If you want to express something in images you need to know what it is you’re trying to say. There are myriad practical considerations when taking pictures.

You probably can’t commission photography for every situation, so here are some things to consider before pressing the button:

Who is your target audience? 

Different audiences need different approaches. If you’re working on a teenage campaign you wouldn’t have a group of older people representing their viewpoint.

Ask yourself “Is the photo identifiable on its own? Would I know what this is about without an explanation?”.


Fundraising vs annual report  

At a fundraising event or promoting a campaign, you’ll want to draw your audience in and get them ‘on your side’. Photography is often jolly and colourful with a sense of action in the scene.

If you are photographing your Chair or Ambassadors, you may want to portray them in a proficient way: this doesn’t have to be stuffy, but requires a clean, sharply focused image with engagement from the sitter. Your audience will want to see exactly who they are dealing with.

Using picture libraries  

Using image libraries rather than commissioning photography can save money, but using pictures with a ‘that will do’ attitude may compromise your message. Relevance is key, so choose carefully.

Bringing in the professionals

Plan your requirements wisely and you could end up with a collection of images that you can use over a longer period of time.

At the shoot, once you’ve secured the key images, your photographer could take some ‘filler shots’ that are useful to drop into other materials such as blogs or press releases. These could be exterior shots, or a scene incorporating your organisation’s branding, for example.

Most photographers work on a full day or a half-day rate, so once on site they are happy to take as many images as feasible without sacrificing quality. In a world of fast-shooting with digital cameras and mobile phones it is easy to forget that achieving high-quality, professional images can take a bit longer. This does however depend on what you are photographing and the look and feel you want to achieve.


Finding the right person

With so many photographers out there it can be hard to pick one for your needs. Try to get a recommendation. It is as much to do with personality and rapport as the ability to take good images.

Your first port of call will likely be a photographer’s website. People react to what they see and clients will usually opt for someone whose work most closely represents what they have in mind.

Most established photographers will be able to follow a brief, but it’s good to find images that resonate with you. Ask yourself what you are looking for: fun, colour, serious, soft, a narrative?


What’s the brief?

This is where clarity is important. Even if the initial enquiries are made via email, a spoken conversation is good for firming up details and making sure you’ve got your ideas across.

Probably the most important factor in briefing is to state the look and feel you want: do you want to promote empathy, a joie de vivre or a call to arms?

You may not be able to have a member of staff out of the office, and not all photo shoots require the client to be on site, but try to make sure your brief is achievable. I recently had a client who sent me to the Midlands with a brief: The ‘breezy and busy looking reception area with chattering staff’ was hard to achieve, as there was no reception area and very few staff members willing to be photographed.

With a clear brief and a collaborative approach your chosen photographer should be able to bring your campaigns to life.


Guest blog from photographer Amanda Eatwell