8 Points of a good Media Brief, Don’t get caught with your pants down!

How difficult is it to do a good brief? It amazes me how often I get an email, out of the blue from a client I’ve never worked for before something along the lines of the following:


“Hello, we’re having a Conference/Event/Party at the end of this month and were wondering if you could give us a quote for both photography and video?”


Now this is great! My web site is obviously working, people are noticing my work around and contacting me on spec with a brief. But can you see any problems with the above request? Is it a good brief? Yes I want to quote! But how can I on that information? trying for a quote with a bad brief is like forgetting the right under garments – no foundations and the whole thing could cause a messy outcome!

If you are a junior in a marketing department that the boss has thrown the job at of organising a photographer or videographer it’s understandable that you might not know what information is needed. In fact you might be the head of a department but the Chairman hasn’t given you all the final details yet. It happens.

It’s also understandable that to avoid having to show your ignorance you might type an email like the above to get things underway. But eventually you will have to give the person quoting some details, so why not try and start out right with as much detail as possible?


a good brief has detail
It’s the detail that makes it perfect!

Lets look at the basic important details you need to put down in a request for a quote for the coverage of your Conference/Event/Party.


1)   Date, Time and Venue – Save everybody wasted time by including these basics in your brief as the supplier may already be busy, too far away etc. Put them in the subject line of your email to be certain.

2)   Expected time of coverage of the event, your conference may be two days but you really only need the keynote speaker covered and a few general shots of the overall feel – say so in the brief. It will give your supplier an option to tell you how long he thinks he needs to cover your request.

3)   Describe your desired end product. Particularly with video the supplier needs to not only price for editing but also needs to gauge how much footage they need to shoot to have enough to edit from. Do you want a 2 minute web footage or a 20 minute exhibition presentation? The cameraman will shoot differently for each brief.

4)   The delivery date of material – An important point if you have press deadlines the same day or next morning for stills images as well as important on calculating editing time for video.

5)   Indications of style or important factors that must be covered in your brief – The supplier you have selected probably already has the style type you like but it’s worth putting it into words or describing samples you have seen of their work that meets your requirements.

6)   If you have a rough time sheet of the event attach it to your email. It all adds detail that can save you time and money as well as your supplier. There has been many a time a client has given me a brief that occasionally could be described as optimistic and at other times, down right impossible. For example with photography sometimes the request might be to photograph all couple as they enter a venue. The reception before dinner is only 30 minutes long and the quantity of guests is 600 – one photographer would have to be shooting one person every three seconds if they all turned up equally spaced through the 30 minutes – it’s not going to happen!

7)   Remember, ignorance is not a sin or a weakness unless you try to hide it. No one is expected to understand all the features of another persons industry. That’s why we hire professionals because they know what they are doing!

8)   If there are facts you are unsure of tell the supplier and either make a suggestion on what he or she might like to quote on or ask for their suggestions for alternative options. This alone can show out an imaginative supplier from an average one. But if you do this make sure you give the same information to each potential supplier you are contacting otherwise you’ll be comparing apples with pears, not like for like.


Giving a good brief will result in a good quote. It will highlight potential problems and queries for an event and the interaction with the supplier will lead you to the outcome you want – the right supplier for your job.




Brian Russell

Copyright Oct 2014.