How it all works and what to expect.

Commissioning photography can be a daunting process. How do you know where to start and what to expect? This helpful guide will take you through the steps of a typical shoot from fining a photographer to the final delivery of images and help you discover what you need from your shoot.

Step 1: Find your photographer and ask for samples of their work. The photographer should have a decent website showing their work but it might be that you are looking for something specific that’s not on their website. Asking to see more of their work is perfectly acceptable. Find someone who’s work you like, fits your brand and very importantly, has a style you like too. Working with someone you like just makes the whole process easier and much more enjoyable.

Step 2: Specify your brief and the purpose of you shoot. Discuss your requirements in detail as you need to know if the photographer can deliver what you want and contribute good ideas and solutions to make it happen. This is also a good way to find out what the photographer is like to work with, and easy to get along with? Although it sounds obvious on a shoot you’ll be working in close proximity and in some cases for a long time. Also be very clear about your deadline because the photographer will need time to plan for the shoot and process the images for your deadline.

Step 3: Discuss the budget. The photographer needs to know your budget alongside your brief to determine the tasks and length of time needed to make it work. The budget should be realistic to cover the time and skill needed to make it work. Some photographers price a job by the day or by the project, and a good discussion will uncover what is possible within the budget and time frame.

Step 4: Book a date and a location for the shoot, and agree timings and schedule. Discuss the detail of the shoot as the location may incur a cost? If it’s a public place will you need permission? If it’s outdoors what if it rains?

Step 5: Shoot day, this is where all of the above comes together and typically a shoot is booked in either half day or full day sessions. Most photographers like to have a schedule of who or what is being photographed and a t what time, which helps keep the session on track and manages time even with unexpected changes in the day.

Step 6: Ask the photographer to produce contact sheets. These are typically sent to the client to give a birds eye view of the shoot from start to finish, but their main purpose is to help you make a selection of the shots that best meet your requirements.

Step 7: Prepare your short list. Each image has a unique number on the contact sheet to make the selection process easier. Simply note down the numbers of your favourite images to compile your short list. It’s this list that you send to the photographer so they can commence post-production on the shots.

Step 8: The photographer starts post-production and the processing pdf the short listed images. Post-production is when the photographer (or retoucher) colour corrects, crops, removes dust spots and retouches the images. This can take time and how long can vary depending on what is required. For example a final amigo maybe made up of several images and composited together.

Step 9: Delivery of the final images to you within an agreed time frame typically happens via digital transfer through a secure website. You may prefer to have the images saved onto a hard drive and posted to you or uploaded to your own servers/hard drive instead. Either way is fine and is something to consider at the brief or budget stage.

Step 10: Follow up with invoice/payment. Once the final images have been delivered and all work is completed, it is normal for the photographer to follow up and double check you are happy with the work. An invoice will then be sent to you, with payment terms normally within 30 days calendar days. And that’s it! Enjoy the work and if it’s particularly good why not book the same photographer for your next piece of work or recommend them to other people?

Hopefully this guide will shed some light on what to expect and how you can navigate your way sourcing a photographer and getting the images you need. Don’t forget this is a just a general guide – every job and photoshoot is deferent, so the process may vary from how it’s described here. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the process then just ask! Email me at