The value of Art Direction: A client's perspective.

When it comes to having a photoshoot done for your brand - product shots, lifestyle shots or team profiles - employing a quality Art Director to oversea it is a great way of guaranteeing a successful shoot, without the stress.

Having worked as a Creative Director for years across various disciplines, including design and advertising, I understand how much people dread photoshoots. Whether they are behind the camera worrying how the photos might turn out, or they are in front of the camera trying not to look awkward.

To overcome this I always recommenced bringing in an Art-Director who understands their brand, but also has the experience to manage the situation.

They can act as a go between the client and the photographer/director to handle the pressure of the shoot. They know what the client needs and will make sure they always get what they need within the time frame, plus they can create an environment where everyone feels relaxed, which always produces better pictures.



Managing the shoot

Like you, I too get frustrated at unorganised photo-shoots with no schedule or agenda. The challenge for me as an Art Director is to keep everything moving so you remain ahead of schedule, getting all the key shots, yet still allowing room for 'in the moment' improvisation.

It's a balance of being a creative director, a project manager and a psychologist all at the same time. The talent (director, photographer or designer) has to be motivated, inspired and supported. They need to been given careful guidance when required and not have their style cramped by someone their watching every move like a hawk (something clients often do without realising).



Always being one step ahead

If you were to watch me Art Direct a shoot or advert, you'd probably think I look far too relaxed, but rest assured I'm always watching, anticipating and thinking about the next shot or location. I care about the success of your brand, so by being one step ahead and having everything planned out, I'm able to give the photographer what they need to do their best work. This produces better work which in-turn enhances the quality your brand.

They can be more expressive and start enjoying themselves. That rubs off on the client and means my shoots are fun, relaxed but highly productive because we always get so much done in such a short amount of time.



The fantastic Olivia Bossert

Picking the right talent

This insider knowledge of recognising talent and knowing who will be a perfect fit for your brand is another reason to choose an Art Director. I recently had the pleasure of Art Directing a promotional shoot for Saira O'Dwyer from Philosophi, a fantastic client who I love working for. Alongside us capturing everything was the lovely and extremely talented photographer Olivia Bossert.

She was as excellent as I expected.

I've been a fan of her work for a while and has been someone I've been keeping my eye on. She doesn't realise how good she is, and I'm convinced that she is destined for great things, so this was a fantastic opportunity to book her for a job before she gets too big and expensive.

The reason why I bring it up is that I received this lovely article from Saira who offers a client's point of view on the shoot. I wanted to share this with you as it gives the other side to the process and reinforces the value of proper Art Direction.


A client's perspective on being Art Directed

"It was the little things that we hadn’t really thought about, from the clutter of our desks (and I cleaned mine especially!), the type of laptop we may use… (the dell just doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to say ‘creative’),  and that coffee stain inside the mug that none of us noticed… the ability to see what us mere mortals just don’t see is indeed a gift. 
What was really nice about the process was the fact that we could be relaxed (ish), have conversations, do things we’d normally do and not pose awkwardly for fake forced images..  we moved to various locations and had shots taken while we were walking, talking, laughing.
Our photographer Olivia Bossert made us feel at ease and made it fun, and she used different angles to create more depth and movement to the photographs, shooting from outside a room through a window or from the bottom of steps as we walked down.
Throughout the session, Thad kept us on brief, on time and on message (and behaving ourselves), and Olivia came up with new ideas and locations to try, and we got so much more out of the time we had.  Also of note was that although the art direction was not specifically being led by the Olivia, she was treated as the creative in charge, and with respect for her craft. I’ve unfortunately seen many a photographer treated badly over the years from order-barking art directors."

You can read the rest of what Saira has to say here: and if you have any questions, or are planning an upcoming shoot I'd love to help you.

Thad Cox