A guide to understanding photography briefs19th June 2018 // Bronya Bouchia
As a professional photographer, you’ll be working closely with your clients to make sure they achieve their creative goals. No matter whether you’re working on an editorial fashion shoot or carrying out medical photography, you’ll always have a photography brief to work to so that both you and your client are on the same page.
It’s important to fully understand your client’s brief so that the work you produce is in line with their requirements. However, if you’re new to the world of professional photography, this can be a difficult task to master.
That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to photography briefs, how to interpret them and the top questions you should ask your photography clients so that you achieve the desired outcome.
What are the different types of brief?
There are a range of different types of brief that you could come across in your professional photography career, including:
- Formal briefs - A contract with all rules and regulations laid out clearly, where both parties must agree on the regulations.
- Informal briefs - Doesn’t include any contracts, however, must be created with the client.
- Co-operative briefs - Two or more companies are hired to work to a specified brief.
- Negotiated briefs - This is brought up if issues or queries arise from a co-operative brief. This means the initial brief can be changed to suit the needs of all parties.
- Commission briefs - When an external media company is hired to create a product.
- Tender briefs - When a client publishes a job advert detailing what needs to be produced, and professionals send proposals to ‘win’ the job.
- Competition briefs - Whereby a brief is left open for a range of professionals to complete. The chosen work is then published by the company.
The type of brief that you are given will depend on the amount of freedom you have with the project and who you will be working with.
What should be in your photography brief?
As a general rule of thumb, your brief should answer the 5 Ws - who, what, when, where and why. This can help to paint a picture of what the client wants to achieve, why they want to achieve it and when this should be completed.
Different types of brief can result in different outcomes, and will contain different elements. For example, a formal brief may come in the form of a formal contract with details outlined and signed by both parties. Alternatively, an informal brief can just consist of a discussion between you and the client, where you will need to make notes so that you achieve what the client wants.
If in any part of this process you feel like you don’t have the information you need, you’ll need to ask your clients a few questions to make sure you’re on the same page. We discuss some of the questions you could ask in the next section.
Questions to ask photography clients
If you’re unsure about any part of the brief you’ve been given, it’s always best to resolve the issue with your client directly. We’ve put together a few questions to ask photography clients beforehand so that you can get more clarity on your project.
What types of photos do you want to avoid?
It’s highly likely that you will not always be familiar with the industry that you’re shooting for. Therefore, if you want to find out any clichés or stereotypes that you should avoid it’s always best to ask upfront.
How much (total) time will there be for makeup, hair and the photoshoot?
In some cases timing is out of your control, therefore, it’s always best to ask how much time you will have in total so that you can plan your photography in advance. If you find that hair and makeup has taken longer than anticipated, then you’ll have time to think about how you’ll use those remaining valuable minutes.
How many people will be on set?
If you’re shooting a big campaign, it’s likely that there will be more people on your photography set than anticipated. Therefore, asking this question will help you to prepare for any potential distractions and interruptions.
Of course, don’t forget to keep your kit safely stowed away in a protective camera case to avoid any serious accidents when people are rushing around you on set.
How to get photography work
Now that you’re ready to receive your first photography brief, it’s time to look for the right role. Getting photography work may seem challenging at first, however, it’s all about knowing where to look. Read on to discover how to secure a professional photography job.
Enter a competition
Entering a photography competition is a great way to get your name out there and show off your best work. Not only this, but you can also win cash prizes and photography gear that can help you in your career.
Create a portfolio
In order to secure jobs, you’ll need to start collating your work so that you have something to show your prospective clients. However, it’s important to remember that you will need to tailor your portfolio to suit the jobs you want to get.
Show your enthusiasm
One of the most attractive traits to any employer is enthusiasm, therefore, make sure you show this off when you apply for jobs. Put in your maximum effort, be punctual and work to your client’s brief to show that you’re the right person for the job, and the work will come flowing in.
Becoming a professional photographer is extremely rewarding, all it takes a bit of perseverance and confidence and you’ll build up a list of clients in no time. If you’re looking for the best hard case for camera equipment and accessories, browse our shop to find a selection of rugged cases to suit every want and need.