Brand guidelines

Commissioning a photographer

Where possible use the Asset Bank to select your images. However if this is not possible or the images you require are not available, hiring a professional photographer is recommended. The Brand Team can offer advice and help you select the best photographer for the job as well as assisting with the set up of the shoot and art direction if required.

When commissioning a photographer ensure that the photographer licenses the British Council to use the photographs on any future British Council publication not just your current project – try and ensure you negotiate a global buyout.

If the photographer is not commissioned to collect data protection information on our behalf you must ensure that the correct model release forms are in place. If in doubt please see the data protection process chart and forms or contact the Data Protection Team. You should also check local law as data protection rules vary in some countries.

In some locations it may be necessary to obtain licences to conduct photography, this should be researched prior to the shoot.

Preparing a photography brief and providing a contract is also essential. Please use the standard British Council photography contract.

Before commissioning, here are some of the things you should consider beforehand:

Write a brief

A clear concise brief should be prepared, discussed and agreed before the shoot. This should provide the photographer with all the details of your needs, a task list and explanation of what you are trying to achieve. Briefs can also contain Tear Sheets (samples of the types of imagery to mimic for style or composition).

Agree a contract

By providing a contract you are ensuring that you and your photographer have a common legal agreement on deliverables and cost. You should complete this before you begin your photo-shoot and each keep a copy as a record of the agreement.

Think about your messaging

Think about the message you want the images to convey to your audience and discuss with the photographer. Try not to be vague or too literal. Bare in mind some emotions/feelings cannot be caught in a still image so the simpler the better.

Discuss your ideas with your photographer

Discuss your ideas with your photographer and show them examples of British Council’s images if they are unfamiliar with our visual style.

Prepare resources

Think about the resources you will need. This will involve areas such as selection of models, approval of locations, organisation of logistics, collation of materials/props to be used, permissions, changing areas on location, hair and make-up, translators etc

Allocate sufficient time

Allow sufficient time to ensure you are getting the desired results. Take your photographer’s guidance on the number of subjects that can be photographed during the course of a single day. Do not underestimate the amount of time needed to allow for set-up and for test shots to be taken.

Art direction

Art direction is a critical element of photography. Without art direction a photographer is left to their own interpretation of the brief and you have little comeback if they deliver shots that you don’t like.

An Art Director should always be present to direct the shoot and photographer. They should regularly look at test shots with the photographer and change the direction if unhappy with the results. Art Directors will also adapt to changes in situations and respond to opportunities for new scenarios/scenes. The Brand and Design team may be able to art direct shoots for you. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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