Photography Glossary

To make it easy and simple for you to know what we are talking about when we use words like “rekkie”, “ppm” or “key visual”, we compiled a list with the words and terms we and the entire creative industry most commonly use.

Account Manager – The person you most probably are dealing with the most, because he or she is responsible for managing all aspects of a client’s need, such as the logistics of a photo shoot, retouching specs or to discuss the different layout phases of a catalog design project

Art Director – Also AD (=art director), the talent who works with the CD (=creative director) and who’s responsible for the visual execution of the project. e.g. defines all details of the story board such as colors, materials, textures, props etc. The CD usually creates the creative concept, based on which the AD creates a story board which tells photographers what to create.

Beauty Shot – A beauty shot showcases a product, either the entire product or just a certain part of it, in the best possible manner, without using any additional props or decoration. Typically, a photographer spends 50% to 100% more time on one beauty shot than on a packshot (see below). Examples:

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Briefing – The specific requirements of a job. Clients brief their account managers, who in return will brief the relevant creative talents (photographers, graphic designers, etc.)

Call Sheet – A ‘call sheet’ is a document which gets handed out to all people who are involved in a job. It lists all people’s names, phone numbers, schedule, addresses, etc.

Check List – A ‘list’ which helps our clients so that they can prepare better. There are many checklists for different types of projects such as on-location product photography or in-studio corporate portrait photography.

Composition – Wikipedia says “composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art”, which means a composition consists of several images which are composed into one. This technique is often used when it would be impossible or too difficult to shoot the object as it is. For example, if a company sign with a “new logo” is not finished prior to the photo shoot, the logo can be digitally composed into the image after the shoot.

Creative Concept – The strategic idea for a project with which the brand or company is positioning itself. It has to consider many factors such as brand values, objectives, image language, and so on. Typically, the CD (=creative director) comes up with the creative concept.

DTP – Short for ‘Desk Top Publisher’, also ‘graphic technician’ or ‘FA artist’ (=final artwork artist). The talent who transforms the scribbled layout / idea of an AD into a printable file (e.g. PDF). Examples: catalog pages, packaging artwork, posters, warning labels, etc.; see also ‘print manager’.

Estimate – A rough estimate about all the costs for a potential job. An estimate usually becomes a quote or quotation once all details have been discussed and it’s time to prepare a legally binding document which describes what the client wants the company to do.

Freelancer – A freelance talent is hired on a ‘project-basis’ only. Freelancers are for example table-top stylists, hair and make up artists, set designers, illustrators, models, actors, etc.

Image – After a ‘shot’ has been retouched, it becomes an ‘image’. The differentiation between ‘shots’ and ‘images’ make it easier for us and our clients to better know which ‘image’ we are talking about.

Location Rekkie – The word ‘rekkie’ comes from the word ‘reconnaissance’, which stands for the process of obtaining information about enemy forces or positions by sending out small groups of soldiers or by using aircraft. In photography lingo, it means a account manager goes to the shooting location prior to the shoot to get more information and give advise in terms of shooting preparations.

Model Release – A model release says the person being photographed has given consent to be photographed and to the use of the images you capture. It should also clarify what the images are used for, by whom, where, and for how long.

Mood Board – Once the creative concept is on-hand, the creative or art director will create a mood board which defines the feeling and mood which the visuals should exemplify. It mostly covers colors, atmospheres, materials and textures. Example: summer, bright daylight, green and yellow, youth and sports.

Packshot – A packshot is (according to Wikipedia) “a still image of a product, usually including its packaging and labeling, used to portray the product’s reputation in advertising or other media”. Different countries use different terms, such as “abstract shot” (commonly used in the U.S.), cutout shot (used in the U.K.) or catalog shot. In German packshots are often referred to “Freisteller”.

PPM – Short for ‘Pre-Production-Meeting’. It’s the final meeting before the commencement of a job where all talents who are involved meet to discuss all details. It’s not about what to achieve, but more about the ‘who, when, where and how’.

Print Manager – The talent who coordinates and takes care of all printing related issues. Spending about 50% in studio, ensuring that the files which will be given to the print shops are in the right format and meet all printing requirements, and spending about 50% on the print-floor, making sure that the printing company is producing the quality our clients are expecting.

Producer – Also ‘account manager’, the talent who manages photo shoots, such as location scouting, model casting, and so on. The producer is the middleman between clients and photographers, retouchers, graphic designers, models, set builders, etc.

Project – A ‘project’ can have multiple ‘jobs’. It can include photo shootings, retouching, graphic design and print management jobs. Example: For the ‘catalog project 2009 june’ for one of our clients, we did several photography and retouching ‘jobs’ for this ‘project’.

Property Release – A property release says that the owner of a certain property, has given you consent to take and use images of the property. See also ‘model release’. If a property is shown on a photograph, it is critical and always recommended to get the consent and permission of the property owner. Otherwise, he or she can stop you from using his property in your marketing material.

Proposal – A proposal includes the quotation and additional 3-4 pages to present our ideas about potential cooperation.

Questionnaire – To better understand client’s job requirements, we have different questionnaires which help us to think off all issues which are important. It is usually filled out by the account manager and the client.

Quotation – A ‘quoation’ is a legal document which lists all services we are going to provide. After the client signed it, the job officially starts.

RAW files – Wikipedia says ‘a raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of a camera’. Raw files are so named because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be used with a bitmap graphics editor. RAW files need to be converted into file formats such as TIFs or JPGs in order to ‘retouch’ them.

Retoucher – According to Wikipedia, a retoucher is using ‘the application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create a desired effect or illusion’. Common retouching tasks are touch-ups, knock-outs, background removals, clipping paths, skin retouching, object removals, etc.

Shot – When a photographer pushes the button, he creates a ‘shot’. For example, during a shoot a photographer creates about 400 shots, of which 30 are selected. Those 30 shots first need to be converted from RAW files (see RAW files) into something which can be edited, such as TIF or JPGs.

Shot List – A detailed breakdown of when and which ‘shots’ are to be created and who’s involved. During a big job, everything gets centralized on the shotlist, and the whole project gets executed based on the contained information.

Story Board – The ‘story board’ defines the general requirements of the shoot in terms of quantity of shots (per location, per product, etc) and the features of each shot (e.g. what is important? focus on what? etc.). A big job usually involves a ‘creative concept’ (e.g.

Supplier – Companies which provide products such as equipment, backgrounds, computers, etc.

Vector Graphics – Geometrical elements such as points, lines, curves, and shapes,to represent images in computer graphics. Vector graphics can be scaled and enlarged to infinity without loosing quality (necessary for fonts, illustrations, etc.)

Visual – The term ‘visual’ is mostly used when dealing with agencies. One visual can consist of several images, or other graphical elements such as graphical effects