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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Creating a Treatment

Brief from Amy Simmons, MCSaatchi

“This is for a European department store who is trying to break into the UK market, so that’s the client that you need to have in mind. The target market is UK shoppers, any gender aged 20 – 30. The brief itself is a campaign about how people have intimate and personal relationships with inanimate objects. You should focus on an item of your choosing within the treatment. It can be clothing, a book, a piece of art, food, electronic item, basically, anything that someone might purchase in a department store. You can do this in any way that you choose, this is a very open brief. It’s your interpretation of that, We do get briefs like this sometimes, where the art director doesn’t come up with a visual and they really leave it down to the photographer. You can take this in any direction that you so choose in terms of treatment and lighting. You could just do a simple still life or you could do something with cast or on location, as long as there’s a sense of affection that can be illustrated for that object. You really need to feel that someone loves that object, however you choose to interpret that.

This is a bit of a practical element to the brief: where is the copy going to sit on the image? It’s going to sit in the top left-hand corner and will read ‘This – insert object here – is mine’, obviously that would be the name of whatever object you would choose. The copy will be in white, so you should have a darker space in the top left for legibility. The logo of the company will be in the bottom right. Those are some considerations you should talk about, how you would compose the shot and how you would keep those areas clean to ensure that both of those things are legible.

Treatment and lighting, as I mentioned. This company are commissioning a variety of different photographers who have totally different styles, so it is very much your take on the brief. Do it in your style, with visual references that inspire you.

Cast: if you think that you do want to use cast, obviously include some references of the sorts of people you are thinking of. They must look like they might genuinely own that object or item. If depicting multiple people, they should be a mix of ethnicities and the same age range as the target market.

If you are thinking about shooting on location, the location should be UK based but also this could be shot in a studio, it really depends on how you want to interpret the brief. I think one of the key factors will be making this object feel like the hero of the shot in some way.

Formats: this is a key point. The brief is just for one asset, so one shot, but it will be for a social media post. As I talked about earlier, please be aware in your treatment and maybe discuss how this image is going to work for the square crop for Instagram, the portrait crop for Snapchat, and the landscape crop for Facebook. Will you capture everything in one shot or would you compose the three different formats differently?

It’s quite a short brief, it’s quite open, so take into account the things that I mentioned to include in the treatment stage, and I will be really excited to see what you pull together. I will be back in Week 12 for a bit of a Q&A and to see the work that you have done.”

– (, 2017)

Initial Research

Image sizes

Facebook – 1200 x 900 pixels – SOURCE: Sprout Social, 2017

Instagram – 1080 x 1080 pixels – SOURCE: Sprout Social, 2017

Snapchat – 1080 x 1920 pixels – SOURCE: Wallaroo Media, 2017

My Treatment Proposal

Feedback from Webinar with Amy Simmons from MCSaatchi (Wednesday 6 December 2017)

After presenting my treatment to Amy, I received the following feedback:

  1. Amy advised that I pare back the treatment styling. Whilst the colourful pages do reflect my personality, there could be a situation where the reader could be distracted by this away from the content. Amy suggested that I use just one colour on the backgrounds and just stick to a splash of colour at the bottom of each page. This is a really useful point for improvement. As this was the first time I had completed a treatment, I was a little unsure of how each page should look.

  2. Amy said that the overall impression was fantastic and that the content was really thorough. I had included everything that she had asked for in the document.

  3. Amy said that I should have more confidence in my own opinions. During my presentation I had mentioned that I have noticed that blue and yellow feature a lot in Instagram adverts, yet I have presented 7 different colour options in the document. Amy advised that I should just present the 1 colour that I believe is the best and explain why I think it will work best for the campaign. Then I could add that other colours could be chosen should the client wish something different.

  4. My image stamps are very detailed. Amy felt that although they really showed the vision, the stamps could have been pared back. She suggested that a simple sketch rather than a full mock-up would suffice. In addition, having such a detailed mock-up could tie me in to something that isn’t feasible on the shoot day. Amy suggested that it would be better to present various options of pose and backgrounds and let the client decide what works best for them. This would allow more flexibility on the day of the shoot.

  5. Be less specific in the visualisation of the proposed campaign and more specific in what I want.

  6. Overall, Amy said it was a fantastic effort. I am really pleased with this.

Other points that came out in the discussion and questions are:

  1. Due to client expectations, Amy would tend to book someone who has evidence of commercial work in their portfolio. This can be hard when starting out. The reason is that the client is pending a lot of money and needs to feel confident that the chosen photographer can deliver. Amy did say that this could include work for businesses and charities where you have responded to a brief. This encouraged me as I have previously completed work to briefs for Clic Sargent Cancer Charity and Clare Poole Show Team. I need to ensure that I include this in my portfolio.

  2. An indication of budget is usually given to the photographer before the treatment is prepared. A full quotation will be asked for when the treatment is approved and the photographer is chosen, It is not something that you would include in a treatment document.

  3. Once a treatment has been submitted, it is normal to call the following day to check that the treatment has been received and to ask whether there is anything that needs to added or amended. Also, you should ask when the client meeting is due to take place. This will give you an indication of when a decision is likely to be made.

  4. To get noticed, you should link to art directors on Instagram in the hope that they may link back to you and see your work appear on their timeline. Also send postcards to art directors that have your name and a link to your website on the back of the card.

The feedback webinar with Amy was really interesting and useful to understand the treatment process.

REFERENCES (2017). Log in to canvas. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].

Sprout Social. (2017). Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Wallaroo Media (2017). Snapchat Ad Dimensions, Formats, and Specifications – Wallaroo Media. [online] Wallaroo Media. Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].


Blue Background: (2017). Mottled Blue Background Stock Photo 3316700 – Megapixl. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Foot: (2017). -SKIFIJA- Feet 2+2 Lady Night pumps (Pink Silk). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Green Background: Getty Images. (2017). Distressed Grunge Textured Green Pattern Backdrop.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Orange Background: Getty Images. (2017). An abstract painting created with watercolors and inks. The prominent…. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Pink Background: glass, s., glass, r., uroboros lemon yellow, g. and Uroboros Lemon Yellow, G. (2017). Uroboros Lemon Yellow, Golden Yellow and White Mottled. [online] DelphiGlass. Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Purple Background: (2017). Frost on Glass Close Up Texture Colorized Purple Picture | Free Photograph | Photos Public Domain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Red Background: Getty Images (2017). Mottled background in soft red and orange colors.See all of my…. [online] Getty Images. Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

Watch: MVMT. (2017). Rose Gold/Black Leather. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].


Baker, S. (2017). CLOCK FASHION (ANKLE WATCH). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017]. (2017). Hands & Feet – Lifestyle – Models – Boss Model Management. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

REM – Ruini e Mariotti. (2017). Valentino – Terry Richardson. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017]. (2017). Savile Row : Style Magazine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].

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