Simon Zammit Photography | How To Get What You Want From A Photographer:

How To Get What You Want From A Photographer:

April 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

A client’s guide to ensuring the photos you receive are the one you need.


We all know, money is a finite resource, one which you need to be careful with.  This is even more important if you are running a business. 

Any purchase you make, you will almost certainly shop around and you will look for the best deal you can get, and rightly so.  However, even the best deal can be expensive and you are investing your hard-earned money in a product that should enhance your business.

If you are buying a piece of equipment for your business, you will have a list of specifications that will need to be met to ensure you get what you need, and if the price is good but the specifications do not at least match your needs, you probably would not buy that item.

It should be exactly the same when purchasing photographs for your business.  You need to ensure you get images that actually fulfil their purpose. If not, it will lead to disappointment and potentially additional expense.

In order to ensure you do not run into problems, you should sit down with your photographer and give them a written brief on exactly what it is you want.  Now, just because you have a clear idea in your mind, it may not necessarily mean it is achievable.  You need to ensure you ask the photographer to read the brief and be completely honest about the practicality of the project and their ability to meet the requirements.


Obtaining a True Estimate of Cost and Feasibility from a Photographer

It’s important that you give the photographer as much information about your vision for the shoot in advance, as this will help them prepare and provide you with a true idea of the costs likely to be incurred and more importantly just how feasible your ideas are. Tell them how you will use the photos and show them images that have the style you are trying to achieve.

Your brief should cover:

  • The Objective – what do you want the photo the photo to say or do? (how it should engage the viewers)
  • Location – studio/interior/exterior and specifics of location. What will happen if there is bad weather?
  • Start and finish times – Ensure you allow enough time for the setup and clearance of the shoot. 
  • Lighting – Will natural light suffice or do you need additional lighting equipment?
  • Image format – landscape or portrait? E.g. if for a web banner most will be landscape and need an area for text. Ask for the photos to be taken so that they can be cropped in different ways.
  • Event photography – tell the photographer who the important people are for them to capture? Remember, eating and drinking is usually unflattering it will limit the images use.
  • File format – This will largely depend on what you want the photos for.  Ask the photographer for guidance, for instance, images for web use need to be of sufficient quality but not be too big. However, for printed media, Hi-res files (10Mb+) are often necessary
  • Deadline for deliverables: set a realistic deadline for the delivery of the processed images. If they are for immediate release to the press, make sure the photographer is fully aware.

With the above information, a professional photographer will be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of the costs and advise you about any additional matters that may need to be arranged by yourself.


Between Commissioning a Photographer and the Day of the Shoot

Having commissioned your photographer of choice, you will also need to consider the following in the weeks leading up to the shoot:

  • Diversity and inclusivity of your subject(s), will they paint a positive image of your organisation? After all, you would not want to alienate any part of your potential market.
  • Room preparation – If the shoot is at your premises, some removal of clutter may be necessary.
  • Group shots – if there is to be a group, and you have a clear idea of the look or style you want, i.e. a dress code, warn the subject(s) in advance.
  • Props – If you need specific items to be in the photos, make arrangements for them to be there at least 48 hours prior to the shoot.
  • Health & Safety #1 – make sure that everyone involved is fully briefed on all safety requirements specific to the location, eg in a laboratory or workshop shots etc, everyone is wearing the correct PPE. 
  • Health & Safety #2 – Make sure your photographer provides you with an accurate and specific Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) for their activity on you premises

The Photographer will need to ensure they are fully conversant with all locations and specific shot requirements.  So be sure to programme in a pre-shoot visit, so they can familiarise themselves with the location(s).  Remember, if additional artificial light is required, there may need to be several electrical outlets available for use on the day.

A model consent form should be completed for each person being photographed and signed by them.   The original copy must be kept by the organisation and copies provided to the photographer one week prior to the shoot in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. 

If the people being photographed are under 18 then you need to get the signed consent of their parent or legal guardian. If you are in any doubt then do not include them in the shoot. 


On the Day of the Shoot

Make sure you have the following at the location:

  • Everyone involved and all items you want to be included in the shoot.
  • Copies of the Model Consent Forms, and a few blanks just in case.
  • All areas being photographed are cordoned off to prevent accidental interruption or accidents, there may be a number of cables on the ground if additional artificial lighting is required.
  • A copy of the RAMS for the shoot
  • Access to wellbeing facilities for those involved (WC, water etc)

Also, you should confirm:

  • The day’s schedule with the photographer
  • The delivery of the processed images, in accordance with the commissioning paperwork.


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