PHOTOGRAPHY : Photographers

There are a number of ways to work with a photographer:

The designer includes photography within their design proposal.
They will try to find some images that compliment their design – it will probably not be the ‘actual’ photograph but a sample of the same technique, or colourway, or shape.

It’s important to analyse the design and photography separately to decide if they fit the brief.
The design direction may be approved, but the photography technique may not be liked/appropriate.
In this case, a discussion about types of photographs and likes and dislikes should help resolve the issue.
At this stage it may be useful for the designer to submit a few alternatives for discussion, but the selection should be viewed as part of the design direction.

Photographers have a direct relationship with the client – they may be shooting the directors or board for the corporate governance section of the report, or perhaps they are on-site to shoot samples for a case study. In this case the designer should meet with the photographer to brief them on the style of photography.

The designer has a photographer with whom they feel most comfortable. Ask to meet them, and view their work. A quick discussion about corporate culture will usually be enough to tell if there is a future working relationship. In this discussion it will be necessary to get a feeling for how the photographer will work with people such as your executive and board.

Once the design direction and the photographer are approved, the photographic brief needs to be honed. This may be done directly with the photographer, or the designer may choose to be the intermediary – it depends on the project and the amount of involvement the client expects.

Decisions need to be made on how you are going to use the photographs. Use will dictate cost. (See Buying photography).

Whether the designer is to be present at each shooting session needs to be discussed because there may be implications on budget. Whilst being present for board/director shots may be wise, it may not be necessary for location shots. In fact some designers brief their photographer closely, then give them freedom to shoot solo. This can have huge logistical and economical savings, and often comes with the confidence of a long working relationship. Other designers prefer to art direct each and every shot. Their art direction fee should be written into the estimate.

Briefing a photographer

Prepare a brief for the photographer as part of the initial design brief.

Download a guide for briefing a photographer.