Successful Photoshoot starts with Creative Brief
Just like any other projects, the key to a successful photoshoot project is planning. It might sound simple but it is quite often neglected as it is commonly believe that a professional photographer should know what they are doing and deliver great results. Well, as much as we, as the photographers would like to believe this statement ourselves, 90% of the time we are playing the guessing game, trying to read the clients mind, and even question the mystical crystal ball for some kind of clue on what our clients want if not discussed upfront. If we are lucky, 10% of the shoots will turn out successful and 90% of them who return after would be pissed after when their needs are not met.
Every project is uniquely different and it is only fair if we tailor our approach to treat it the way it should be rather than applying the same template of approach over and over again. The more details and informations that are discussed prior to the shoot, the easier it will be for you to get what you desire and have your objective achieved. Believe me, it will show in your final images. No doubt a good and experience photographer will be able to handle hiccups on the fly, but predicting the hiccups and solving it first is equally critical to guarantee a successful shoot result. It is also safe to mention that it would be best if the creative brief is ready before meeting with the photographer
Lack of proper planning and communication can only result in a photoshoot that proves to be frustrating for all parties involved and expectations may not be adequately met. Hence the blaming game begins. To prevent all this chaos from happening it is crucial for the client to prepare two things before every shooting project to ensure maximum efficient and gain. A creative brief (1) and a shot list (2). (Template at the bottom of the page)
Start with writing a brief summary of what you hope to accomplish with your shoot (Creative Brief). This is essential for your photographer so they are able to get a sense of what your expectations are. For example, what do you want to present, do you want to show the usage of space, reflecting the lifestyle design into the space, do you want to get a stylized shot of a space, showcase details, telling stories, or document your process and story of design.
(1) What should be included in a creative brief?
- OBJECTIVE. What are you looking to achieve?
- CONTACT. Who and what is the main point of contact before, during and after the shoot
- TYPE of PHOTOGRAPHY. What type of photography are you looking for? (Example: Lifestyle, Commercial, Exterior, Interior)
- TIMING. When are you looking to schedule your shoot? When do you need the final product?
- NARRATIVE. What is your design narrative?
- DESIGN TYPE and STYLE. What is the personality and style of your design?
- AUDIENCE. What demographic and type of audience are you targeting?
- IMAGE USAGE. Are you planning to use these image online, print or both?
Next, make a list of the subject matter and areas you need it to be shoot (Shot List). Itemize the areas you would like to photograph. In the best case scenario the photographer should be able to scout your property and provide ideas and suggestions that meet your content requirements, and still align with your style guidelines (If any) before the shoot. Otherwise, a virtual meeting discussion going through photographs and floor plan of the space will be good enough at the very least. Tips: Focus on hero angles and vignettes of a space will be more beneficial in presenting a space rather than a dozen of random shot from every angle.
(2) What should be included in a shot list?
- LOCATIONS. What areas/angles do you want to be photographed?
- MODELS. Would you like to have models in your photos? Note: If you need images to be shot in two ways, with and without models. Be sure to inform the photographer. Who is hiring the models? Who are the models?
- CULTURAL SENSITIVITY. Are there any cultural sensitivities to mention? (ie. Wardrobe, alcohol, food) to avoid.
- STYLING & PROPS. Do you need any additional props for styling? What kind of props? How to obtain them?
Additional tips when planning a creative brief.
To get maximum value from the shoot, it is worth creating variations within one single area by changing models and props to suit varying usages and subjects. Prior to the shoot, think about these different scenarios and plan them out. Make sure to discuss these ideas with the photographer prior to the shoot to ensure enough time is allocated for your desired imagery.
Download the Creative Brief template here to ease your planning for next projects.