The Brief / WCRS / The Department of International Trade / Nick David

The Brief is a regular feature on the LPA blog which takes a behind the scenes look at a photoshoot, from brief to final images. For this edition we take you behind the scenes of Nick David’s recent shoot for The Department for International Trade followed by a handy photoshoot glossary.Photographer – Nick DavidClient – The Department of International TradeAgency – WCRSArt Director – Simon Nicholls Integrated Project Manager – Madeleine Macrae

Usage – All Print & Digital, Worldwide

WCRS recently commissioned LPA photographer Nick David to shoot for The Department for International Trade (DIT) on location in London. DIT is the part of the UK government responsible for trade agreements between the UK and non EU states, developed in July 2016 shortly after the referendum. DIT strives to promote British trade worldwide, ensuring that the UK take advantage of the opportunities open to us.

The shoot was part of a global OOH campaign designed to showcase the very best of British businesses from across the UK in a number of different sectors including technology, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and financial services. The brief for this particular execution was to capture shots of real school children using Raspberry Pi single board computers. The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides low cost, high performance computers that people can use to learn, solve problems and have fun. They promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries. The original model was far more popular than anticipated, selling wildly outside it’s target market and it was this success that the DIT wanted to advertise, in turn encouraging further investment into this ground breaking product.

© Nick David / WCRS / Department of International Trade

© Nick David / WCRS / Department of International Trade


Having decided that the shoot was going to take place in a real London school, featuring a real school class, the estimate for the job included the following:

– Photographer’s fees for one weekend shoot day and one recce day. This covered Nick’s time to do a technical recce of some potential schools in advance of the shoot and also his time to shoot during a weekend. As we were shooting in a real working school during term time, it was decided it would cause least disruption to the children by shooting on a Saturday morning.

– Photographic expenses such as digital capture, equipment and lighting.

– Post-production to process, colour correct and deliver the final high res TIFF file at the end of the shoot.

– A location scout (plus expenses) for seven days. This was to commission a location scout to find a suitable working school that was willing to take part in such a big project, as well as fitting the visual brief.

– Location fees – the cost of shooting in a school for one day on a weekend.

– Crew – two photographer’s assistants for one shoot day.

– A stylist for one shoot day to make sure all the kids were looking tip top in their uniform and iron out any creases!

– A production co-ordinator to produce the shoot, keep on top of the shoot schedule and oversee proceedings on the shoot day.

– A first aider – legally required on all shoots with children.

– An entertainer – to keep thirty plus children entertained and engaged during down time on set!

– Subsistence – food for all crew and students throughout the shoot. Catering was ordered from Humdingers catering based in London.

– Miscellaneous – mobile phone costs, production insurance, couriers and other miscellaneous costs

© WCRS / Department of International Trade

© WCRS / Department of International Trade


As the shoot was to involve such a high number of children and was due to take place on a weekend (when main offices are closed), pre-production was crucial to ensure everything was ready for the shoot day. After supplying the final estimate and receiving the PO, our to do list was along the lines of the following…

– Submit a Pre-Shoot Invoice

– Brief a location scout. It was never going to be an easy task to source a school in London that not only looked right for the visual brief, but had a full class of approximately thirty school children aged between 8 and 11 who were willing to give up a Saturday to take part. Central to the brief was a feeling of authenticity, so it was key to find a real class that knew each other well, who were going to enjoy the excitement of the day and bounce off one another’s energy. Up to ten different schools were approached for the project, and whittled down to a shortlist of three.

– Go on a technical recce. Nick and the creatives went on a recce of the shortlisted locations, both to select classrooms which were appropriate to shoot in as well as to meet the possible school children taking part.

– Approach all parents/guardians of the children we were hoping to photograph and secure their permission to be photographed.

– Approach the council for an exemption licence for the school children involved, valid for the day of the shoot only.

– Obtain written permission to use the schools real uniform and logo, so as not to infringe any copyright.

– Enlist staff members to attend and supervise on the shoot day.

– Brief the stylist on what wardrobe accessories might be required.

– Create a call sheet for all crew and talent. Put together a register and signing in/out sheet for all attendees.

– Pre-production meeting – A meeting held at the WCRS offices attended by all creatives, the client, Nick and LPA.

© Behind The Scenes

© Behind The Scenes


To ensure the shoot went smoothly, we worked closely with the chosen school (unnamed for privacy purposes), to make sure that proceedings were seamless, productive, fun and safe.

We made sure to put together a detailed schedule for the day. The crew arrived two hours before the children, this was to set up and get everything in line for when they all arrived. It was key to minimise their waiting time to ensure that they did not get distracted or bored. It also meant that they were kept safely away from the crew lugging heavy lights and equipment up and down stairs and in and out of classrooms.

We took some test shots and prepped the classrooms from a styling point of view, making sure that all the display boards and notices where how we wanted them to be before bringing in the children.

Once the children arrived, we had a designated room (the school hall) as a base for the day. We signed all children in and out of here, getting them to sign a model release form upon arrival. The first aider and three school staff were present in here at all times to ensure the utmost safety of the children throughout the shoot. We had two children’s entertainers based in here to occupy everybody involved while they weren’t in front of the camera. The team felt that this was vital to making sure the shoot day felt fun and light hearted – the last thing we wanted was for the kids to feel like they had been dragged into school on a Saturday. As a result, we had thirty very happy (and very lively!) 8 year olds who projected their energy right through into the final shots.

© Behind The Scenes

© Behind The Scenes

Because we weren’t working with professional models, having a friendly and approachable crew really helped during the set up of the shoot and allowed for an easy atmosphere all round.

Once shooting had commenced, we stickered all the children with a particular colour. We then shot the children in colour blocks, not only allowing us to keep track of how many hours each had worked, but also making sure no child was left out from featuring in at least one photo.

"The brief was straight forward but above all it needed to look genuine – everything about the image had to be natural and authentic capturing a moment of excitement. The kids were brilliant and they kept up the energy throughout the shoot which made my job much easier" Nick David, Photographer

With really careful planning from everyone involved the shoot was great fun and the final images looked fantastic.

"Everything went well, the client approved [the] recommended shots  seamlessly and gave some great feedback, so thank you to you and the team!" Madeleine Macrae, Integrated Project Manager


Call Sheet: A document detailing all the important details on a shoot: where, when, who, plus contact numbers.

Digi-capture: The process of taking the photos on a photoshoot, capturing the images with a digital camera.

Exemption Licence – As we were shooting at a weekend and the children didn’t have to take any time out from school, we did not have to licence them. However, we did have to inform the council of what we were doing and be granted a licence saying that the children were not being paid to take part.

TIFF file - Tagged image file format. One of the most common graphic image formats used across the industry.

Model release form - A form signed by the parent or guardian of each school child to confirm that they were willing to take part and agree for their photo to be used within the specified usage licence.

OOH – Out-of-home media advertising - advertising that reaches the consumers while they are outside their homes (i.e. billboards, tube posters etc).

PO: A Purchase Order. A legally binding document from client to supplier detailing the exact services required, authorising costs and detailing all terms and conditions.

Post–production: Digital manipulation of the images after they have been taken.

Pre-production: The production which takes place before a shoot happens, to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day.

Pre-shoot invoice – Invoice for expenses in advance of the shoot.

Recce – Visit of potential shoot location in advance in order to assess it’s suitability.