If you're looking at revamping your school website it's also time to renew any outdated photos too! But how do you communicate exactly what you're looking for when commissioning a new photographer? Below, we'll break down five tips to help you create the ultimate school website photography brief that includes everything your photographer needs.

Images are a great way to communicate your school's USP and provide prospective parents with an insight into your school's mission, vision and ethos. The right website images can draw attention, balance text and increase the overall user experience. To achieve your website photography goals, it's best to come prepared.

1. Photo shoot logistics 

First up – lets' talk about photo shoot logistics. Now this might sound like a bit of a 'no-brainer,' but hear us out. There are a few key details that you'll need to have sorted before you reach out to a photographer to book in your shoot:

  • Date and time 
  • Location (get specific about locations across your campus)
  • Talent (name and contact details for any staff or students being photographed)
  • Timeline (when you will ideally require the images to be ready by) 

2. Objectives and brand guidelines

Now that all of the basic logistics have been determined, the next item on your agenda is to provide your photographer with a detailed overview for any key objectives you're hoping to achieve. For example, you're going to need to provide information about how and where the images will be used (website, brochures, social media, etc.), who your target audience is, your school's USP, and context around the message you would like to convey. Your photographer will also need to get their hands on a copy of your school's brand guidelines. Providing a copy to photographer is one of the best ways that you can help them to gain a deeper understanding of your school and ensure consistency across the look and feel of your new images.

3. Gather inspiration

Don't be afraid to send your photographer some images for inspiration – it's often encouraged. Do some prior research into what ideas, background, layouts, or angles appeal to you and create a folder that you can share with your photographer. Now's also a great time to meet with your team or wider departments to brainstorm creative ideas together. Looking to other school websites or brands that you love are a great place to start for inspiration, but why just stop there? Take advantage of creative platforms like Pinterest and Flickr to look for inspiration as well.  

4. Create a sample shot list

Once you have a clear idea of the types of images you want to capture, it's time to create an image shot list. Think about this list as a type of checklist for your photographer to go through for each photo. Try to be as specific as possible, but if it's all starting to feel a little too technical, don't stress as your photographer will be able to assist with this part. 

Here are some of the details you might like to include:

  • Shot number
  • Orientation (portrait or landscape)
  • Location
  • Camera angle
  • Subject
  • Photo description
  • Location on the website.

To avoid confusion any confusion, try breaking down your image shot list into an easy to read table or spreadsheet. Your image shot list should look a little something like this: 


photography shot list

In our opinion, it's always best to avoid photos that resemble the standard “stock image.” You know the ones, they tend to look overly staged and a bit cheesy. Instead, try to showcase your students in a natural environment where there is low clutter in the photo and a clear background. If you're planning on including students or staff as subjects within the photos, be sure to clarify their roles prior to the shoot to avoid any confusion and streamline processes on the day. 

5. Communicate space restrictions 

If your new school website comes with design space restrictions, ensure that your photographer is aware prior to the shoot. Why is this important? Well, if you're planning on using some of the images for your website banner for example, they'll need to be photographed in a narrow and landscape format to ensure they fit correctly. Providing this information prior to your shoot means that your photographer can frame and stage photos accordingly at the time of the shoot and avoid any awkward cropping or disappointment later. 


We hope that these tips will help you create a comprehensive brief for when you're commissioning your next photographer! 

Published 18 March 2020