Your brief can make all the difference to the way a photographer captures your event, so it’s essential that you get it right. Think of the brief not only as a fool-proof guide for your chosen photographer, but also as a safety net for you and your team. 

You’ve spoken to your photographer about the event and you are confident you have booked the right person, but that doesn’t mean you can leave anything up to chance. Make sure you have everything covered when coming up with your brief by keeping the following three areas – schedule, style and shots – front of mind at all times. 

Schedule: where and when you need them

Remember, however experienced your event photographer is – they are not psychic. So don’t expect them to turn up to the venue and suddenly know who and what to shoot. If there are specific people to photograph, provide a list of names. If possible, introduce them so the photographer recognises them in the crowd and knows who they should be looking out for.

If there are key events you want to capture, provide the timings. This might be a keynote speech, the headline act or a group gathering backstage. It sounds obvious, but the photographer will thank you for providing this information up front so they can work out where they need to be and ensure their equipment is set up and ready to go when the time comes.

Style: capturing a look and feel that suits your event

Include in your brief examples of the kind images that you like or perhaps the social media feeds of companies that you think are doing a great job. Sharing images that you like will provide the photographer with inspiration and give them a much better idea of what it is you are looking for. Think about the aim of the photos, and what you want them to say. Is it that the event was fun, informative, funny or inspiring? You can also review the photographer’s own portfolio and talk about the things that prompted you to book them in the first place – what is it about their style do you think makes them a good fit for your event. Also think about if you prefer black and white or colour, everything in focus or just the foreground, crowd scenes or close-ups?

Shots: from close-ups to crowd shots

In addition, go beyond look and feel, and talk about the kind of shots you want – it can be a mixture and might include staged formal shots, action shots, reportage-style scenes that people aren’t aware are being taken, pictures that tell the story of the event – from arriving to departing, and candid social media-style snaps.

Think beyond people and add places and behind-the-scenes elements to your shoot list – like the food and drinks on offer, the branding and any flourishes that you think sum up the event. You should already have an idea of what you want to use the images for, but it’s a real bonus if you can be left with a collection of shots that could have multiple uses. Whether that’s for a corporate brochure, to advertise a future event, to send to a journalist, or to add to your website.

You know how important it is to plan your event down to the tiniest detail, and the same is true when it comes to your photography brief. Thinking about every single element from the point of view of a photographer might just reveal areas that need extra attention or opportunities that you weren’t aware even existed – so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

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