How to Commission a Photographer / Part 1: Why Commission?

Part 1: Why Commission? 10 good reasons to commission original photography. In the first part of our new handy guide we look at 10 good reasons to commission photography.

No one can deny that photography brings things alive, it’s a very powerful tool. Whether it's on a billboard, a website or the cover of a magazine, imagery makes the world of difference in getting the message across and making an immediate impact. It’s probably the first thing that captures the attention and the last thing that is remembered on a piece of communication. It goes without saying that customers are more likely to contact a business if there is photography in the marketing, they are more likely to buy a product if there is a picture rather than just a description and people are more likely to read an article if it’s illustrated.

So, whether the images entice you to buy something by simply making it look delicious …

© Sam Stowell / Geometry @ JWT / Baileys

Grab your attention, making you want to

© Liz McBurney / Ink Global / Norweigan

Or whether they convey the entire personality of your brand, connect with a target audience and communicate essential core values...

© Nick David / I-AM / KFC is undeniably one of the strongest and quickest ways of communicating.

You now have two choices, you can choose some stock photography from a photolibrary or maybe an archive, or you can commission your own tailor- made, original photography by a selected photographer. Of course, there might be the occasional situation where you really have no option and need to use existing imagery, a 2 hour deadline, an £80 budget for example. But, and I think most would agree, commissioning photography has got to be the preferred way to go!

Here are 10 very good reasons for commissioning photography:

1) The final images need to include something unique to the brand, advertiser or story. Often it’s necessary to portray something specific in the photography. This could be a product or a service, a client’s actual customers or employees, a company logo or location, or something specific featured in an editorial story or press release.

© Fay Elizabeth Harpham / Stella McCartney

2) You can guarantee no one else will use the same image at the same time. Whilst you are looking through a gazillion stock images don’t forget that it's likely that your competitors are too! Literally hundreds of websites can use the same image at the same time. Of course you could pay for an exclusive usage licence but then you might as well pay to commission your own shoot.

3) Commissioned photography gives consistency to the overall look of your communication. A website, brochure, OOH campaign will have more appeal and give a stronger impression if the imagery is by the same photographer and therefore consistent. A recognisable signature look to all the photography will be much more memorable and identifiable to the brand.

© Patrick Harrison / Conran Design / CRUK

© Patrick Harrison / Conran Design / CRUK

© Patrick Harrison / Conran Design / CRUK

4) Commissioned photography gives a brand a unique personality and defines it against the competition. Whether that ‘personality’ is relaxed and natural...

© Lulu Ash / White Stuff

...or clean, clear and bright

© Holly Pickering / Pack'd

5) You can tailor make the end image to meet your exact needs. From the look of the model, to the styling, to the negative space to work with your copy. You don’t have to make any compromises and the end result will be exactly as you envisioned it.

© Julian Love / The Leith Agency / First Great Western

6) It can be cheaper than buying stock. Let’s say you require a bank of up to 100 rights managed images and an all media, worldwide buyout, this would be extortionate from a photo library. A 3 or 4 day shoot, for example,  could achieve as many images, and depending on the brief could be a cheaper option and much better value for money.

7) It can be quicker. Say you were faced with having to search for those 100 images mentioned above, every image needing to encapsulate the values of a brand, it would take weeks, maybe months, even if it was possible at all. I’m sure you’ve got better things to be doing with your time than searching through thousands of images, when you could just hand us the brief!

8) You protect yourself from issues with model or property release. You may come across your ideal shot but it doesn’t have a release for commercial purposes, you don’t really want to risk any legal repercussions down the line. When a shoot is produced by an experienced producer (such as LPA Production!) you don’t need to worry about this.

9) You can create something award winning, that is all your creation.

©Marc Ambros, Cuca de Llum

10) Photoshoots are fun and creatively fulfilling. The whole process, from writing the brief through to the casting to choosing the location and props to the day of the shoot is often an immensely enjoyable experience. You can let your imagination run riot!

© Ray Massey / Publicis Dublin / Bulmers

Collaboration with like-minded creatives and a team of professionals can be really rewarding.

© Michael Heffernan



If you don’t want to miss any crucial information, sign up now. Send your email address to with the subject line “How to Commission a Photographer” and we’ll send you the guide directly each week. We’ll also be happy to answer any further questions you have on commissioning a photoshoot in the meantime.

Although the author has made every effort to ensure that the information in this blog post is correct, the contents are provided without warranty as to their accuracy, may be of a general nature and the opinion of the author only. The author will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

Next week...Finding the Right Photographer for your Shoot.