Transforming A Creative Brief Into Great Photography
Great photography doesn’t just happen overnight and it’s often the sum of various processes in thought, brainstorming and conceptualisation. If you ever thought that it was simply an effortless case of pointing and clicking at something pretty, then you’re quite wrong. Professional photographers follow a series of events that bring them to the final point where the clicking takes place, and this all begins with the creative brief.
Often the client will know exactly what they want and how it should be portrayed, but there is always space for the photographer to add his or her creative input to ensure that their professional influence is injected into the photography project in some way. These are a few of the thorough processes and actions that a photographer might (and should) go through to ensure that the end product they deliver is something that makes the client go “wow!”
Unpack The Brief
The photographic brief can be thought of as a treasure map. It holds the key points and information that eventually lead to the gold at the end, which is a magnificent photographic representation of an idea. Take your time to unpack the elements of the brief carefully, understanding each point and the reasons for doing the shoot in the first place.
Top tips from our pros: no photographer should ever be so arrogant to think that they don’t need to consider the brief and what the client wants. By ignoring what the brief says you are ignoring your client’s wishes, and they’re the ones bringing you the business. Try to understand the brief from their point of view and from the business perspective… what is the end goal and how can you help them achieve it?
Perhaps you’ve seen a photographer look at a scene and block out a square using their fingers in order to imagine what a photograph of that space would look like. Perhaps you’ve even giggled when seeing a photographer do this, but it’s part of the manner in which they immerse themselves into the scene and into the moment. You might notice them walking around the scene to view it from different angles. Perhaps they crouch down or stand atop raised surfaces… all without camera in hand. This is part of creating the vision and also imparting their personal inner vision into the project.
Different angles have power, so too do light, shadow and vantage points. Before a camera is even picked up, the photographer will be scoping out the area to find the best points to shoot from. All the while their creative brains are churning up a storm inside, visualising the end product to perfection.
Top tip from our pros: put the camera down, take as long as you need to absorb the area and subject matter. Understand your space and how the light enters it before you think about the shot. Create a vision in your mind of how it should look and what you want the end product to look and feel like.
Relay Your Findings To The Client
Before you go ahead and shoot your vision, you need to relay this information to your client. No matter how you see a shoot panning out, it has to meet the requirements of the creative brief. In order to get the go-ahead from the client, you need to take them into the space where your vision exists.
Tell them how you visualise the end product looking (and feeling… because photographs evoke emotion). You need to transform the visual into words and sometimes that can be tricky. If you’re not good at explaining yourself and your vision vocally, draw a picture of what your creative brain is telling you. Sketch it out in a way that allows your client to understand your thought process and what the final product will be.
Top tip from our pros: don’t let your ego get the better of you. What you think meets the brief might not gel with what your client wants, so although you are the creative artist here, your work needs to be accepted and adored by your client too. Take criticism with a pinch of salt and don’t make it personal. You can often find a way to meet your client halfway.
Plan, Practice And Perfect
The beauty of digital cameras is that we can see what we’re shooting right away, so there is the opportunity to plan and practice your vision until it is perfect. Before you involve models or subjects in your shoot, you can take the time to practice a few shots around the area, capturing the light in different ways and reviewing your work. Once you’re confident in your approach, go for perfection.
Top tip from our pros: take your time to fully involve yourself in the shoot. You might even want to think of the initial shots as “warm up” shots before you go and dive deep into the real, raw subject matter.
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