How to brief an event photographer

What should an event photographer’s brief include?

A concise event photographer’s brief should include the following information:

  • Date
  • Location
  • Numbers of guests, subjects or products
  • Duration of shoot
  • Output format
  • Usage
  • Moodboards and examples
  • Shot list
  • Attire
  • Deadline
  • Budget/Agreed price

A photographer’s brief should give them all the information to provide an accurate quote for the photography assignment you are commissioning them for, as well as outlining any ideas of the style, tone, usage rights, budget and the deliverable item(s).

Sometimes clients need assistance with some aspects of a photography brief so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

After all, both the client and the photographer want the collaboration to succeed!

Let’s break it down and explain things in more detail…


How many guests or delegates will be attending an event?  How many products do you need photographed? Are there variations on each product that need to be photographed?  Do you need the same product photographed from several different angles?

Are there several locations that need to be photographed?

Length of shoot

The subject matter will often dictate how long the photographer is required for.

If it’s a couple of executive portraits, pencil in an hour to allow for unforseen urgent phonecalls and initial chit chat to relax the subject.

If it’s conference photography, work out which parts of the day or speakers are most important and decide whether it’s simply easier to keep the photographer on site all day or just for the keynote and a few hours afterwards to capture the general atmosphere and branding.

If it’s products that are needed and assuming they are small, these can either be delivered to a photographer to shoot around their schedule.  That is assuming you’re not in a rush for them. Alternatively, ensure you have them all ready to go and a photographer can usually shoot on site fairly quickly.

Corporate dinner or drinks are usually easily captured in a couple of hours; plus it usually gives guests sometime without the photographer to properly relax and sometimes let their hair down!  With that said, maybe your business is young, fun and dynamic and can make use of fun, candid photos?

Output format

What format do you require the photos to be in?  The majority of clients request high resolution images, and for them to be delivered via a download or file sharing service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or WeTransfer, but some prefer them to delivered on USB, hard drives or even as a selection of prints or photobooks.

Most photographers prefer delivering via download as it’s fast, easy and the client isn’t left waiting for the mail or a courier.

Will the images require any major post production, aside the usual straightening and colour balancing?  Ie. Will people require ‘air-brushing’ or will someone need to be added to a group photo for example? Let your photographer know if you think something like this might be required so that it can be incorporated into the overall quote.

Often, minor retouching work is included as part of the price, but if it’s going to take hours or need an external image editor, this is when charges are encountered.


What are the photographs going to be used for? Are the photos for an annual report, a website, headshots for a business, media release, an advertisment, brochure, social media, product packaging or marketing collateral?  It could be all of these? Don’t forget to indicate which territory the images are likely to be used. Just Australia, Asia-Pacific, or worldwide?

Explaining your objectives always makes it easier for the photographer and may dictate the format s/he shoots in ie landscape versus upright/portrait shape.

Most photographers receiving a briefing would prefer that you gave them too much information than too little so feel free to provide all the details you can.

Examples and Inspiration

If you’re finding it hard to describe the style and feel of the images you would like shot, Moodboards are a great way of providing points of reference to your photographer.  Trawl google image search or a stock photo library and collate a selection of images that have a similar feel to what you have in mind, such as colours, style, attitude, angles and tone.

Perhaps a movie, music video or an advert has the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that you are trying to capture?  Inspiration and influences often come from the most unusual places.

Single words can be used to give direction eg. fun, confident, powerful, calm etc

Do you only need colour images or would you like a selection of colour and black and white?

Obviously if it’s a conference and you just need conference photography, a moodboard isn’t really necessary.

Create a shotlist

To avoid any disappointment and to ensure you receive all the photography you need, a shot list is always very useful.  It would be pretty annoying to miss some key branding from one of your sponsors or a shot of the CEO in action. Even if it seems like a detail that would be obvious to the photographer – don’t assume!


It’s always good to be familiar with a location so a site visit is sometimes carried out by photographers in order to know what they are working with and to give them time to mentally prepare for the shoot or hire equipment such as lights should they need additional lighting.

Most experienced photographers have worked in all the major venues around the city so if you’re hosting a conference or an expo at on the usual spots, your photographer will no doubt be familiar with it.

What should the photographer wear?

Is it a corporate event?  Do they need to blend in and wear casual business attire? Are all staff wearing black, should the photographer be wearing the same?     You might be surprised at what some ‘professional’ photographers deem to be suitable attire!

What is the photographers deadline?

When do you need your photos? Let the photographer know exactly when you need your photography to be delivered so they can factor into their schedule and avoid any delays.

Maybe you need same day delivery?  This is possible, but a photographer will usually require an assistant to help out with the editing so that the images look perfect and are ready for publication.

It’s usually better to wait 10 minutes for the tweaked photo, than to issue a photo straight from camera which sometimes requires a contrast bump and a caption.

Publishing event photography to social media in a timely manner creates really shareable content so if you require your photos by 9am the day after the event, be sure to inform your photographer in advance.

Confirm the agreed price

Once a price for the photography service has been agreed in writing for the job, determine whether the photographer requires a deposit to secure the date.  If they are invoicing you after the photography work has been completed and delivered, give them an idea of how quickly invoices are usually paid. If delays in payments are expected, let them know!

No two events are identical and sometimes clients have unusual photography requests, so whatever your question  and no matter how strange it might sound please feel free to ask it – we’re always happy to chat!

Ready to get started? Click the button below to download your event photographer briefing template.

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