Images & photography
For best results, when briefing a photographer it is important to describe the desired content of the photo(s) fully and accurately. The following questions can be used to guide the brief:
- what is the purpose of the publication?
- who is the intended audience?
- what text or caption will accompany the photo, and should the photo illustrate this message literally or thematically?
- does the photo have to fit into an existing layout (portrait and/or landscape)?
Together, photographer and client discuss the various options for visualising the subject and theme appropriately. The photographer then translates this briefing into a clear description of the assignment/quote, specifying in writing all the agreements made, and sends it to the client. The client checks the quote carefully before confirming that the photographer can proceed with the assignment.
Points of attention for a good briefing
Keep the following points in mind when briefing a photographer.
- Make clear agreements on costs, be it a single fixed price or—in the case of a more extensive photo reportage—an hourly rate. In the latter case, be sure to clearly indicate the budget in advance, and never issue an open-ended assignment. For large projects, ask the photographer to send you a regular update on costs.
- Make agreements in advance as to who will do what. Who will prepare for the shoot by finding the right location and coordinating with all parties involved (faculties, location managers, students/models, etc.)? Be aware that the planning phase can involve more work than the shoot itself. Some photographers like to do this themselves to keep the lines of communication short. However, it can also increase the costs, so be sure to ask in advance about any financial consequences.
- Only work with photographers who are willing to waive the photo rights (copyrights) or have incorporated them into their rates. Ensure that the photos can be used royalty-free in all Maastricht University/MUMC+ communications, including printed matter, websites, stands, promotional material, advertisements, etc.
- The photographer may only charge copyright fees if the photo will be used by a third party outside UM/MUMC+. Such use is only permitted with the consent of the university client.
- Ensure that all photos are produced with a high resolution, so there are no restrictions on switching between communication mediums at a later stage. The image requirements for different mediums can differ greatly; for example, an A4 print requires a minimum resolution of 300 DPI and the file must be in TIFF format.
- For use on the internet, a resolution of 72 DPI is sufficient. These images may be supplied in JPG or GIF format.
- You can switch from a high resolution to a low one without loss of quality, but not the other way around.
- Make clear agreements on how the material will be delivered (disk/USB stick/online/etc.). Ask whether the photographer makes a pre-selection from the raw material and decide together which photos will be delivered digitally.
- The photographer is responsible for the technical aspects of the photo, such as colour, crop, portrait/landscape format, resolution, etc. Any edits in Photoshop must be performed by the photographer before delivery. Do not edit the photo yourself if you think you have spotted a colour deviation; most such deviations are caused by incorrect monitor settings. Photographers work with professional (calibrated) monitors that display the exact colours.
A list of preferred photographers for UM photography assignments can be found in the chapter on preferred suppliers – photographers of the house-style manual. All these photographers have their own characteristics and rates. There are photographers who have developed a clear style of their own and this must, of course, be in line with your wishes. For advice on which photographer is most suitable for your assignment, please contact the image editor (jean-pierre.pilet[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl). We can also put you in touch with colleagues who have experience working with a photographer of interest.
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