own the copyrights and offer you the rights to use the photo for a specific platform (either internet, outdoor or print), industry-exclusive rights ( Photographer will NOT sell the same photo to your industry competitors) and give you perpetual time rights (unlimited time to use the image). On this agreement, you cannot sell the photo or use the photo as the main element on product/service you are aiming to sell. Price: HIGH – Photographer will charge you high price as we are giving you the right to use the image at any point in time.
- Specific Platform rights + industry-exclusive rights + time specific. Photographer will own the copyrights and offer you the rights to use the photo for a specific platform (either internet, outdoor or print), industry-exclusive rights ( Photographer will NOT sell the same photo to your industry competitors) and give you a specific time frame to use the photo. On this agreement, you cannot sell the photo or use the photo as the main element on a product/service you sell. Price: MEDIUM
- Specific Platform rights + industry non-exclusive rights + time specific. Photographer will own the copyrights and offer you the rights to use the photo for a specific platform (either internet, outdoor or print), Photographer will be able to sell the photo to your competitors and give you a specific time frame to use the photo. On this agreement, you cannot sell the photo or use the photo as the main element on a product/service you sell. Price: LOWEST OF ALL OPTIONS.
- Rights for “transformative” work. In certain instances, you (the client) want to ensure you have the rights to “alter/edit/modify” a photograph with a new expression, meaning, or message. This is called “transformative work”. You want that new photograph to be used for either promotional material including – for example – an exhibition catalogue, a billboard, or in a post on Twitter. Make sure you include this into your copyright agreement.
Want to know about image copyrights in Australia, you should read the Photographers and Copyright Guide from the Australian Copyrights Council.
Below is a benchmark of Photography license fees in 2019 when buying photography from stock image website or influencer platforms. The more photos you buy, the cheaper per photo.
W used it as instructed on the article and we got the exact photography we wanted. Thank you.
Emily T. Verified user
5. AGREE ON EXACT PHOTO SHOOT DATE AND TIME
If it is a public holiday, night time or a weekend day, photographers might charge you more. If your photoshoot is outdoors, ensure you describe to your photographer your plan in case of bad weather conditions, rain, etc.
Photoshoot date changes: If you as a client need to change the shoot date a few times, the photographer can include an extra travel expense fee to account for airline change fees. Keep in mind that any changes in the original schedule, might increase production level and the re-negotiation of the project across the board meaning the crew would be incurring additional time, so the photographer may include an extra day fee for them to handle the workload.
6. CONFIRM EXACT SHOOTING LOCATION AND ADDRESS DETAILS
Describe to your photographer the location settings. How is the lighting available? Is it natural light? Artificial light? What sort of resources are available within the location that might help within the photoshoot. Can the photographer inspect the location before the shooting date? If it is an outdoor setting you might want to email some photos of the setting to your photographer and specify how the sunlight might sit at the time of the shooting. Checking your proposed location before the shooting is ideal however this might increase the quote from the photographer. If you are hiring the location (venue), you might want to find out any restrictions that the photographer needs to be aware of. A good idea is to ensure photographer and talent have instructions on how to get to the location to ensure everyone is on time. Let the photographer and talent know who to call if they get lost. Photographer Travel/Scout Days: The photographer would travel in and scout the location prior to the shoot day, and then fly back home the day after the shoot. He, therefore, can include some travel/scout days.
7. CHECK HOW CASTING (MODELS) IS SOURCED
Casting (Models) can make or break a shoot, and it runs deeper than the look and style of a model. Chemistry is crucial and often the difference between a good shoot and a great one. A fantastic image – in most cases – demonstrates collaboration between photographer and models as a truly shared vision, each skill set shaping the shoot and elevating the creative experience.
The photographer ability to get the most out of the models is key. No surprise most top photographers have a defined pool of models they love working with.
As a client, it is important that you check what process the photographer has in place to source and motivate the casting to be used for your assignment.
Questions you might want to ask:
- Has the “hero” model already worked in the past with your photographer? are they friends? what type of work have they created? can you see examples?
- If the casting used for assignment is new to your photographer, how does the photographer ensure the casting keeps happy and motivated to create the most amazing creative output?
Sometimes the ideal casting are not professional models, you might want a specific person or role – not necessarily a model – therefore, the question is how competent and comfortable is your photographer to guide and lead a non-professional modelling talent.
World’s top photographers have an almost unrivalled ability to construct moments that feel at once utterly authentic yet somehow strange and beguiling. In part, a result of their sensitivity and the amazing rapport these photographers develop with their talent and models.
8. BRIEF ON THE EXACT DELIVERY DATE
Photographers might quote higher if the date is too close to the shooting date as their pipeline of work might be busy with other paid assignments.
Remember that there are many stages to creating and delivering professional images. These stages can include:
- Drawing the storyboard
- Sourcing the talent and props
- Setting everything up
- Tightening up the details in post-production.
The above can take an entire day or week depending on your brief so it is important to discuss the timings with your photographer in advance.
9. OFFER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW THE PHOTOS NEED TO BE DELIVERED
Would you like the photos delivered online platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Yousendit? If so, please add in the brief the correct email address you want to be notified when photos are ready to be downloaded. If you prefer giving an external hard drive to our photographer, that’s fine, just add in the brief the date you will be dropping it off. Photographers might like the later as it might be a faster process depending on how quick is their internet connection.
10. CONFIRM THE NUMBER OF FINAL PHOTOS
Agree on the number of photos you to be delivered. Some photographers might not give you all the photos taken as some might be test photos and others might not be as good. It is imperative that you agree on the final amount of “best” photos to be delivered.
Tip: Remember customers do not have time to see a set of 50 photos. You might want to be better fully promote the best 10 rather than publishing a set of 50 photos. Some photographers work with clients who are happy to get just 5-10 photos and then select a couple to be promoted. Obviously, there are cases where you might want more than 10 photos; a good example is a wedding where you would like – let’s say – the best 100 photos. Possibly no more than that before the photographer might be seen as an annoyance for your guests.
11. DEFINE EXACT PHOTO FILE TYPE AND RESOLUTION QUALITY
Do you need NEF (Raw), JPEG, GIF, PNG? what exact image size -height and width. Important! Are the photos going to be edited/manipulated by a professional re-toucher? In that case, you may need to brief your photographer to give you raw type photos.
12. OFFER FULL VISUAL CREATIVE INSIGHTS AND INSTRUCTIONS WITH EXAMPLES
Things to consider are:
- Choosing the best shooting angles
- Talent. Are you getting the talent to sign release forms? or do you need the photographer to find talent and get release forms signed? What’s your plan if talent does NOT show up? Would the photographer charge you any fee if the shoot needs to be cancelled or postponed? Get this clear on your brief.
- Assistants. You might want to list people who might be present during the shoot. Example: other photographers, videographers, assistants, kids, babies, etc. This way, the photographer is not surprised and expect the people in advance.
- Printing. Do you need the photos to be printed? If so, please add in your brief the exact material, size you want your photos to be printed. Some photographers work with local printing houses so they can put you in touch with them.
- Borders. Do you want final photos with a specific border? which colour? any examples? Add this into your brief.
- Blurring (Bokeh). Do you want photos to have some sort of blur around the main subjects?
- Complementary elements. Do you want a specific element to be part of some of the photos: table, chair, tree, car, horse? etc. Add this into your brief so your photographer knows about this. Photographers cannot simply “guess” the elements you want. It is important you write this down as it might impact the shooting.
- Exact subjects in the photo. If you are running an event, ensure you brief your photographer about the exact key people you need images of. Also, do you want photos full body, upper body or only faces? Do you want people together or separate? Do you want photos of people in front of a specific wall that might have your brand printed?
- Define colours. Do you want new photos to follow your brand colours or brand guidelines? Which colours? What exact colour need to stand out? Do you need photos black and white? full colour? sepia (reddish-brown)? You need to define this so your photographer knows about this.
- Uniqueness. What elements can you bring to make my new photos so unique? Can you bring talent/people never shot before? Unique costumes? specific backdrops needed to create unique backgrounds? Unique makeup on models? Unique concept? Your photographer might assist you to create a unique composition.
- Background. Do you need a clean background to accommodate for text/logo? What text/logo is going to be added into the background? Will there be any other images/illustrations added next to your new photos? Which ones? This is important as your photographer will prepare the shoot to allow for a clean background to accommodate your text.
“A clean background can communicate as much as any overlay text” MAU.
💡 Tip: Create and share a Pinterest board with your photographer so he can see the type of images you are after.
13. DEFINE PHOTO FORMATS
Static photography is only one format option these days. Pro photographers are also producing a different type of visual creative photography formats.
14. INSTRUCT HOW THE PHOTOGRAPHER WILL BE PAID – PAYMENT DETAILS
In the photography proposal you will be writing, you should instruct your photographer in advance how you are going to pay (cash, credit card, direct bank transfer) for the session and photos. Also, provide the date for the photographer to send you the first invoice. You might want to ask your photographer for a discount if you pay the full price in advance. Some photographers are freelancers and will not mind to give you a discount if you can bring them the full cash $ in advance.
Thanks for following up, yes the template was great. Our photographer was surprised by the level of detail and we received fantastic photos as a result.
Kate B. Verified user
Don’t wait and get your Premium Photography Brief Template today!
15. ENSURE MODEL RELEASE FORMS AND PROPERTY RELEASE FORMS ARE IN CHECK
When receiving the final images from your photographer and if people, art or properties have been included on your final photos; ensure all the required model release forms, art release forms and/or property release forms are properly signed by the related parties and hard copies are handed to you. To make this process easier, when you buy this carefully crafted Premium Photography Brief Template, you will also receive a Model Release Form template and a Property Release Form Template you can hand out to your professional photographer or production house.
Must read >> how to write a creative video production brief
16. KNOW WHAT GOES ON FROM A PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THEIR QUOTE
In this article >> “How photographers price for a photography assignment” you will discover all the aspects photographers need to consider to come up with a final price you did not know before.
HOW TO OPTIMISE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT BUDGET
- Limit your shooting talent to the required minimum.
- Decrease the number of images to be licensed.
- Make a list of the top 3-5 non-negotiable priority creative requirements and make sure no-one add more to that list.
- Use natural light as much as possible.
- Do not change the agreed shooting dates, times and location.
- Handle all of the post-processing in-house if you can.
WHY COMPANIES STILL PAY FOR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
- Increase brand equity. Remarkable visual imagery, photos and pictures have the power to help across your customer purchase funnel: from brand awareness and preference to customer loyalty over time.
- Influence purchase behaviour. Uniquely inspirational photography has the power to influence purchase behaviour in massive ways. Think of the last time you bought an eco-friendly product vs a standard one? or an organic product vs a non-organic one? It is likely images play a very important role to convey the brand benefits and messages at the point of purchase.
- Change attitudes. I cannot think of a better example than non-profits. For years, non-profit organisations have used powerful images carefully produced by creative photographers to drive people to not only donate but to donate more and more often.
Get your premium creative photography template. You won’t find this template anywhere else.
Popular read >> The Best Client Print Release Form (Template for photographers)
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Mau is a photographer and digital marketer at eDigital.