Archives Category: Tips & Tricks

25Sep 2013

Rimagine MD Lorenz was invited by the German Chamber of Shanghai to give a speech on Sep 24th about the topic "how to start, grow and sell a company in China". The restaurant "To The Sea" provided a beautiful backdrop for the little event, which welcomed about 40 attendees. The second speaker of the night was Nathan Kaiser from EIGER Law, a lawyer specialized on this topic. The host and moderator was Andrea Cristancho from ChassPort Consulting.

Lorenz shared with the audience how he co-founded Rimagine and grew it to one of China's leading photography companies, managing a team of commercial photographers and retouchers in Shanghai, and after eight years becoming part of the packaging design and production company YFYJupiter. Below some snapshots of the event (provided by the German chamber). How to establish, build and sell a company in China.How to establish, build and sell a company in China. How to establish, build and sell a company in China. How to establish, build and sell a company in China. If you are interested in getting more info on this event, please don't hesitate to contact us

22Jul 2011

There’s a good article in one of our favorite photography magazines, PDN (Photo District News), about the current landscape of commercial photography in China. The article gives a general and honest introduction of the pro’s and con’s of doing photography in China, and does not miss to also touch the challenges, which we also face on a daily basis.


Below some of the key points as summary:

© Zach Gold – for Motorola.
















  • Shooting assignments in China can be a lot of fun, if you can take the maddening aspects of it in stride. “It’s like the Wild West,” he says. “All of the sudden there’s all this money, and not that many people know what they’re doing.”


  • He’s shot in studios that have lights rigged with ropes, cyc walls that are chipped and cracked, and floors that are “almost like dirt.” The bathrooms are “still just a hole in the ground,” unspeakably disgusting, “and there’s a $200,000 production going on in the next room. The contrast is remarkable.”


  • It was a four-day shoot that called for 300 extras. “No way we could have afforded to shoot that here,” he says. But he also recalls landing in China with all his gear—and having to ship it back because he couldn’t get it through customs.


  • Growing numbers of photographers in the U.S. and Europe are going after work in China because it looks, from a distance at least, like a pot of gold. The economy in the west is sluggish, competition is fierce, and rates are stagnant. China holds out the promise of new opportunities.


  • Choo says that China looks modern and cosmopolitan, but scratch beneath the surface, and you quickly run up against the old China.


Thanks to the PDN Online Team for describing the current Chinese photography landscape so honestly!


01Nov 2010

Marketing managers all over the world need to make the decision whether they want to outsource their photography to an external photo studio, or maintain or set up their own in-house photography department.

Every situation is unique and therefore needs to be looked at and treated separately. Therefore, the aim of this article is to simply give a general overview about the pro’s and con’s or advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing photography.

To look at the situation from many possible angles, it is essential to reflect upon the advantages in respect of the disadvantages of outsourcing.  Let’s first look at the disadvantages often dwelled upon when you outsource photography:

  • Possible Loss Of Control Over The Process
    One of the main drawbacks of outsourcing are potential unwanted results. Photography is a highly subjective matter which needs a lot of understanding and collaboration. So appointing an external partner always comes with the risk that your partner simply does not get what you need or want.
  • Risk of Weak Performance
    Whoever you appoint as your photography partner, there’s a chance that the studio does not live up to your expectations. Slow response times to your requests, or slow issue resolutions need to be considered when dealing with external partners.

  • Extra Or Hidden Costs
    Of course a company will sign a quote or contract with the studio, but there will always be the chance that something goes wrong. Therefore, there’s the risk of hidden costs or extra charges.

  • Confidentiality And Security Issues
    Whenever you appoint an external photo studio, there’s a confidentiality risk. Also consider that other third parties such as logistic companies usually also get involved, or that the studio might also work for one of your competitors.

  • Tied To The Financial Well-Being Of The Appointed Photo Studio
    Photography companies are typically not large enterprises with huge financial backings. So if you outsource, you are to one end or the other tied to the financial well-being of your photo studio. If it closes its doors, a lot of know-how, time and money might need to be written off.
  • Bad Publicity Or The Loss Of Jobs
    Outsourcing work to another company often brings up the “say no to outsourcing and save our jobs” question. A potential outsourcing of you photography to an external company might also bring up this question. Compared to heavy industries, this is however usually a smaller issue.

Now, let’s talk about the most important advantages of outsourcing photography to an external studio. Please consider that regardless of the amount of (dis)advantages, just one a very few key (dis)advantages can be already worth the decision to (not) outsource your photography.

  • Improved Business Focus
    Outsourcing photography allows a company to focus all its attention on its own key competencies, while tapping in to the readily available knowledge base of the experienced photography partner. 

  • No Time Wasted
    The serious amount of senior management time which gets freed enables a company to focus on its core competencies while not having to be concerned about outsourced routine activities. 

  • Costs Saved
    To setup a professional in-house photography department is a lengthy and costly plan. Following minimum investments are typically necessary (varies greatly depending on your need, location, etc.):  

    • Equipment (camera, lenses, simple light setup, table top, grey cards, approx. $5,000)
    • Hardware (computer, monitor, approx. $5,000)
    • Software (Adobe Creative Suite, Capture Software like Phase1, approx. $2,500)
    • Training by senior management (approx. 25 hrs x $100 = $2,500)
    • Total required investment: $15,000

  • Freed HR Resources
    Photographers are creative minds who eventually and understandably will get bored of their work and than move on. Consider that even top photo studios or photo agencies loose their best talents, and often because of a lack of interesting jobs. Following issues will come up: 

    • Dissatisfaction due to limited career development paths and
    • Awareness that photography is only a side-division in the company
    • Discontent due to the fact that there are not enough other like-minded creative minds
    • Dissatisfaction due to a limited shooting type variety
  • Access To Experience and Professionalism
    By appointing the right studio, you get access to top-notch facilities, talents with experience, ideas and the right equipment. You can tap in to and benefit from a readily available knowledge pool.
  • Staffing Flexibility
    Your external photography partner can easily adopt his operations to your seasonal or cyclical demands. Additional resources such as more photographers, producers or retouchers can be brought in and released when needed.
  • Continuity & Risk Management
    Periods of high employee turnover will add uncertainty and inconsistency to the operations.             Outsourcing will provided a level of continuity to the company while reducing the risk that a     substandard level of operation would bring to the company.

  • Return on Investment
    The common misconception among non-marketing experts is that marketing is an expense AND that it’s expensive. However, money spent on marketing, or photography, is in fact an investment which, if done right, ultimately will return a bigger return than the actual investment. If your marketing uses great photography, it will help to increase your sales throughout all channels, be it in retail, online or in direct marketing.

Final closing thoughts:

  • The single biggest mistake companies which try to set up an in-house photography process make is to underestimate the amount of micro-managing managers have to deal with in order to ensure a quality, on-time and in-budget delivery.
  • To keep photographers or creative talents in general, you need to offer a wide enough variety of jobs and challenges. Consider if even large retailers spending millions of $US on photography outsource 100% to external studios, compare it with your situation and ask yourself if investing money and time in a non-core competency area really is the right decision.
  • My advise is to find one reliable photography company which you can build a long-term relationship with. The studio should have large enough working facilities, be flexible, understand your priorities and show an interest in developing a great business relationship with you (for example, as a producer of industrial products, try to avoid studios which do a lot of fashion shoots).

My personal advise and opinion:

After working as general manager of a China-based photography company in the business for over 6 years, I have talked to many leading marketing managers and decision makers of numerous multinationals from around the world. The general opinion among them is that a) besides the obvious setup costs, the critical issues are the “invisible investments” such as time of senior management, loss of focus, etc. and b) it therefore does not make much financial,  strategic nor business sense to have an in-house photography department.

The principal recommendation is to consider photography as well as marketing in general as an integrated and important part of the entire value chain and not (as many companies do) as a separate one-time expense which is due once the product is ready to be marketed. Investing 3 to 20% of the product’s expected sales or revenues is common, depending on your industry.

31Jul 2010

On the left, the Greek farmer who sues Swedish Firm Lindahls for unrightful use of his image.

Recently we stumbled across an interesting case in which a Greek man sued a Swedish diary company over a Turkish yoghurt image which the company purchased from an Icelandic image stock company which they purchased from a French photographer.

Again:  Greek guy –> sues Swedish firm –> because of an image of him used on the packaging of a Turkish yoghurt brand –> which was bought from an Icelandic image stock company –> which licensed it from a French photographer.

This case is a good example why we always recommend to pay great attention to have solid and easy-to-understand model release form with any person who appears on an image which is used for commercial purposes (and regardless if those are employees, models or friends).

What basically happened was that 77-year-old, traditional Greek farmer Minas Karatzoglis was photographed by a French travel photographer called Yvan Travert who sold the image to an image stock agency called Nordicphotos who licensed the image to the Swedish diary company Lindahls, which used to the image to brand one of their Turkish yoghurt products in a couple of different countries.

So Lindahls did not do anything wrong, as they had purchased the appropriate rights!

The problem was that the French photographer did not have a proper release from of Mr. Karatzoglis, therefore he actually did not have the right to license the image to the image stock company!

So when Mr. Karatzoglis found out about this unrightfull use of his image, he sued Lindahls for $6.9 million US (according to Sveriges Radio (SR) Jönköping). Greece and Turkey have been divided by long-standing hostilities, making it an even hotter topic!

This was in April 2010, how did it turn out at the end?

Lindahls has paid $270,000 US in compensation to Mr. Karatzoglis! Obviously Lindahl is now seeking compensation from the photo agency, and the photo agency probably from the photographer!

Lesson learned – Be sure to have model release!

More links:

15Jul 2010

We just wanted to share a great tool with you which our designers love working with – it’s called Kuler! It’s a website which helps you to create exciting color schemes or finding corporate colors which perfectly match. It’s free and it can’t be easier to use. Visit Kuler.

tool for designers to create exciting color schemes

22Jun 2010

If you assign a commercial, advertising or industrial photographer in Shanghai, China, or actually anywhere in Asia, you better know the legal ins and outs before you use the images which the photographer created for you. Using images without the proper license or permission can result in severe monetary damages for you or the company you work for, lawsuits with costly legal fees and under some rare circumstances, even criminal charges.

Regardless if you need an image for a new brochure, your company website or your product packaging, it is important that you have a document (such as a quote or invoice), clearly stating that you have the right to use the specific images in terms of the required time, media and territory.

Not having such a document protects the photographer or the photo studio, and not you as the client! This is one point which most marketing managers and image buyers are not aware off. Again, if you don’t have a document stating that you (as the client) may use the image in the desired way (see below), the photographer in this case remains  the sole owner of the image (even if the object is a product of the client and the photographer got paid for the job!).

There a common practices in different industries. For example, when dealing with cutouts or packshots (simple product shots of products in front of a plain background), usually copyrights or usage rights are not an issue. In this case, the photographer or the photo studio should license the images to the client without any limits in regards to time, media and location.

However, when creating unique and complex images (for example with models, on-location, or with a complex setup), it’s a standard practice that the photographer (or studio) charges an extra usage right fee, which depends on the following desired usage in terms of:

  • time (e.g. 3, 6, 9, 12 or more months),
  • media (e.g. website only, catalog, advertisement, packaging, etc.), and
  • location (e.g. China only, or also Hong Kong/ Taiwan, Japan, USA, etc.).

These three terms cover most of the basics – in some special cases, additional issues such as exclusivity, portfolio rights, etc. matter as well.

Also keep in mind that not only the photographer gets paid more for a greater usage, but also the model, and sometimes also various stylists.  Those usage fees don’t have to be enormous, but are typically in the range of 20-30% of the according service fees for each additional usage, e.g. one extra country, one additional media or one more year.

Following short checklist can help you to cover the basics:

✔ Are you clear on what the image will be used for?
- Will it be used for a billboard advertising campaign? A brochure? Website? Mobile?

✔ Have you confirmed the duration of the license you need?
- How long do you want to use the image for? A week? One month? Several years? Check when the license expires and check the length of the campaign or project the image will be used for.

✔ Are there people in the image?
- Have you checked that a necessary model release form was signed by the model for the image?

✔ Are there any trademarks or logos in the image?
- Have you checked that the photographer holds any necessary property release(s) for the image?

✔ Are there any buildings in the image?
- Have you checked that the photographer holds any necessary property release(s) for the image?

✔ Are there any differences between copyright issues in China and the rest of the world?
- No. As China is one of the 160 countries which signed the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, all rules and regulations which apply in the rest of the world, such as in the U.S. or Europe, also apply within China.

Below video, and above FAQ are courtesy of Stock Photo Rights, a new and great site to learn more about image usage rights.

Please keep in mind that this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice from your lawyer.

20Jan 2010

If you have to find a commercial photographer for your next project in China, there are several things which you need to consider that will affect the outcome of your search.  How can you be sure that the photographer is good?  How can you know if the photographer offers a good value?  How do you know if he or she is the right one for your project?  The most important challenge is to better educate yourself to make a thorough decision.

The aim of this article is to offer a recommendation to marketing managers or anyone having to choose a commercial photographer in China.

China offers a wide range of commercial photographers, ranging from individual freelancers to small lane studios to larger photography companies with their own large studios and full-time employees.   According to the China Photographer’s Association, there are 12,000 photographers registered in China (and for example more than 2,000 photographers just in Shanghai!).

Regardless if you need to need a product, portrait or architectural photographer, the general aspects which need to be considered when choosing a photographer are universal and always the same.   Commercial photographers in China come in various sorts and kinds which can be differentiated and evaluated by following characteristics:

  1. Portfolio
  2. Experience
  3. References
  4. Studio
  5. Team
  6. Personality
  7. Language
  8. Value
  9. Equipment
  10. Logistics

The above points are now explained in detail below.

1. Start with the photographer’s portfolio.

Start by looking at the website of the photographer and see if you like his or her style.  Do you like the way the shots are composed?  Do you like the atmosphere or tonality of the shots?  Photography is highly subjective which means that each individual will have a different opinion on an image.  Also have a look at how the website and the portfolio are presented:  Does it have a nice look and feel?  Is it well-structured and easy to navigate?  Does it contain all the relevant information and a bio or vita?

2. Check the experience of the photographer in your area.

Often photographers get questions asked like “I see that you’ve shot oranges but can you also shoot apples!?”.  This question is of course beside the point as you can’t expect any photographer to have shot the product you are looking for in the exact style you are looking for.  Rather check if the photographer has done some work which is relevant to your area, or in the style (lighting, background, composition) you like but with a different product.  A good photographer can easily adjust the shooting style according to your design.

3. Look at what other companies have used the photographer.

Good photographers usually have a loyal base of regular clients which work with them on an on-going basis. Check if the website reveals some information about the photographer’s references.  Ideally, the website shows some real comments from clients (testimonial section) with their company names.  Established photographers will also always be able to give you 2-3 references which you can contact before signing the quote.

4. Check out if the studio would be okay.

About 70% of all jobs are done in a photo studio and 30% are done on-location (estimated).  If your shoot takes place in studio, see if the studio size and location fits your requirements (look at dimensions, ceiling height, floor plan, storage space, make-up room, infinity cove, ease of access, etc.).  Ask if the studio fees are included in the photographer’s day rates, also ask for studio half-and full-day rates.

5. Make sure the photographer has a good support team.

Even small photography projects can become pretty labor-intensive.  Products need to be picked up or sent and assembled and prepared, models have to be scheduled and styled on time, property release forms have to be drafted, faxed and signed, and so on.  Photographers who don’t have a full-time support team, usually consisting of project managers/ producers/ account managers, stylists, photography assistants or runners, end up having to do all those little tasks by themselves.  This typically makes them spend a lot of their attention, time and energy on secondary tasks which can (and should) be done by an assisting team member.  Ask for other talents who support the photographer and check how experienced they are.

6. Learn a bit about the photographer’s personality.

Photographers are normal people with all kinds of strength and weaknesses.  As photo shoots can get quite exhausting, intense and challenging for all involved, so it’s vital that the photographer has the kind of personality traits which are important to you.  Consider the testimonial from Mike Gatti (Arnold Worldwide) about the awesome photographer Tom Nagy:


7. Find out about the photographer’s language skills.

Now this is something which is probably only relevant in China – see how good the photographer’s Chinese or at least his English is.  Photography is part of the visual communication sphere so it is fundamental that the people involved can communicate well with each other.  If a client requests “More Warmth! More Harmony!”, the photographer has no other choice but to ask “okay, but how?!”.  Therefore, it’s important that the client and photographer talk at least one common language.

8. Look at the value, not the price.

As prices are always relative, it always depends on what you get in return for what you input.  For example, if you pay $10,000 US for a car this might be a great bargain or a total rip off, depending if it’s a Ferrari or a unknown car brand from the former Soviet Union.  Same in photography!  Good photographers get you what you want efficiently and without loosing any of your time!  Bad photographers might also be able to get it done, but they often need much more time and you need to manage them a lot more.  Therefore, always consider that your time is very valuable and you should train your photographer to know what you want and like so that you can spend your time on your core business.

9. Equipment is not everything, but it’s a start.

Probably you already know that the best photographers can create amazing shots with almost any kind of camera or equipment, and inexperienced photographers will often explain that they can’t create this or that effect because they don’t have the right equipment.  Fact is that equipment is for sure important, but it is also often overrated.  Ask the photographer what equipment he is usually using (camera model, lights, computer) and if you need billboard size, what maximum resolution (e.g. 5616 x 3744 pixels at 300 dpi) his images can get.

10. Pay attention to how well the admin side is taken care off.

Some paper work is not avoidable, even in a creative area like photography.  The most important documents are: quotations (often referred to as quotes, estimates), invoices and release forms (model or property release forms).  See if the documents are setup properly and documented well (numbered, filed, complete information, etc.) as this might become important when there are any legal issues with property owners or models.

Bottom line: Choosing the right commercial photographer for your next project in China is actually an easy task once you know what to look for.  The above 10 points should help you to navigate you through your search.

You can also use a Point Rating System (see a sample result below or download the excel file to create your own) if you need to write things down or rationalize your decision to your boss or colleagues.  This Point Rating System helps you to look at each factor independently, while coming up with one final result (or sum of points) for each option.  The photographer with most of the points should then be your preferred option – and get the job!


You can also download a sample Excel version here !

12Dec 2009

The following article outlines and explains the most important points which need to be considered when planning and organizing an on-location garden photo shoot in Shanghai, regardless if you like to shoot any of  following types of products:

  • garden furniture items such as patio furniture, seating sets, grills, gazebos, green houses ..
  • power equipment such as lawnmowers, blowers, spreaders, chain saws, swishers ..
  • gardening or landscaping items such as flooring, pest control, mulch, planter ..

In the past five years we could gain a lot of experience after having planned and executed more than 200 on-location shoots in China, and actually also in Japan, Korea, India, Vietnam or Singapore.

On-Location shootings typically are charged with a minimum of 4 hours (=half-day shoot) as it often already takes 1-2 hours to arrange, pack and load all the equipment into the van and actually getting to the location.

Once at the location, the photography team starts to setup their equipment at the first “scene”, and the first shot is ready to be taken.

Although each on-location shoot is unique and needs to be treated differently from others, generally you will find yourself always dealing with the same “variables”, which will all be explained in greater detail below:

  • Location
  • Landscaping
  • Logistics
  • Photography
  • Retouching
  • Personnel
  • Weather
  • Planning & Workflow

When planning a shooting of garden related items, you first need to think of the location: Either you shoot your products on a “greenfield” or you ask your photography team to find an appropriate-looking villa with a nice garden or patio area. Both options have their pro’s and con’s which we point out below:




- easier to manage (logistics)
- easier to find
- less parties involved (no landlord)

- looks better
- might result in higher sales


- background without ambiance
- might look ‘simple and ‘ cheap’
- images will have no variety

- higher costs
- not easy to find a proper location
- issues with property owner
- logistics are more complex

Rimagine has two experienced landscaping partner companies in Shanghai. Both are internationally-owned companies, designing, planting and maintaining 100s of Western-looking gardens and compounds in Shanghai.  One of those companies is usually put in charge of all landscaping issues to set up all the scenes throughout the project plus help out with main logistical issues.

For a two day on-location shooting on the green field of our landscaping partner, following cost orientation might help you to calculate future projects:

  • Team of 5 Workers 3,000 RMB per day  (=450 USD per day)
    Workers can plant/carry/lift/move products or plants, but need orders.
    The 3,000 RMB per day are for all the 5 workers.
  • Team of 2 Supervisors 2,500 RMB per day (=375 USD per day)
    Supervisors coordinate workers and are responsible to build scenes.
    The 2,500 RMB per day are for all the 2 supervisors.
  • 100sqm of Greenfield 3,000 RMB per day (=450 USD per day)

The greenfields are located in the district of Song Jiang, approximately an one hour drive from our photography studios in Shanghai (without traffic, 30-45 minutes). In total, a complete greenfield plus a team of gardeners could cost you the following for a two-day photo shooting:

6,000 RMB 2 days x 3,000 RMB (5 workers) to carry, move products
5,000 RMB 2 days x 2,500 RMB (2 supervisors) to ensure correct scenes
6,000 RMB
2 days x 3,000 RMB (green field area rental)
1,500 RMB soil, tool usage, etc.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
18,500 RMB  =  2,700 USD

(not including photography, account manager, retouching and product logistic costs)

Rimagine is experienced in all relevant logistical issues as we have done and organized a big number of logistic-intensive on-location shoots in China. Due to the typically largeness and bulkiness of garden products, we recommend to have the suppliers of the products or our landscaping partner pre-store, arrange and transport all the products to the (various) location(s).

Based on past experience, our team can create between 5 to 10 scenes in one day. Factors which influence the shooting outcome:

  • Amount of scenes (a scene is for example:  Lawnmover in front of greenhouse)
  • Time to setup each scene (this would be done before the shooting starts)
  • Setup of lights (we would shoot with battery-driven lights or just use reflectors)
  • Location (e.g. distance to studio or from parking lot to shooting scene)
  • Weather (if weather prevents shooting, usually 30% of our service fees are charged)
  • Props (if any)

With each different scene we shoot, we get a selection of shots that are taken with the same lighting, but with small variations in angle and composition.

Depending on your preference, the retouching of all confirmed shots can be either be done by Rimagine’s own retouching team, or any other retouching team which you appoint.

The team which would plan the shooting and work with you usually consists of:

  • 1 Producer          project coordination, scheduling, arrangements, props
  • 1 Photographer   taking the actual shots, consulting in terms of design
  • 2 Assistants         assist photographer, run errands, move equipment
  • 1 Driver               van to shuttle team, fetch products/equipment
  • 1 Admin Assist.    stay in the studio, arrangements, phone calls

Landscaping team typically consists of

  • 1 Project Manager   coordinating all gardeners
  • 5-10 Gardeners   build scenes, carry/lift/move products, plant trees
  • 1 Truck Driver

A supervisor and some workers:

Team Talent Count.
The core team will be approximately 8-15 persons (not including client). It is advised that at least one client representative is present all the time.

For any on-location / outside shooting, the weather has to be considered. Weather is usually stable and very nice in spring and fall in Shanghai (2nd half of March/April/May and September/ October/ November). Shanghai “has” a rainy season but even within this rainy season it does not rain more than in Germany in fall. The best months to do such shootings are therefore in the indicated months.

Planning & Workflow.
A detailed planning and close communication between you, your photography team, the location owner(s) and the landscaping company are necessary. Rimagine would orchestrate all parties, and your account manager would act as the main coordinator.  In general, Rimagine recommends following process:

Week 1

  • Confirmation on location(s) (images/measurements to Hornbach)
  • Scene Scribble and definition amount of scenes/where/how
  • Detailed cost estimate from landscaping team
  • Confirmation and pre-production start

Week 2

  • Suppliers send products to landscaping company
  • Landscaping company builds all scenes
  • Photo shooting of the scenes, create approx. 60 shots

Week 3

  • Disposal of all used material (either back to supplier, property owner can keep, or dispose)
  • Retouching

More Things To Consider:

  • Can one member of your team be present during the shoot (ideally to approve images)?
  • Do you have examples (or references you like) of past shootings?
  • Who is in charge of the landscaping design? (not really necessary for greenfield option)
  • Do you have a total allocated budget or do you like us to come up with one?
  • From where will the supplier’s send the products? (Shanghai-area?)

We hope this article will help you to evaluate the feasability of planning and organizing a on-location shoot of your garden products in Shanghai.

12Jun 2009

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:


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

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