Step-By-Step Guide: How to Write an Event Photography Brief

Article Updated: October 2023

As a seasoned event photographer, I’ve seen briefs in all forms. From small 20-person events to global-scale events with Royals, heads of state, and even US presidents, I really have seen it all.

One thing I’ve noticed? How you write your brief plays a significant role in the final output.

However, unless you’ve been a photographer, you’ll probably not know what makes a great brief (and what doesn’t).

In this article, I’ll share my expertise, from a photographer’s perspective, what makes a great event photography brief and all of the key elements you should include.

What is an Event Photography Brief?

An event photography brief is a document that outlines the details and expectations for an event photography assignment. It serves as a guide for the photographer, providing them with essential information about the event, the target audience, and the desired style and mood for the photographs.

Four people laughing at a corporate event in Edinburgh

The brief typically includes the event description, key events, and key people involved, as well as any specific requirements or preferences for the photographs. It can also include reference images or examples of images that represent the preferred style or mood.

Ultimately, an event photography brief helps ensure that the photographer understands your objectives and expectations of the event, enabling them to capture the best possible images that align with the client’s vision.

How to Write a Good Event Photography Brief

When it comes to event photography, a well-written brief is essential for ensuring that the photographer captures the right moments and delivers the desired results. Here are some key elements to consider when writing a good event photography brief:

1. Purpose of the Shoot: Clearly define the purpose of the event and what the photography will be used for. Is it for a marketing campaign, corporate event, or personal celebration? This will help the photographer understand the context and cater their approach accordingly.

2. Style Preferences: Communicate your preferred style of imagery. Do you want formal shots or candid photos? Are you looking for a particular mood or atmosphere? Providing examples of images or a mood board can help the photographer understand your vision.

3. Shot List: Create a detailed shot list that highlights the key events, key people, and specific moments you want captured. This will ensure that the photographer doesn’t miss any important shots.

4. Expectations for Deliverables: Clearly state what you expect to receive from the photographer. Do you need a selection of images for marketing collateral or an annual report? Are you looking for high-resolution files, editing, or additional retouching?

By including these key elements in your event photography brief, you can provide clear guidance to the photographer and ensure that the final deliverables meet your expectations.

Preparing for the Event

When it comes to event photography, proper preparation is key to capturing the perfect shots. Before the event takes place, several important steps need to be taken to ensure a successful photoshoot.

First, it is essential to gather all the necessary information about the event, including the date, time, and location. This information will help the photographer plan their schedule and logistics.

Additionally, it is crucial to understand the event goals and key people involved to accurately capture the essence of the occasion. Creating a detailed shot list will further assist in capturing all the important moments.

Who is Attending the Event?

Letting your photographer know the types of people attending is a crucial step when creating an event photography brief. By understanding the demographics, preferences, and interests of the attendees, event organizers and photographers can align the event content and activities with their expectations, ensuring a successful outcome.

Here are some examples that need to be considered:

– Age: Understanding the age range of the attendees helps determine the appropriate style of imagery and content which will resonate with them.

– Interests: Knowing the interests of the target audience allows the photographer to capture specific moments that they will find engaging and relevant.

– Cultural Norms: Identifying cultural norms will make sure your photographer doesn’t accidentally offend or intrude. This is particularly useful if there are Royals, CEOs, or backgrounds you don’t see every day.

When I was photographing an event with a member of the Royal Family, I received specific instructions on how to address them, including a dress code, which you can see in the example below.

Text highlighting how to address a member of the Royal Family at a corporate event

– VIPs: Knowing if there are any VIPs is vital so your photographer doesn’t miss key photo opportunities. Don’t assume your photographer knows what they look like so make sure to point them out on the night.

At a high-profile event, I almost missed critical shots of a CEO interacting with a former US President because nobody pointed out the President to me, assuming I’d recognise him. It just wasn’t someone I was familiar with but is a figure more known to people of a certain age or if you’re from America.

Moral of the story: don’t assume your photographer will know celebs or high-profile people. Put their image in the brief so they’re easy to recognise.

From a stylistic perspective, understanding the attendees allows the photographer to tailor their approach. For example, if the event caters to a younger audience, the photography style may be more vibrant and energetic. Alternatively, if the event focuses on a more corporate audience, the photography style may be more professional and formal.

To create an effective event photography brief, it is essential to gather as much information as possible about the guests’ demographics, preferences, and interests. This will enable the photographer to capture images that resonate with the attendees while conducting themself properly throughout.

Creating a Shot List

Creating a shot list ensures that the photographer captures the specific images needed for the event. It acts as a guide, helping to eliminate any guesswork and guaranteeing the desired outcome.

Below is a great example shot list I received from a client recently. It allowed me to see exactly what’s important to them and what they’ll be expecting to see in the finished gallery.

Example of an event photography shot list with two reference images

Example shot list:

– Overall venue shots to capture the atmosphere and decor

– Key moments including the opening speeches and the presentation of awards

– Candid shots of guests networking and enjoying the event

– Formal shots of award winners on stage

– Close-up shots of award trophies and certificates

– Detail shots of table centrepieces and decorations

– Shots of the event organisers and key stakeholders

– Group shots of teams or companies receiving awards

– Shots of guests celebrating and applauding

– Shots of special guest speakers

– Any additional shots requested by the client for promotional or marketing purposes

By providing a detailed shot list, event photographers can effectively capture the specific images that will meet the client’s expectations and serve their desired purposes.

Event Timeline

Knowing the timeline of events is crucial for event photographers to capture key moments and deliver high-quality photographs that accurately document the event. Understanding the order of events allows the photographer to be prepared and positioned correctly to capture important moments as they unfold.

For example, let’s consider a corporate conference. The event timeline may include registration and welcome sessions, keynote speeches, breakout sessions, networking events, and a closing ceremony. By having access to the event timeline, the photographer can plan their shots accordingly and ensure they are present during key moments such as the CEO’s speech or the announcement of an award.

Here is a screenshot of an example event timeline for an awards event:

An example of an events timeline with details of what is happening and when

I’ve been at events where key moments haven’t been communicated before (yes I asked beforehand) and you end up missing vital shots. This level of coordination and understanding of the event’s timeline is crucial. Think of your photographer as an in-house member of staff.

Contact Details of Key People

Providing contact details of key people and the comms team is crucial for event photographers to ensure a smooth lead-up and successful coverage of the event. By having direct communication with the right individuals, the photographer can gather important information, coordinate logistics, and align their creative vision with the event’s overall objectives.

Below, you’ll see an example from a client which is perfect for highlighting key contacts and timings.

Example of key contacts for a photography brief

During the pre-event phase, the photographer may need to be in contact with:

– The event organizer: To understand the event goals, schedule, and any specific requirements.

– The marketing manager: To discuss the marketing strategy, target audience, and any specific shots needed for marketing collateral.

– The design team: To understand the preferred style, mood board, or style guidelines to create cohesive imagery that aligns with the brand and event theme.

During the event, the photographer might need to stay in touch with:

– Key people: Such as key stakeholders or event managers, who can provide any last-minute changes, updates, or additional shots required.

– The comms team: To seek any on-site approvals for images or to clarify any specific image requirements.

By obtaining the contact details of these key people and the design team, the photographer can effectively collaborate and provide the best possible event photography coverage that meets the client’s expectations.

After the Event

After the event, professional photographers meticulously review and edit the collection of images captured during the occasion, ensuring the highest quality for their clients.

The photographs are delivered to the client within a specified timeframe, typically within 3-5 working days. However, often events require same-day turnarounds for important shots that go out to press and social. Make sure to highlight this beforehand.

The photographer will deliver the photos in your specified way, such as an online gallery or via a file-sharing platform like WeTransfer. Again, detail how you want the images delivered in the brief and the required turnaround times.

Creating Marketing Collateral Using Selected Photos/Event Photographs

Ultimately, your photography brief should be designed around how you plan to use the images afterwards.

Event photography plays a vital role in marketing campaigns as it provides a visual representation of the event, capturing the essence and atmosphere. These event photos can be utilized in various marketing collateral to promote the event and enhance brand visibility. Here are some potential uses of corporate event photos:

– Inclusion in newsletters to showcase company culture and strengthen employee engagement.

– Advertising the next event through promotional materials like brochures or flyers.

– Sharing on social media platforms to generate buzz and engage with potential attendees.

– Incorporation in press releases to capture media attention and gain coverage.

– Updating the company website with visually appealing event galleries to showcase professionalism and credibility.

Selecting the most impactful and relevant event photos will enhance the effectiveness of marketing collateral, leaving a lasting impression on potential customers and key stakeholders.

By selecting the most compelling photos and following the preferred style, companies can create impactful marketing collateral that effectively communicates the value of their events to their target audience.


By having a well-defined photography brief, event organisers can effectively convey their vision and objectives, ensuring that the right shots are captured. From formal shots to candid photos, an experienced photographer will properly document key events and people, providing a valuable asset for marketing collateral and future use.

Please reach out to me for any upcoming events. I am committed to capturing impactful event photographs that resonate with your audience. Fire me an email at 

About the Author

I'm Connor, a season commercial photographer, working across events, headshots, food & drink, and interiors. I've worked with some of the world's leading companies on a wide range of campaigns. Get in touch to organise a photoshoot today.

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