Project Management for Photographers

Recently I read a great book: Project Management For Dummies sold by Amazon at more or less $15. I highly advice it since it was illuminating. It helped me with my university projects, internet projects and, most importantly, with my photography.

The following post is based on this book and adapted to a photographer who is willing to start a new project but needs a solid idea to keep him on track during the development of his idea. Project management has really changed the way I take pictures; I hope you will find it useful.

Project Management for Photographers

To begin with you should write down a Scope Statement for your photography project that should include the following information:

  • Justification: How and why your photography project came to be and the scope of work to be performed.
  • Objectives: The products and the results your photography project will produce. (A portfolio? A photography book?)

It is essential to be crystal clear when stating your project’s objectives. The more clearly you define your project’s objectives, the more likely you are to achieve them.

    • Be brief when describing each objective.
    • Make your objectives SMART, as follows:
      1. Specific: Define your photography project’s objectives clearly, in detail and with no room for misinterpretation.
      2. Measurable: State the measures and performance specifications you’ll use to determine whether you’ve met your objectives.
      3. Aggressive: Set challenging objectives that encourage you to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
      4. Realistic: Set objectives that you believe you can achieve.
      5. Time sensitive: Include the date by which your photographic project will be done.

Include the following elements in your objectives:

    • Statement: A brief narrative description of what you want to achieve with your photography project.
    • Measures: Indicators you’ll use to assess your achievement.
    • Performance specifications: The value(s) of each measure that define success
  • Product scope description: The features and functions of  your final products (i.e. photographic book?) and results your photographic project will produce. Product acceptance criteria: The criteria for accepting completed products.
    • Your description of your project’s scope of work should specify clearly where your project starts and where it ends.
  • Constraints: Issues that might limit what you can photograph, how and when you can photograph them, and how much photographing them can cost.
  • Assumptions: Statements about how you will address uncertain information as you conceive, plan, and perform your photography project.

Project Statement must contain:

  • An overview of the reasons why your want to create a photographic project: why am I taking these photos?
  • A detailed description of intended results: What do I want to do with these photos?
  • A list of all possible issues the project must address: can I take these photos?
  • A list of all assumptions related to the photography project: Will this photography project be a success? Yes? No? Maybe?
  • A list of all required work that has to be dealt with: To complete my photography project I need to do this, this and this.
  • A detailed project schedule.
  • Needed funds and resources: To make this project I need this, this and this.
  • Plans for ensuring your photographic project quality.

Once again, this list is based on the book: Project Management For Dummies. I highly advice to get a copy of it since this is just a very brief list of things I personally like to note down before starting to take photos. Although meant for business, it can easily be reinterpreted for photographic needs.

Giulio Menna
Lover of: all things digital, humanities, and medieval manuscripts. I created Sexy Codicology and the DMMmaps Project and run them both with passion and love in my free time. I am an MA graduate in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University. Still happily living in the Netherlands.
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