The brief - A guide to writing a great photography brief

As explained in my post "The 5 benefits of professional photography for businessesI believe professional photography is a great investment in your business and your brand. With a plethora of uses and a potential great return on investment. 


When it comes to getting your images commissioned its important that you have a clear idea of what you want. Its also important that the photographer understands your vision. The best way of achieving this is to write up a brief. A brief is simply an outline of what you want. Whilst a brief can be a very simple outline, the more detailed it is the better. Below I have compiled some top tips to write a great photography brief.

  1. Provide a clear outline of what the shoot is for; is it for a new collection of products, a launch of a new service or business, or is it content to supplement content that you already have. this is important as different use cases warrant different approaches. 
  2. Sketch your ideas - if you know the composition of the image(s) that you want then try drawing a simple sketch, when it comes to discussing the brief with your photographer they may do this as well to work through the ideas 
  3. Create a mood board; this step can be skipped but is very helpful it allows you to collate ideas by looking at successful campaigns for inspiration. The goal here isn’t to copy other work but to get the feel for elements that might work for your campaign. Think about the atmosphere, lighting etc.  
  4. Include examples of your current or previous marketing work and an outline of your brand identity; This is very important if you are looking to continue your brand identity. If you are looking to focus on a new image give your photographer an outline of this image. Is your brand minimalist, rustic, retro etc? Have you got company colours that you want included in the project or specific colours such as competitors colours that you want to avoid? Anything thats important to your brand should be included. 
  5. Do you need props; Are there any specific props that you want included or clothing that any models need to be wearing. Your photographer will need to know this so take your time to think through these details the last thing you want is to get your images and somethings missing.
  6. It’s best before you finalise your brief to discuss it with your photographer as they can lend their expertise on elements of the shoot and make clarifications. Remember your photographer want the image(s) to be successful too!

This is just a few points that you should cover remember the more details you can give the better. I've provided a TEMPLATE[pdf] brief to give you an idea of how to lay this out. If you are struggling with any aspects of writing a brief don't hesitate to get in touch with your photographer. 

Stewart Thompson Photography Provides commercial photography services get in touch if you are interested in commissioning a shoot. 

The process - A start to finish guide to using commercial photography services

For many small business owners marketing is a daunting prospect, it can be difficult to choose the right avenues to look at and how much to spend on them. One of the more expensive areas you will likely look at is getting professional photography of your business. As detailed in my previous post, The 5 benefits of professional photography for businesses, professional photography is a great investment for you business but how exactly do you go about it?

For those who have never used a photographer before I have put together this run down of the process used by photographers. Note that all photographers are different and may work to a slightly different process 



Step 1 - Finding a photographer 

Firstly you have to find the photographer you want to work with. You should look for a photographer who's style you like and think will work with your brand. Its important to look through the photographers portfolio and assess the quality and style of the work.

There are many ways to find Photographers perhaps the easiest is a simple google search this will usually find photographers in your area and bring them to the top as well for you. Another way to find the right photographer is to go through a business directory such as or, you may also look at advertising agencies. 


Step 2. The consultation


Great you've found the perfect photographer now lets really get started. Once you have an idea of what you are looking to achieve you should arrange a consultation or meeting with the photographer. Please note some photographers may charge for this consultation (I don't charge for this). This meeting is not only a great time to get to know your photographer but also for them to get to know you. This is important as the more the photographer knows about your vision for the shoot the more they can help you. If your still not 100% sure on the concept or what you want from the final image(s) then ask your photographer what they think. At the end of the day they want the image to be successful too! Lastly don't be discouraged if you are unable to iron out all the details straight away it's better to spend extra time at this stage rather than change you mind or be unhappy with the results later.


Step 3. Finalising the brief and writing a contract


Now that you have decided on what you are wanting from the photographer it is important that you now get it down in writing. One of the best ways to do this is to draw up a brief for the shoot. The brief is a basic outline of what image(s) is needed, it doesn't need to be anything fancy, remember it's a basic outline. The reason that a brief is so important is it not only gives the photographer a plan of action for the shoot but also it acts as a form of contract between the photographer and you to set out your expectations. 

At this point you should always get a contract written up. This should include a quote or estimate for the shoot as well as deadlines and details about what is to be done  (this is where the brief comes in). You should also agree copyright terms with the photographer some photographers will charge usage fees and some will allow you to use the images for a set period of time. Most photographers will not give you the copyright and will instead allow you to use the images but hold onto the copyright. Its important that you understand the copyright terms to avoid any issues in the future.

I'll soon be publishing a post about how to write a great photography brief subscribe to the email list to get notified when it drops, being a member of the email list also makes you eligible for member discounts


Step 4. The shoot 


So you've gotten through the planning stages of the shoot and now comes the shoot itself. What happens at this point will depend on what was agreed with the photographer. Often photographers will be happy for you to be present during the shoot if done in a studio, This will enable you to have input at the time of the shoot and to tweak little details. This isn't to say that you should be hovering over their shoulder but don't be scared to speak up (after all it's your shoot). 

In some situations being present for the shoot may be difficult, inconvenient or even dangerous and the photographer will discuss this with you before hand. If this is the case it's time to put your feet up, but make sure the photographer can get hold of you if they need further input or clarification. 


Step 5. Post production


Hang in there we're almost finished. Now that the shoot is finished the photographer may arrange another meeting with you to look over the images, confirm that you are happy with the images and to discuss what post production work you might want done. This part can be quite off putting to those who don't know much about photography but don't worry that's what your photographer is there for. They should recommend any changes that may need to be made and run you through the process. Just bare in mind this part can take a while.


Step 6. Get using your images 


Now all thats left to do is to pay your photographer if you haven't already and receive your images. Get using them in your marketing and remember that these images can be reused for many purposes as detailed in, The 5 benefits of professional photography for businesses.


Stewart Thompson Photography offers commercial photography services to businesses in Scotland if you want to commission a shoot or have any questions don't hesitate to get in touch.


The 5 benefits of professional photography for businesses

Businesses can benefit greatly from professional photography, it can not only improve your business's image but also help your business acquire new customers. I'll be the first to say that professional Photography is not cheap especially in the commercial space, this expense puts off a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, but it shouldn't. Here is a list of 5 reasons your business should be using professional photography.


1. Multiple uses 

You may have heard the phrase "content is king" this is very true and great images are great content, they have many uses and are reusable. A lot of businesses miss this point, the uses of an image are widespread. Online you could use the images in social media posts, advertisements, blog posts and on your website, online you are truly spoilt for choice. offline you could be using the images in brochures and magazines and a whole host of promotional materials. Using images in this way can contribute to a brand image which brings me to...


2. Standing out

Professional photography makes your business stand out especially when used with a great marketing strategy. While stock images are both cheap and easy to source they lack the personal touch. I'm not saying not to use stock images (I use them myself) but having images specifically for your business helps create a brand identity. You can use photography to show your customers what your all about and even the people that make your business tick


3. Telling a story

Having a well written webpage, blog post/article or pamphlet is great. You can put hours into getting everything just right with a body of text that has valuable information and your readers will love it. However we have to face the fact that humans are visual creatures. This is the reason that we prefer to watch a video explaining an issue rather than reading information on a blog post (maybe I should start making videos). Images help to expand and explain the content this is particularly true with complex issues. Having a visual cue can help break up the a big slab of text making it more digestible for your audience. 


4. Trust and professionalism

Having professional images on your website and in your marketing material displays your professionalism to potential customers. people like to see what your all about they like to see the service and products you offer and they want to see them well presented. Think about it this way, if you were going to buy a product online and you saw 2 listings for 2 similar products, one had an image of the product isolated on a clean white background with clear bright lighting and the other had an image taken on someones phone with poor lighting, which product would you buy? This concept is true with business portraits as well customers will trust you and by extention your business more if you have a professional portrait. there is a place for duck face selfies but its not on your business's "about us" page


5.  SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is vital for businesses operating online. Without getting in to the complexities of SEO it is esentially the process of making your website valuable to search engine like google and bing and thereby getting your site to rank on searches. Search engines love content that contains relevant images. The importance of seo can not be understated, having a website that ranks highly on search engine helps drive more traffic giving you more chances to convert those visitors to your site into paying customers 


Professional Photography is a great investment for your business 

Photography is one of the best investments you can make when looking at your marketing strategy.

Stewart Thompson photography offers photography services to businesses at competitive rates if you have any questions or are interested in commissioning a shoot get in contact