Big Brand Photography vs. Small Brand Photography

What's the difference in photographing for big, nationwide brands vs smaller, local brands?

Untitled photo
Untitled photo


Deliveroo is an industry leading UK delivery company operating in nearly every city across the country.  They rely heavily on nationwide branding and reputation.

Two Brands

Two commercial photography photoshoots, two brands needing photographs for an advertising campaign and two hugely different approaches. How do we photograph with brands in mind?


Warmer Sussex

Newly launched in 2019, Warmer Sussex focus on retro fitting existing homes to become more energy efficient. It's a collection of domestic renovation suppliers.

I. Concept


Big Brand

Comprehensive brand approved photo brief

Commercial photography for big brand like Deliveroo - the concept has already been decided. You're chosen as an advertising photographer to best fulfil the brief and art direction they've chosen. Deliveroo wanted photographs of a chosen model, out on delivery, displaying the Missing Persons branding, abiding by all proper health and safety procedures.

The only contribution I could make was location, though it has to be 'iconic' Brighton, and composition though it couldn't include members of the public. 

Small brand

A verbal concept; no written brief

Commercial photography for a smaller, local brand like Warmer Sussex, the concept if often sketched out as a rough plan, but open to have ideas contributed. You're chosen as an advertising photographer to bring in expertise and share advice on how to get the best photographs. They'll often ask for your input; advice can be artistic, logistical, practical, financial and anything that a photoshoot can encompass.

Careful here, you're there to contribute, not take over. Provide options to choose from; the final decision is always the clients. 

II. Budget

For Deliveroo, we hired a model, rented a bike, purchased a helmet and sourced Deliveroo clothing. Time and resources were spent ensuring everything complied with the brand guidelines.

For Warmer Sussex (photo with the dog) we had zero money for props and models, but from the photographs - could you tell?  Would you know that one photograph cost thousands of pounds and the other cost 90% less?

Our job as photographers is to make the budget stretch. Commercial photography is no longer  just about taking pretty pictures. It's giving the clients the best value we can.


III. Approval vs Autonomy


There are very few commercial photoshoots with 100% autonomy. If a client is paying, they will eventually need to approve the photographs. This is a small breakdown into the photo approval process of a big vs smaller brand.


Commercial photography for a brand like Deliveroo, a representative will be on location during the photoshoot to oversee production. Photoshoots cost thousands of pounds and having a person on site to mitigate any risk of it not hitting the brief is simply a commercial photoshoot standard.

It's common for the project art director or assistant from the advertising agency to be this brand representative. They're in charge of bringing the concept to life.


Photographing for smaller brands, the interaction is directly with the client, whether the business owner or a marketing director. Often, these people are not on set during a photoshoot. They've delegated the job to you as a photographer. You're now their representative on location and interacting with their customers who have been asked to model as a case study.

For Warmer Sussex, the client was on set, but as an observer and question answer-er, rather than an artistic influence; very helpful to have.

Advertising Agencies

It's incredibly helpful to have these people on set. They answer questions, ok/reject decisions and ensure the brief is hit, the client is happy and everything is done in a timely manor. 

Direct Client

Direct access to the decision maker creates quicker feedback and develops the personal connection. You build trust, grow together and it builds a recipe for future commissions.

Both approaches generate quality commercial photography to represent the brand.

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