The Brief / Seven Stones / GE / Julian Calverley

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 Julian Calverley’s recent shoot for GE and we’ve even included a handy photoshoot glossary. Photographer – Julian Calverley Client – GE Agency – Seven Stones Art Director/Creative Director – Justin Earl Production Director Terry Deller Usage – All Print & Digital (Incl. Congresses, Trade Journals), (Healthcare Only), Global, 5 Years

Seven Stones recently commissioned Julian Calverley to shoot for GE (General Electric) on location in Oslo. GE is one of the biggest companies in the world, defining itself as a ‘digital industrial’ organisation. With a third of a million employees, capturing the human face of technological advance was central to the campaign. GE wanted to focus on their pride in delivering invention that truly matters and the people that help deliver innovation for the everyday.

The brief for the shoot was to capture shots which depicted a representation of all the sectors within the company. This was to be achieved through 2x key shots at one of GE’s manufacturing plants in Oslo, Norway, photographing 8 ‘real’ people rather than models. Dressed in their work uniforms, the talent were to be grouped around the MRI scanner for ‘in situ’ shots of the team effort which goes into such a large company.

© Julian Calverley / Seven Stones / GE


- Having established the shoot was going to take place over two days, we included in our estimate:

- Photographer’s fees for 2x shoot days and 2. 5x recce and travel days. This covers Julian's fees to do a technical recce of the location in advance of the shoot and also his time to travel.

- Photographic expenses such as digital capture, equipment and lighting

- Post-production to edit the images after the shoot, creating Julian Calverley’s signature look

- Crew – 1x photographer's assistant for for 2x shoot days and 2.5x recce and travel days

- A local Norwegian hair and make-up artist and stylist for 2x prep days and 2x shoot days

- Production co-ordinator plus a local producer/fixer to help with logistics on the ground

- Additional wardrobe accessories – although models were wearing their own work clothes we had some small accessories on set to enhance and personalise outfits where required

- Transport expenses – return flights to Oslo for photographer and assistant plus travel whilst in Oslo

- Local hotel for 4x nights in Oslo

- Carnet

- Subsistence – food for all crew and models across both shoot days, plus evening meals and light breakfast for photographer and photographer’s assistant

- Miscellaneous – mobile phone costs, production insurance, couriers, internet access while abroad, plus all associated costs for the photographer whilst travelling


As the shoot was to take place overseas, pre-production was crucial to ensure everything was ready for the day of the shoot.

After supplying the final estimate and receiving the PO, our to do list looked something like this …

- Invoice advance (to cover upfront expenses incurred)

- Contact a local producer with local knowledge of the area who can source a hair and make up artist and stylist

- Find out details of the locations from GE

- Book return flights for Julian and his assistant

- Book accommodation close to the shoot locations

- Arrange a carnet document, allowing Julian to take his own camera and lighting equipment

- Acquire details of all the GE models who were being photographed

- Brief the stylist on what wardrobe accessories might be required

- Create a call sheet for all crew and talent

- Organising the logistics:

One important aspect of organising the shoot was arranging travel and accommodation for the photographer and photographer’s assistant.

Arranging the carnet was vital for Julian to be able to fly his own camera and equipment out to Norway. A carnet (pronounced kar-nay), is an internationally recognised customs document which permits (duty and tax free) the temporary import of goods. Carnets also serve as the registration of goods in the UK upon re-importation. All this basically proves that you aren’t taking goods over to Norway to sell without declaring the income. To apply for a carnet the photographer needs to list the items carried followed by the manufacturer, the item model (serial numbers if applicable), the approximate date purchased, the quantity, value, country of origin and finally the weight of the item. All of Julian’s equipment was checked upon leaving the country and checked again upon return. As Julian was also taking some of his own equipment, we booked additional baggage for the flights which saved a little money rather than paying for it at the airport.

© Julian Calverley / Seven Stones / GE

Shoot day logistics:

To ensure the shoot went smoothly, we worked closely with Seven Stones and GE deciding on call times and schedules. As the locations included working hospitals and production factories, we had to make sure we arranged the shoot schedule around working hours. We ended up splitting the 2x shoot days over 3x working days. Working in the afternoons when areas were closed to patients meant that the MRI scanner and restricted zones weren’t interrupted. It was also important to have a small team on set so as not to overcrowd the spaces. There were 8x talent to photograph meaning the room didn’t have much space, so Julian, his assistant, the art director and 1x client from GE were the only people on set. As all 8x of the talent were working, we had to be mindful of their schedules, for example putting talent who had to leave early to get back to work first on the running order

Local Producer:

We hired a local producer to help with all aspects of the shoot in Oslo. Aside form helping us source a stylist and hair and make-up artist they also assisted with travel arrangements, catering on set and for interpretation between Julian and the models.

Because we were working with 'real' people, having a friendly crew really helped during the set up of the shoot. While the talent was having basic hair and make up touch ups, or their uniforms steamed, the crew helped them relax and enjoy the experience, allowing for an easy atmosphere all round.


With really careful planning from everyone involved the shoot was great fun and the shots looked fantastic. A happy crew all round!

"The GE Oslo shoot was a perfect example of a team effort. We were working under reasonably tight time and location constraints, in a busy working environment, and so we had to remain as flexible as possible. Working with an experienced and flexible art director meant we could quickly explore visual ideas as they presented themselves, and working with a seasoned production crew meant we could work unhindered, knowing everything was at hand.. and all I had to do was think about making the pictures. It was a memorable shoot, and for all the right reasons.” Julian Calverley.

“Working in Oslo with Julian and his team on this four-day shoot was an absolute pleasure. He knew exactly what we wanted to achieve with each shot, shooting in some very challenging industrial spaces. The brief for this shoot was about capturing the characters and stories of real employees and we did exactly that, thanks to the way Julian made everyone feel very much at home in front of his camera.” Justin Earl, Seven Stones

© Julian Calverley / Seven Stones / GE

© Julian Calverley / Seven Stones / GE


Advance: It is good business practice to obtain an advance of funds to cover the liability of production expenses prior to the shoot.

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

Carnet - The ATA Carnet is an internationally recognised customs document which permits (duty and tax free) the temporary import of goods for up to one year. ATA Carnets also serve as the registration of goods in the UK upon re-importation.

The carnet bypasses the time consuming task of completing numerous customs documents for each country visited. An ATA Carnet also provides a financial guarantee to foreign customs officials that, in the event goods are not re-exported, duties and taxes will be paid.

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

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.

Prep: (In this case with regards to styling) initial preparation for a shoot e.g. sourcing/buying/ hiring clothing and props, as well as preparing moodboards and online research.

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

Recce fee: The photographer’s fee for time spent viewing potential locations prior to the shoot. This helps to plan lighting, logistics and to ensure everything runs smoothly on the shoot day.

Travel Fee: The fee to the photographer and crew for time spent travelling.

Shot List: A preliminary list of shots the client wants to achieve during the shoot.

Talent: The models or people who are being photographed in a photoshoot.