Product photography briefs are often overlooked when it comes to start-ups and small businesses. Why is an effective brief so important? When you know how to brief a product photographer, you avoid:


• Product photos that don’t capture your brand,

• Never ending loops of communications,

• Reshoots, revisions and extra costs,

• Delayed projects,

• and lots of frustration

In this article, I’ll share the art of briefing your photographer. Because effective communication leads to stunning visual results.

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Let’s Paint a Picture …


Bringing your brand to life through a camera lens requires more than a quick email. When briefing a product photographer you need to paint a vivid picture of your vision.

A well-crafted brief sets you up for success. It aligns expectations and provides crucial information. This makes certain your photographer captures your products the way you envision.

A Step By Step Guide …


This isn’t a short article, but I’ll make things as easy as possible for you. If you like to skim, I’ve provided this table of contents so you can get to the information you want fast.


For those readers who want a complete guide, we’ll explore:

• The entire process, step by step.

• The key elements that make up an effective brief, and

• Practical tips for communication strategies


Plus, I promise to keep this easy to read and understand.


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The Importance of a Clear Brief


What is a brief and what is its role in product photography?


Your brief is a document that outlines essential information for the photoshoot. It establishes your expectations and goals for a project. The brief serves as a roadmap to guide your photographer.


A clear, concise brief will communicate your brand’s story. You’ll explain the emotions and qualities your brand evokes.


It is the bridge between your imagination and a photographer’s lens. Your brief sets the stage, so both you and the photographer are on the same wave length.

Benefits of providing a clear and comprehensive brief


Why invest time and effort into creating a detailed brief? Can’t the photographer just work their magic?


No matter how good your photographer is, they are not a mind-reader. The chances of them capturing your brand’s essence are low unless they know exactly what you want.


So here are the myriad of benefits that come with a clear and comprehensive brief.


• Avoid Miscommunication Mishaps:


Providing explicit instructions and expectations upfront, minimizes the chances of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. A clear brief acts as a safety net.


• Consistency Across Projects:


A well-defined brief ensures consistency across different shoots. This really helps if you have multiple products or ongoing photography needs. You’ll be able to maintain a cohesive visual style, reinforcing your brand identity.


• Time and Cost Efficiency:


A clear brief is an investment that pays dividends. A photographer who understands your specific requirements can efficiently capture the perfect shots. It reduces the need for endless revisions, saving time, money and frustration.

reducing bounce rates using high quality product photography

Impact of a well-defined brief on the final product images


Picture this:

• You receive a batch of product images that truly reflect your brand’s essence.

• The lighting, angles, and composition are spot on.

• These images highlight the unique features of your products in an irresistible way.


How did this magic happen? It all boils down to that well-defined brief.


A clear brief is as a guiding star. It helps the photographer understand your products and brand inside out. The result? Stunning visuals that grab attention, engage your audience, and drive conversions.


A well-defined brief isn’t just a piece of paper or a few paragraphs of text. It’s the secret ingredient that sets the stage for a successful product photography project.


So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to craft a brief that will make your products shine like never before!

Preparing the Brief


Research and select the right product photographer for your project


It all starts with finding the perfect product photographer for your project.


Take the time to research and evaluate different photographers.


• Examining their portfolios

• Check their client testimonials

• Evaluate their ability to capture products similar to yours.


Look for someone whose style resonates with your brand. You want a product photographer who has a proven track record of delivering high-quality results.


Remember, the photographer is a creative partner. You want someone who will collaborate with you to achieve your goals. So, don’t rush this step.


Take a deep dive into their work. Get a sense of their artistic flair. Most importantly, make sure they have the technical expertise to handle your project.


Gathering and organizing essential information about your brand and products


Now it’s time to gather all the crucial details about your brand and products. Start by compiling information about your brand’s values and mission.


• What sets you apart from the competition?

• What emotions or experiences do you want to evoke through your imagery?

• Is there a story behind your products?

Gather specific product details such as dimensions, colors, textures, and any notable features.


• Are there any particular angles or perspectives that best showcase their key attributes?


The more information you provide, the better equipped your photographer will be to capture the essence of your products.

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Identifying your goals, target audience, and desired visual style


To have a successful product photography project, you need three things. A clear understanding of your:


• goals,

• target audience, and

• desired visual style.


Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve with these images?”


Are you looking to increase sales, elevate your brand image, or simply showcase the quality and craftsmanship of your products?


Consider your target audience as well.


Who are they?

• What are their preferences and aspirations?


Understanding your audience will help your photographer tailor the imagery to resonate with them. That will elicit the desired response to help meet your goals.


Now, let’s talk style! Reflect on the aesthetic you want to convey through your product images. Do you prefer a minimalist, clean look, or a more vibrant and energetic vibe? Maybe something retro or futuristic? For more information on this, read my article: Art Directing Product Photography For Your Company’s Photoshoot.


Collect visual references that align with your brand’s vision. One place to do this is Pinterest. You can create a private board and pin images you like, then share it with your photographer.


These references will help you communicate your visual style to the photographer.


By taking the time to:


• research and select the right photographer,

• gather essential information about your brand and products, and

• identify your goals, target audience, and desired visual style,


you’ll lay a strong foundation for a successful briefing process.


So, grab that notepad and start compiling all the necessary details. The magic is about to happen!

Key Elements of an Effective Brief


Now you have a solid foundation for the brief. Let’s delve into the key elements that make your document an effective brief.


Product Details


The first element of your brief should focus on describing your products in detail. Provide comprehensive information about the product specifications and features. Include details such as:


• materials used,

• special functionalities,

• any distinctive attributes that set your products apart from the competition.

• product dimensions,

• colors, and

• textures.


Is there a particular color palette or texture you want highlighted? You may want to include hexidecimal codes so colors can be matched.


Don’t forget to mention any unique or challenging aspects of the product.


• Is it reflective or transparent?

• Does it have intricate details that require careful attention?


Highlighting these factors sets the stage for the photographer to tackle potential challenges.

Creative Direction


Next you’ll focus on defining the desired visual style and mood for your product images. Be descriptive, convey the emotions you want to evoke through the photography.


Describe the atmosphere. You’ve already gathered this information – and here is the place to put it.


To help the photographer grasp your vision, share images or mood boards that align with your style. Visual aids provide a clear visual representation of your expectations. This will make it easier for the photographer to understand and achieve your vision.


Be sure to include your brand identity and values. These play a crucial role in the creative direction. It helps your photographer align the visuals with your brand’s overall image.

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Technical Requirements


The technical requirements section focuses on specifics. How do you want your products to be captured?


Discuss the specific angles, perspectives, and compositions. Are you having the products shot by themselves, in groups, or both? Consider if you need shots from lots of angles or close-ups of specific details.


Are there any specific lighting requirements or constraints?


• Do you want the product to appear as if it is in natural light?

• Or is there a specific artificial lighting setup?

• Do you want shadows from light streaming in a window or through window blinds?

• Do you want a sunny beach vibe or a cool forest?


You don’t need to know how to do this, you just need to communicate the details to your photographer.


Lighting can dramatically impact the mood and overall look of the images. Providing clear guidance ensures that the photographer can achieve the desired lighting effects.

Do you need specific file formats, resolution, and delivery specifications?


Should the images be in high-resolution for print? Or web-ready images for online platforms? Are there particular dimensions required?


Outlining these technical details saves time and ensures that you receive your images ready to go.



Setting clear timelines and deliverables is essential. Specify the deadlines for each phase of the project. When will you want the initial shoot? What day do you need the proofs? How many days will it take for post-processing and delivery?


Photographers work at different speeds, so it is best to talk with them and learn their schedule. By agreeing on the dates in advance you can ensure the project stays on track.



Discuss the number of final images you require. This number will usually be included in the photographer’s quote. Having it in your brief helps them understand expectations.


Today, most product images are delivered digitally. Do you need printed images? If so, make sure the photographer includes this in your quote.

Post Processing


Your photographer will have a style. Make certain you like their work, because your images will reflect this. Still, it makes sense to clarify any post-processing or retouching expectations.


Do you prefer a natural look, something super bright or over-saturated? Maybe you want a cinematic look, or film noir or even black and white.


Do you want a minimal retouch? Or would you prefer more extensive editing to make certain your products are perfect?


Providing clear guidelines on post-processing ensures the final images align with your expectations.


Ask your photographer if they can provide examples of the post-processing style you want. This way you will know if the work will match your needs or if changes must be made before they edit the images.

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Effective Communication Strategies


Now that you have a well-crafted brief, let’s explore some effective communication strategies. These will ensure your vision is effectively conveyed to the product photographer.


Clear and open communication is key to a successful collaboration. These strategies that will help you achieve just that.


Clear and Concise Language


When communicating your ideas and expectations, use clear, concise language. Avoid ambiguity, be specific about what you want.


Steer clear of jargon and technical terms that the photographer may not be familiar with. Remember, effective communication is about ensuring that both parties are on the same page.


Language should be easily understandable and relatable. This will ensure a smooth and productive collaboration.

Visual References


As mentioned, visual references play a powerful role in conveying your vision. The examples you provide help to bridge any gaps in understanding.


Be sure reference images, sketches, or mock-ups align with your desired visual style and mood. Explain the purpose behind each visual to highlight the specific elements or aspects you want.


Visual references not only provide clarity but also inspire creativity. They can open up a dialogue between you and the photographer. These images serve as a common ground to discuss and refine ideas.

Collaboration and Feedback


Effective communication is a two-way street. Encourage open communication and dialogue with your product photographer. Sharing ideas, suggestions, and insights leads to better results.


Actively listen to the photographer’s suggestions and insights. They are experts in their field and may bring fresh perspectives or creative ideas to the table.


Their experience adds value to your project. Always be open to their input and embrace the collaborative process.


Also provide constructive feedback throughout the process. If something doesn’t align with your vision or needs adjustments, communicate it. Do so clearly and respectfully.


Effective feedback helps the photographer understand your preferences. They can then make the necessary adjustments to achieve the desired results.


Using these strategies creates an environment that fosters understanding, creativity, and collaboration. They help ensure that both you and the photographer are working towards a shared vision.

lifestyle product photo for beauty products

Tips for Effective Briefing Sessions


Effective briefing sessions:


• save time,

• are productive,

• collaborative, and

• result in a clear understanding between you and the product photographer.


In Person or Virtual Briefing Sessions


Detailed briefs may require scheduling in-person or virtual meetings with the photographer. These meetings provide an opportunity to have more in-depth discussions about your project.


In-person meetings offer the advantage of face-to-face interaction. You can better gauge the photographer’s understanding and build a personal connection.


During these meetings, go over the brief together, step by step. This allows you to address any questions, concerns, or clarifications that may arise. You will be able to discuss creative ideas, brainstorm solutions, and establish a shared understanding of the project.

Creating Written Brief Documents


Take the time to create a well-structured and comprehensive brief document. You want to capture all the essential information to be discussed during your meetings.


Use clear headings and subheadings to organize the information and make it accessible. A well-written brief document is a clear reference to consult or refer to.

Encourage Questions and Seek Clarification


Questions and clarifications are vital. Emphasize to the photographer that you value their input.


Encourage them to ask questions when something is unclear. Stay open to providing further guidance on aspects of the project if needed.


Similarly, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from the photographer. If there are any aspects of their approach or suggestions that you don’t understand, ask.

Managing Expectations and Flexibility


Managing expectations and maintaining flexibility are important considerations. Keep these aspects in mind as you work with your photographer.


Recognizing Limitations and Possibilities of the Project


Every project has its own set of limitations and possibilities. While you may have a grand vision, it’s essential to understand the issues that may arise. Factors such as budget, time constraints, and technical limitations can impact the scope of the project.


Take a realistic approach and discuss these limitations with your product photographer. By acknowledging them from the outset, you can find creative solutions and alternatives.


At the same time, recognize the possibilities that the project presents. Embrace opportunities for creativity and innovation that your collaboration with the photographer offers.


Together, you can explore new angles, lighting techniques, or composition ideas. These can elevate your product images and make them truly stand out.

Maintaining Realistic Expectations


It’s important to have a clear vision and communicate your expectations. It is also crucial to maintain realistic expectations and allow for creative interpretation.


The photographer brings their own artistic style and flair to the project. Allowing room for creativity can create captivating results that enhance your product imagery.

Go Brief Your Product Photographer


We’ve explored why a clear and comprehensive brief is worth its weight in gold. The briefing process in product photography is a crucial step so if you have any questions, email me.


Now, armed with this knowledge, it’s time to put it into practice. Whether you’re:

launching a new product line,

updating your e-commerce imagery,

• enhancing your brand identity, or

revamping your website


Your brief will help you create stunning imagery, captivate your audience, tell your brand’s story, and ultimately boost your business success.

How To Make Briefing Your Product Photographer Easier!


Keeping all of this in mind can be difficult. That is why my product photography services make it easier on you.


Between my

• free consultation call,

• custom quote,

• onboarding process, 

• free mood board within 24 hours of scheduling, and

•pre-production call


I can make your briefing process much easier and hassle free.


Just fill out the form below to start the conversation!

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