How to Better Inspire and Communicate with your Team

In the photography business, collaboration among all the players at a photo shoot is the key to success. We all know that concept is king, and effectively communicating that concept to your production team, model, retouch artist, makeup and hair stylists, and printer can make or break your idea.

But let’s step back for a minute and understand how you even got to the concept. If you are working in the commercial or editorial photography world, it is likely that you received an assignment brief from an editor at a magazine or the creative director at an agency. The brief might outline the concept, or provide some direction for your photo shoot.

But, what are you supposed to do with this brief? What does it really mean? And how did the creative director even get to that point?

Briefly, a documentary produced by Bassett & Partners, helps to explore and define how some of the top agencies and creative-types develop and execute a creative brief. The film is packed full of really great tidbits from the interview subjects, many of whom have worked on incredibly popular and effective advertisement campaigns, designed world-renowned structures, or produced work that many of us drool over.

The list of those interviewed includes Frank Gehry, Maira Kalman, John C Jay and John Boiler, among others. Taking the time to hear these masters will not only inspire you to create better work, it will also help you better define your own process when relaying goals to your own photography team. You’ll hear them describe what makes a brief great or terrible. They also discuss another integral part of the creative brief…the part where you completely ignore the brief because it doesn’t allow for a real solution to the problem.

This film has some of the top names across multiple industries providing real, first-hand knowledge about client relationships and solutions. It’s a master class, plain and simple. Here are a few quotes for you to consider the next time you are planning a photography concept and communicating ideas to your team. 

 - Maira Kalman: "...If you trust each other, you can say,' I don't think that is a good idea, or that might be a better thing to do.'"

- John Boiler: "Ultimately, what we do at the end of the day is make connections no one else has seen. We don't create things out of thin air."

- John C Jay: "Simplicity is everything. The more concise and sharper the point of view is as to what is the problem, the better the work will be."

For more information about this film, please visit

Aaron Ottis's picture

Aaron is a photographer living in the Midwestern United States.

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