Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.


Certainly others, along with myself, would like to see your Ask Anything series cover the topic of treatments in great detail. Amanda and Suzanne may have visual insight into this they could share.

Are these treatments formal? Scattered thoughts through email? A conference call related to, “This is how I will make your pictures…”?

I’ve searched fairly well with Google and found very little on the topic. For many photographers, the existence of treatments will be new, especially with how they’ll go down when the big job calls.

From Amanda and Suzanne:

We have a joint client who does the most amazing treatments before any photo shoot. The Rhoads have been very kind to let us show you a treatment they submit to every client. And since so many photographers do not create these, we reached out to our friends to get their take on the importance of a treatment.

Picture 4
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Download the treatment here.

We sent the treatment to art producers and art directors. Here is their response:

Senior Art Producer – International Ad Agency

love a treatment, get them all the time, it really helps. with everything being so literal now, the vision from the photographer really helps. directors do it all the time, with the lines blurring still guys are doing this as well.

Art Producer – Smaller Ad Agency

This is usually along the lines of what I’m working on to be prepared for a pre-pro if I’m producing. (If the photographer has their own producer I’m expecting them to put this together for the pre-pro.) I have mixed feelings about it. My control-freak nature would most likely make me feel like I’d need to make tweaks to it and use my client’s typeface, logo, etc; but on the other hand if a bulk of this work is done, it for sure helps me out. I guess it wouldn’t make or break the deal for me.

Senior Art Producer – Large NYC Based International Agency

I think this is visually fabulous. There’s all kinds of clients and all kinds of needs depending on the client want when it comes to pre-pro books. This is evidently a fashion pre-pro treatment. Not to say that they don’t have all the same needs. So below is what I love and what I think is missing.

I like

Concept – I like knowing what the concept or creative treatment is.
Cast- I need to see photo’s not just names.
Setting- I need to see location pictures.
Inspiration/Styling – wardrobe/hair samples – great mood board
Location Shots/Bar & Hotel – great mood board

The following is some of the things that are missing. Now these maybe things that are separate from the pre-pro book. It all depends On how the photographer is handling it. I think of the pre-pro book


Clients name,
Call Sheet/Contact Info.

I think of a Pre-Pro Book as bible…I want any and everything in it. When we’re on shoot’s we really cling to it. This being a fashion shoot

It maybe just enough. Not for my clients or account teams.

Senior Art Producer – International Ad Agency

For large shoots, we absolutely expect treatments from photographers. Some are quite elaborate, others are simple like this one.

Side note: presentation decks (usually PowerPoint pdfs or printouts) have become extremely important in selling through ideas. We would use the treatment in a presentation deck for what we call a “pre-bid” meeting, which is the meeting with the client in which we bring our client up to speed with what we’re thinking regarding photographer choices and other details prior to actually estimating and producing.

Pre-pro decks have become very elaborate because of the need to outline every single detail prior to shooting.

To Summarize:

You heard it directly from their mouths. Treatments are important and often crucial to the success of a shoot. It helps everyone get on the same page visually. We speak visually, so should your treatments. Please note the difference between the treatment as a whole and a pre-pro book. The pre-pro book contains everything everyone needs for the shoot, client name, details of all the people involved and everyone’s contact info, the schedule of the day, etc…including the treatment of visual direction. We recommend the treatment be submitted during the pre-pro meeting as an added bonus to the shoot and to make sure everyone is seeing eye to eye.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of “Ask Anything.”

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  1. Treatments are not prepro books or moodboards submitted after the job has awarded.
    In my experience, a treatment is a document prepared and shared with the agency during the bidding process to help further explain the vision & execution of the photographer, to differentiate the photographers from those he/she is bidding against, & to further demonstrate the photographer’s enthusiasm for & understanding of the brand, shoot, particular opportunity.
    It’s not a prepro book.
    If you wait til the prepro meeting to share your treatment, the job may have already been awarded to someone else.

    • @L,
      L is correct. Treatments are for submitting with estimates, not after the job is booked. There seems to be some confusion about a treatment and a pre-production booklet. A treatment would be a collection of text, photography, mood references, color references, maybe video, of how you would propose to shoot the job. A pre-pro booklet would be something you would make after you got the job. It would still have mood references in it, but it would also have pictures of the chosen models, scouted locations, wardrobe, props, as well as crew and agency contact information. Also, it would have the shoot schedule.

      We have also received requests from art buyers for the photographer to write a written “treatment” or description of how they would shoot the job. There in lies the problem that photographers are not writers. They are photographers. Hopefully the photographer’s agent can help edit this, or the photographer has someone that can help them edit text.

      • @Erica Chadwick, Yes – thank you for sharing. This is definitely a way to put an edge on you when triple bidding. THANK YOU for sharing. Not always do you have the ability to share this when it’s a triple bid without insight from the art director, but if you get that access and get insight – a treatment like this with your vision and that is meets the same level as your AD can seal the deal.

  2. GOOD READ my friend. All directors do treatments, so should the still photographers. It’s really a solid way to show the creatives what you are thinking. I send them to the creatives the same time the estimate is goes to the art buyer. Lot’s of photographers just rely on their portfolio and website to do the talking, which is fine. But if you are working the 1st time..or anytime, with an agency or client, its a nice way to show you care about what you do. Shows you were listening to the emails and phone calls with creative and you also did your own research. You also get to show a selection of your photography to help steer the creative direction of the project.

  3. A few questions:
    Are Treatments and PrePro books different or the same thing? Are they presented at different times during the bidding process (ie: before the job is awarded and/or after)?

    It seems like the Treatment is a short explanation of how the shoot will transpire – concept, date, type/style of images, shoot calendar. Where the pre pro book is a detailed outline with scouting and model photos, call sheet, etc… from the chosen photographer. Is that correct?

    I have talked to some art buyers who say they don’t have the time to read through anything like this before the job has been awarded. They’re just too busy. They love, however, receiving an outline from the chosen photographer.

    • @Keith Barraclough, Hey Keith! They are different but elements that can be merged together. PrePro is a breakdown of your shoot and the treatment is the creative breakdown/vision.

      • @Amanda & Suzanne,
        Thanks! But do creatives have the time to read the treatment? I’ve heard they don’t look at them.
        I like Erica’s response to L, but do we as photographers really have the time to put all of this together – especially a video?
        Would it be proper to ask the art buyer if they want to see a treatment or not?

        • @Keith Barraclough,

          You do not have to put a video together by any means. Some photographers have video of them working, that can show and AD how the day on the set goes, and this can be an advantage. For example, I have an artist that shoots water splashes and it is often to difficult to explain to a client why we need such an production to shoot water splashes. We show then them the video of how the artist works and they instantly “get it”.

  4. I agree – there is some confusion here between a treatment and a pre-pro book. This example mirrors more closely a pre-pro book in my opinion. My version of a treatment includes statements about how I will approach the job and my strengths along with some relevant samples of my work. If the job requires any special lighting or retouching I may provide samples of those and explain the process in more depth where needed. Are clients also looking to get full production decks with a bid these days? If we spend days researching a location, for example, do we need to disclose the exact details of that before being awarded the job or does that put us at risk of the client then deciding to use a less experienced (or less expensive) photographer and hand over our production book to them? Does anyone on the client side have thoughts on how to handle that? Thanks!

    • @Callie Lipkin, Thank you for your comments. You make a great point, any treatment is one’s personal vision on how they would handle the shoot. As long as you make the treatment personally yours, that creative is going to understand your mindset and that is crucial when speaking visually.

    • @Callie Lipkin,

      I would NEVER show a production book to anyone before the job has already been awarded to me and I am 99% at the point of not even showing treatments anymore. My thinking is, “here is my work, here is my client list, pay me for my creative ideas and you will never find a more loyal collaborator, want a FREE creative, fuck off.”

      • @Victor John Penner,
        I would never hire anyone that could not give me exact details on how they were going to do the job. Sometimes discussing photography can be loaded for photographers with emotion to the point where they do not think of it as a business.

        Does it help to look at this from a different profession entirely?

        If you were hiring someone to build a house for you, and you were looking at 2 contractors- who would you go with…?

        Contractor A gives you the street addresses to houses he has constructed & pictures and you can look at them, and ask him questions about those houses. He’s not willing to come over and look at your property to discuss your house.

        Contractor B gives you the same info as A, but discusses what materials he uses, and why. He comes to the lot and sees what he might encounter specific to your home. He might even tell you your architect needs to modify a few things to make the house work on the lot.

        Who are you going to choose to build your house?

        • @Erica Chadwick,

          Hi Erica, I feel there is more to the interaction. It’s an issue of trust. If a creative artist has experienced an agency using the artists treatment for another artist to fulfill a project (or the agency has a reputation for *borrowing*) then it would be difficult to put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into another request from the agency.

          Same thing with elaborate bids when the agency already has a fave in mind and is just looking for a third bid to please the client/accounts person.

        • @Erica Chadwick,

          I do treat it as a profession and I expect Creative Directors to be, well, creative. Meet with me, talk with me, look at my work and see if it is a fit for your agency and your project. I have a track record and it speaks for itself, hire me and I will give you the “road map” for your creative but the majority of the time the creative direction is already in the can before the call even comes in and all they really want to know is how “I” will execute.

          • @Victor John Penner,


            I remember one of the very first times I was asked for a Treatment, before a Conference Call. They emailed me some Attachments, along with some pencil sketches and rough descriptions. I mistakedly thought that this was just a jumping-off point, and they really did want to know how I’d interpret the job, so I had about six or eight alternative ideas ready, when the conference call started.

            As it turned out, of course, they didn’t really want to know how I’d shoot it — they wanted EXACTLY what they’d sketched out, with no variations, and the execution of their approved concept was all that mattered to them. I guess all they wanted to know from me was where I’d put the foamcore bounce. In the end, I got the job, but it was a learning experience for sure. Yes, by the time the phone call gets down to the photographer, the idea has already been focused-grouped, tested, and approved by multiple layers of clients. Spontaneity? They’ll always say, “Shoot ours, and then if there’s time, shoot yours”. But you know what’s going to get chosen; it’s a foregone conclusion.

      • @Victor John Penner, I remember working at The Martin Agency and the art director wanted a verbal treatment of how the photographer would shoot his concept. The photographer, well known celebrity with the same mentality, refused to give up any info- said my works stands for myself, hire me and then we will talk. Didn’t get hired. Fees were $150,000.00 and his holding back lost him that job. Pick your battles wisely.

        • @Suzanne and Amanda,

          A “verbal treatment” is a LOT different than the treatment that you have presented to the readers here, and as I said in my response “talk with me”.

          What is my “mentality”? I have created looks, brands and products all of which I have been fairly compensated for and my clients have reaped the benefits of.

          It’s a dance not a “battle” and I agree that you should pick your partner carefully.

        • @Suzanne and Amanda, I think you’re right. If a client takes your creative approach and hires someone else to execute, THEN take issue – keep it in mind next time they call. I think Ya gotta be open to all creative discussions. The written stuff can take up considerable time so one has to be careful how much is invested to a job that has yet to be awarded.

          Agencies do the same thing with their pitches – weigh your chances of winning the account with the amount of work you’re investing up front.

  5. One extra comment we wanted to make is the branding – The Rhoads make sure they brand everything that their images, ideas or concepts touch. This is crucial in presentation. YOUR BRAND IS EVERYTHING.

    • @Amanda & Suzanne,

      What exactly does that “brand” (“branding”) look like?

      • @Bob, Their NAME, their type, subtype & support design elements

        • @Amanda & Suzanne,

          Meh… a business card?!!! :o

          Ha, I’m crushed! I was somehow expecting so much more :)

          Granted, the treatment will use the same Helvetica font and little dog wagging tail (logo) as the stationary, the mailers, the portfolio, the cases, the website, the e-mailers, the blog, the FB page, the twitter feed, the iphone app, the ipad app, the pre-pro book, the craft services napkins, the forehead tattoos, the font on the poster boards twirled outside the agency offices by the burlesque girls (which read: “Bob’s my daddy!”). We will also use the lil doggy (waiting for a bone) on the LCD stickers (moving content) we place above the urinals and on the back of the doors in the lavatories at Chiat :D And of course our sourcebook ads, t-shirts, and caps :P.

          Meanwhile, back at the local falafel stand my buddy owns, his biggest worries are fresh chickpeas, and garlic. He’ll go home to his $1.2 mil house in the hills at a regular hour every evening, plan his kids college fund, retirement, and quarterly vacations with his wife.

          But honestly, thank you all for the response and threads.

  6. Amanda and Suzanne,

    This is all fine and good I guess. I understand (and agree) with your General Contractor analogy. I’ve done Treatments before, and they’re becoming more commonplace. But this quoted sentence below just sticks in my gut a bit:

    {QUOTE FROM A.D.} Side note: presentation decks (usually PowerPoint pdfs or printouts) have become extremely important in selling through ideas. We would use the treatment in a presentation deck for what we call a “pre-bid” meeting, which is the meeting with the client in which we bring our client up to speed with what we’re thinking regarding photographer choices and other details prior to actually estimating and producing. Pre-pro decks have become very elaborate because of the need to outline every single detail prior to shooting.{END QUOTE}

    I know planning is good, and people just LOVE to have meetings, and plan and plan and plan, and talk about things as if they’ll really be like that when they’re standing out in the desert three weeks from now, but let’s be honest — many times on a location shoot, the weather is nuts, or there are endless other variables that are beyond anyone’s control. It just seems that, more and more, these clients damn near want a guarantee of EXACTLY what’s going to happen, down to every detail, and down to every joke, and down to every meal. I guess that’s fine, if you were shooting a building, or a still life thing, but maybe with Lifestyle, you want things to be a tad looser, and you actually want to plan for crazy stuff to happen, so you can react to it.

    The agency business has now invented the concept of Treatments for still photography. But what is next? Will they want to see a “test photo session” done, before the “real photo session”? I’m just saying, all this stuff is getting a bit out of control. At some point you wonder, why not just hire an Illustrator, if you want every detail guaranteed? I don’t want to blame the agencies for this, but do you think they’d ever stand up to a Client and say, “There is a limit to the Guarantees, and being able to See Everything In Advance”?

  7. I like the idea of doing treatments and standing out to the art buyer and client because of it. I don’t like the idea that I may be doing what is someone else’s job (creating PDFs and PowerPoint presentations for the creative team to sell their ideas to the client). There are plenty of junior art directors and lackies to put together comps. Keep it under control. Want want want…more more more…just let me shoot. I’ll do my best to satisfy you before hand and like I said, I don’t really have a problem putting together a treatment or having it done, but be reasonable.

  8. Hey- just to clarify, this example is from a pre-pro book not from a Treatment.

    As mentioned in some comments above, a Treatment gives me a sense of how you envision the job- they are usually a mix of visual reference- sometimes called a mood board which might show the lighting approach, colour treatment, the angle, the expression of the model… that sort of thing. Sometimes photographers will do a quick test shot as an explanation of where they will go with the final shot. And usually there are a couple of paragraphs explaining how they would approach the job and what they feel is important for the job’s execution.

    Often treatments are requested when the agency needs help figuring out the right way to shoot the concept- (whether or not this should be the agencies job or not is another debatable matter). In the best case scenario, when you provide a treatment to me as an AB, it shows me what ideas you are bringing to the table, and that you fully understand what the agency is after and that you can accomplish that.

    But, please don’t think you need to have talent, location sorted before you are awarded the job and then share that in your Treatment- this is NOT the case. In fact, it makes no sense- we (agency) and client need to be involved in those approvals. Again, this example is from a pre-pro deck, not a Treatment.

    What’s a pre-pro deck? Well, also as stated above, this is something we go through with the client, agency and photographer around the same table (or conference phone) to review what has already been approved (talent, location) and discuss what to expect on the day- maybe look at mood boards for hair&makeup or wardrobe, get into more detail about angles etc. Review the shooting schedule and forewarn the client about anything wonky (ie. it’s a closed set on the first set-up because the talent is naked in a bathtub so don’t expect to be able to hang over the digitech’s shoulder and watch every take as it’s coming in). Again, this meeting happens well after the job is awarded and in production. And further to some points above, the AB is responsible for putting together the pre-pro deck, not the photographer.

    For more about what Treatments are, how agencies and photographers are handling them and, whether they are copyrightable, check out these posts:

    From a post called Treatments:

    From Ask an Art Buyer: Are Treatments Copyrightable:

    From Ask an Art Buyer: Protecting your Ideas:

  9. THANK YOU EVERYONE for the information and feedback. We simply addressed the question of what a treatment was – and did not realize that bringing this up did not address the difference of a PRE-PRO book…so in our next posting we will address this and compare.

    USES of a TREATMENT for a photographer’s USE:
    1. To use to show the modeling agency or stylist the look you are going for when casting
    2. To use after the job is been awarded – but prior to the pre-pro to make sure all casting and wardrobe is headed in the right direction
    3. To use in conjunction with your estimate (we are not recommending that all photographers do this or must) but it has been asked before by creatives or photographers have provided this on their own (just stating the facts)
    4. In junction with the final pre-pro book – which is to help guide the crew as to how the FEEL/LOOK of the shoot should go and the end result/vibe

    -A treatment to go with an estimate is a lot of work and we only recommend for REALLY LARGE jobs that you want. WE HAVE EXAMPLES coming your way.

    -The treatment shown here does state the models, so that can cause some confusion – but this was a mid-stage treatment – meaning some of the production had been done and the photographers were keeping the project up to date with this treatment document.

    NEXT – WHAT IS A PRE-PRO BOOK…and an example with the DETAILS of the REAL SHOOT…

  10. A good read… but I wish people would learn how and when to use apostrophes correctly. It makes them look dumb.

  11. Received this morning from a creative director:

    Good to hear from you! I hope you are doing well.
    Sorry it has taken me so long to answer you about this.

    I have received treatments like this before and yes, they have sealed the deal when they got the concept right.That is the key. After you send the treatment, insist on a conversation and listen to the client. We just did a job, got a bunch of treatments like this and the one we liked best wasn’t exactly tracking with what we had in mind conceptually. We talked to him, we explained what we wanted and we got a new treatment that proved he got it. That sealed the deal for us.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you!

  12. As an art buyer, having a photographer put something together like this treatment is a help to me in selling the photographer’s ability with the creative team and the client. It shows that the photographer is excited and commited to work on the project. In today’s day, where photography is a tough sell sometimes, my job of romancing the client (and sometimes the creative team to use a photographer that I know would rock the concept) is tough at times, and this treatment goes a long way. And I think it should be more than just telling a client, “Hey, you know that concept that you love…we’ll here’s how much it costs.” I want them to love the whole process. Something like this says that the photographer gets the concept, really wants to work on the project and tells the client this whole process is going to be wonderful and helps me get the client swept up in it.

  13. ooh there is one of my photos, from wildfox campaign, on her treatment :)

    • @Lauren Ward,

      That is great Lauren, now another photographer using your images for a “treatment” can blaze the trail for you and then it will be easier for you when you try and get work.

      I can understand, as sad as it is, that agencies “borrow” images for boards and then expect photographers to knock off the look but for another shooter to use images other than their own to pitch a treatment is truly pathetic.

      Nice work Lauren!

    • @Lauren Ward,

      OUCH!!! That’s gotta sting!
      (Not you Lauren – the thieves)

      What is the proper protocol when borrowing others work for a treatment and then being awarded the job?

      Does the studio then sub contract the originator of the art?

      • @Bob, and Victor- STOP!!!!!!!!! You are some of the angriest people I have ever come across!! For God’s sake we are posting this to help people out- IT IS A FUCKING treatment- Lauren’s images is under INSPIRATION and STYLING!!! That means WARDROBE!!!! Photographers and Stylists pull scrap from magazines to discuss the wardrobe, agencies pull scrap from magazines for concepts- IT IS NOT COPYRIGHT infringement is a a “feeling” IF it was SHOT exactly like the scrap then yes we are talking infringement. I go to PhotoMob and I see concepts that remind me of other images- you were INSPIRED by so are you guilty of infringement?? No it is INSPIRATION!!! Stop HURTING those who want to learn something because if you all keep this up Amanda and I have more important things to do- I think I will go clean out the litter box- the shit there doesn’t stink as bad! Sorry but when we offer our hearts and soul and you call one of the kindest people we know a thief on INSPIRATION I have to voice myself. The Rhoads were so kind to offer- don’t make them regret trying to help because EVERYONE will lose. And jokes on you- they have been approached by several reps who love their work!

        • @Suzanne Sease,

          Suzanne, No anger here.

          If the shoe fits!
          If the shoe does not fit – why throw a tantrum?
          I’ll assume we all all adults, capable of making or own choices, decisions, forming opinions, and voicing opinions.

          I happen to feel that using another artists work (without permission or compensation) crosses the line.

          Will you allow me my own opinion?

          The advert/marketing agencies have been incredibly cavalier over the years in using other artists work for their comps. Again without permission, without compensation. It is OFTEN taken for granted that this is how business is done. An artist that objects to being *used* in this way will be blacklisted.

          If these images/art uses were not important this prepro media (including comps) would not be part of the procedure.

          Is borrowing without permission any more ethical because the artist has been approached by reps?

          • @Bob, Wasn’t it you who wrote on copying others work “Ideas often have a “take off” Point (no pun intended) at which time these are inserted into the community as a meme. If the point (or identity)of insertion is hip, has great influence or access, it often drives the meme further” So yes you are more then welcome to voice your opinion, just keep it consistent. And adults call others who are helping thieves. In my opinion, you have a thing against art buyers and agency people. I wonder why?

            • @Suzanne Sease,

              I don’t have a bias either way. I try to look at the reality.
              I did make that comment which you quoted. It is how I see our cultural environment. Yet at the same time, it is quite obvious that some people and businesses use the specific expression (the art or meme’s) these originators have created for great personal advantage (interest).

              Rarely is there any acknowledgment, or compensation. I believe you may have considered my quote as an acceptable rationalization of how to conduct business. I do not consider it acceptable. It is just a description of how some ideas are used today.

              It is easier than ever today to get by on others ideas.
              It is no easier today to create ones own ideas – especially with the constraints of time and budget.

              What do you call borrowing or using without permission, acknowledgment, or compensation?

              Is it possible that one can “help” and still be violating another’s standards?

      • @Bob,
        You are being very rude to my guests. You can leave your opinion but the passive aggressive commenting behavior reminds me of some corporate shit bags I used to work with. Stop baiting comments so you can deliver your smarmy rebuttals. You will be removed if that’s the game you want to play here.

        • @A Photo Editor, OHHHHH SNAP!

    • @Lauren Ward, I checked out your work- it is beautiful- no wonder it is an inspiration!!!
      Keep up the great work!!!

  14. Victor, why so much anger? Switch to decaf mate
    – Tom

    • @Tom,

      Decaf? Never!!

      Tom, the photographer showcased in this thread presented a “treatment” for a photo shoot that incorporates another photographers images and it seems, without permission.

      Should we just assume this is OK or should we get angry? Would it be OK If I took your imagery to pitch a job with?

      I frequently get presented treatments that are NOT my photography and I always tell my clients that any copyright infringement is generally on the shoulders of the person using it for commercial gain. This can temper the direction to “look and feel” rather than a direct copy. I also have my work used in the treatments(sometimes without permission but since they are shown to me I would assume with the intention of me actually doing the work) and sometimes a test shoot is part of the process but only after I am awarded the work.

      • @Victor John Penner, Victor, you need to wake up and get into the current century, film is dead, you dinosaur Vancouver photographers like David Fierro and Chris Haylett all need to drop that chip off you shoulder. Boo Hoo someone uses your work as inspirational tears. Be thankful your work is good enough to inspire someone, if you weren’t such a complete dick maybe you wouldn’t have to be so paranoid about loosing a job. Down with you man, up with creative normal people

        • @Tom, …those ‘dinosaur’ photographers you mentioned (Victor Penner, Chris Haylett and David Fierro) are today, as have been for decades, technically three of the very top photographers out of Vancouver, that is why they also still command work out of the US as well as locally…Im a photo rep and I do not rep any of these three talented individuals but admire their work greatly. Why so negative about others? That approach always astounds me…

          • @Gina Hole, Those “talented” photographers are aholes, let’s be honest. As you can see above Victor is about as grumpy as it gets and Chris? Seriously? Didn’t you used to rep Chris? Come on, we all know he’s a pain in the ass. There is a lot of talent out there, but talented people who are equally nice to work with are the true gems, quit promoting those whom wish to harm

            • @Tom, …hmmm, now who’s ‘grumpy’ and an ‘ahole’?… I’ll promote whomever I want first off and secondly, why not put your last name?

        • @Tom,

          How UN-Canadian of you.

          • @Waiting for the plan, Yes because I live in Canada I must be Canadian? How amazingly ignorant. Yes all people that live in Canada are Canadian, we all drink maple syrup, ride dog sleds and live in ice caves. I’m Polish if you must know and I don’t even know what it is exactly you are getting at with your Nobel Prize winning argument. My point is times are changing, change with them or don’t that’s up to you but the point of this article was to assist you in gaining work. Take it or leave it, love it or hate it, it’s the reality of what makes you better then the rest or just the rest. You make the choice Canadian or not. And to further to Gina’s response, you still haven’t explained why the amazingly talented Chris Halett is no longer on your roster? Nice way to deflect, insult me, and don’t answer the question, nice touch


            • @Tom, well now, aren’t we the angry little cyber-stalker. Seriously, you need to go back on your meds you whack-job because you’ve got some serious issues. You respond to Victor’s non-offensive post by ranting on him and calling him a “complete dick”. Suddenly, you’re flaming David Fierro and me, calling us “dinosaurs and a-holes”. Where the fuck did that come from? I think all your earlier post was just foreplay to get to your real hateful agenda. You claim Fierro and I have a “chip on our shoulders”? Buddy, you’ve got the whole fucking tree on yours. I don’t even fucking know you, which qualifies you as less than even a pimple on the ass of the fashion industry. It’s actually creepy. You’re like one of those goofs who flunks out of the police academy but can’t let go, and drives around with a flashing light on his car wearing a fake uniform. Face it you polish queef – you’re just a mall cop in this business. You even rant on a poster who jokingly remarks “How UN-canadian”, but then it’s right back on to Gina and me. You just can’t let go. You’re the Energizer bunny of bitterness. Normally I wouldn’t even respond to some inconsequential hater such as yourself, but you creep me out. I have visions of Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and wonder whether you’re fucked up enough to be hiding in my yard. You never did answer Gina’s question as to why you won’t use your full real name. You don’t have to answer – it’s plain for everyone to see – you’re gutless. So, laddy boy it’s time to “man up” cause right now you’ve got less balls than Sami Salo. Time to either step up or shut up.

              • @chris haylett, Hook, line and sinker. Colorful vocab Mr.Haylett. Thanks for proving my point.


                • @Tom, still no name – still no balls

                  • @chris haylett, what are you going to do? Beat me up? What’s it like now doing free shoots for TLC? Just don’t know when to quit eh Chris? This will be the last you here from me, enjoy stewing in your own filth.


                  • @chris haylett, That’s enough BOTH OF YOU. GROW UP. There’s no need for racial slurs Chris! You pig! I hate to side with Tom but you are clearly an angry man and clearly a sexist loser. I don’t care how rude Tom has been, your language is not welcome on this site. You should be ashamed!!

  15. I haven’t been very active in this thread but in reading through some of these comments, I have just a few thoughts..

    I don’t think these treatments are meant to steal any work away from any other photographer. They’re meant to be used as more of a mood board of sorts. If the specific photographer that is bidding on the job hasn’t shot anything with the particular styling or such that they know is needed for a new project should they just not bid job? That’s silly. They were asked to bid the job before any treatment was seen and thus something about that particular photographer’s worked before the treatment was even a thought, so there really wasn’t anything to steal. I think we need to come together as an art community, making the unit itself stronger. I would never allow anyone to re-shoot something as it was in a comp or moodboard. When I’ve got the budget, I will always get comp drawings. However, the reality of that means that I’ve then got less of a production budget for the shoot, regardless of who is shooting it. Also, the easier we are on each other, the easier it is to get the client to understand the value of photography….any photography. This spreads to not just one client/photographer, but all. Photography is a tough sell these days in a world of micro-stock sites and amateur photographers that really don’t care at all about how them selling their weekend warrior photo for a few pennies impacts photographers that use this business to make their living. These treatments help me show the client that value in not just the final photography, but the entire process and experience.

    • It’s early and I’m still on my first cup of coffee as I sift through the blogs…not sure one of my sentences came through correctly. Revised grammar below:
      They were asked to bid the job before any treatment was seen and thus something about that particular photographer worked before the treatment was even a thought, so there really wasn’t anything to steal.

  16. I can understand some of the anger I have read in this thread. Treatments are a can of worms.

    Also, if someone is going to use another photographer’s work in a Treatment to suggest ‘mood’, the photographer should actually get a photo credit. However, this is still dubious ground, both in terms of copyright and ethics.

    It is one thing to open a book with a published image in it, and say “this is the feel I am going for”, but quite different to ‘grab’ some images off the net and include them in a PDF. By putting them in a PDF you are reformatting them. My Terms and Conditions do not allow clients to indiscriminately reformat images I provide to them – usage is strictly controlled, too.

    I know the argument that ad agencies ‘pitch’ for jobs, and that it follows that so to should photographers. Ad Agencies though are often kept on retainer by their clients, which allows them the luxury to pitch.

    I recently pitched for a job in conjunction with a graphic design company, to a large government department. The department wanted to know how the design of a new brochure would be done, as well as wanting some designs for the cover, etc. My designer friend decided he would not do or provide designs prior to getting the job, for several reasons, one of which being that it is set out in the charter of conduct at AGDA (Australian Graphic Designers Assoc), of which he is a member, that members do not do this. The photography component of the brochure, would be, I knew complicated. I did a rough mock up shot in my studio to exemplify an approach to accompany the pitch. I spent plenty of time working out an estimate, some of which involved having a meeting with a set designer, so he could quote. Finally the designer and I went to the pitch session. We described to a panel of 12 people at the dept how we would approach the brochure. Needless to say, we did not get the job. The feedback later was that we had outlined the clearest strategy for the brochure, and had the most detailed costings, of the three competing firms. However, we had not provided designs. Never mind that the other firms we were competing against had no photographers involved in their pitches.

    I fully support Treatments if the commissioning agent is prepared to pay for it. There should be a budget in place to pay those who supply written Treatments for the work required. Working out the ‘look’ of the photography is the main creative component of the job. To not get paid for the ‘creative’ undermines your negotiating position.

    If you as a photographer are not going to get hired for YOUR style, look, or creative, then maybe it is time to move across into becoming an ad agency yourself (!)

  17. Whether its a pre-pro or a treatment, I think that being able to provide a treatment is a great first step. If the client requires a pre-pro book then that would be the next step. :)

  18. Hello,
    thanks for this very interesting post which made me realise that some photographers agencies also do develop treatments as the tv production houses do.
    I actually work as a picture researcher myself illustrating the directors treatments for tv commercials and was wondering if anyone could tell me what’s the average daily rate for this job. I’m struggling with finding the right fees which tend to vary from one company to another and from one country to another. I mainly work for european countries/cities — Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam.
    Anyone? That would be very helpful, Thanks a lot!

  19. I need a professional opinion on a photo my husband found in my picture library online….a weird blurry photo of someone bending over possible in their underwear is mixed in with some pics that were taken on a night I was at my friends house INNOCENT visit I might add…I have no idea where this pic came from. I could have possibly taken it of something on tv…I have no idea. It does look like it could me but I am POSITIVE I never did anything of the sort at my friends house. I am furious at the fact that my husband doesn’t beleive me… can I find out exactly what the pic is of? I have tried sharpening it and had no sucesss which makes me think maybe I snapped someothing when we were watching tv and I just don’t remember it? PLEASE HELP…I want to stop being interrigated immediately! : (

  20. In the agency business (which I participated in as a creative director for eight years…) we called the works picked up and used to show mood/style/direction “swipes.” Swiping something means stealing something. Stealing an image means violating the ethical groundwork of the copyright as it exists. While the consultants may think that the ends ($150,000 fees, the acceptance by big agencies) justify the means because we’re in a mini-depression is no more logical than lifting the laws against shoplifting.

    If your photographer is good in a style and that’s the style you are selling then they should have ample samples of their own work to put into treatments. That’s the real reason agency people hire photographers, they have their own work and their own way of doing the work. If the clients are only interested in literal “proof of concept” they should just buy the images swiped for the treatment as stock and use them in their campaigns.

    I’m starting to think that the consultants do more harm then good by trying to imply that what works for a few large agencies with legions of lazy art buyers is the lingua Franca of the thousands and thousands of region agencies here in the US. If we did pre-production treatment for each project, with design elements and branding and original essays (might as well give the copywriters some free stuff too) we’d never have time to actually do the jobs.

    There are a small number of jobs at the top. There are an enormous number of jobs at the middle. Consultants seem to presume that everyone is chasing the top of the market but the reality (and it’s important to show a balanced picture to all the people entering the field) is that most jobs will not be so bountiful as to make intricate sub-campaigns by the photographer either profitable or sustainable. Even in the ad agency business there is a constant push not to do speculative work for clients.

    Sketches and pitches yes. Spec work? No. Give me a retainer and I’ll give you all the treatments you might want…..

    These are just my opinions and not meant as attacks on any other posters.

  21. correction. I “mistyped” “lazy art buyers.” Should have said, “over worked but incredibly wonderful art buyers….” Sorry about that.

  22. Thanks again for this post…over the past several months I’ve been pushing myself to do this for EVERY quote/estimate I provide. Even the small local fish. It’s made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the way I look at projects and communicate with the potential client. Not to mention, NOBODY else is doing them from what the clients tell me, so it sets you apart and shows them you’re really committed to the creative process WITH them.

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