Art Direction

Conception to Direction

Photography is vitally important to the work we do. There is not a single project where images — both moving and still — are not considered. With this in mind, it is important to develop and nurture a number of creative and productive collaborations.

Central to these relationships is art direction — a key skill for designers and photographers alike. The ability to define a clear brief, agree concepts and approaches, and lean into a photographer's skill and expertise in pursuit of the perfect image, is invaluable to the creative process.

Being able to talk through your intentions with skilled photographers so all can deliver the kind of images that remain long in the mind is often the difference between good work and great work. Here at FortyTwo Studio, we are fortunate to work with a number of creative imagemakers, and not because we are fickle — we have a long list because these are people in demand!

In all seriousness, each shoot has a set of criteria that better suit certain photographers. Their approach, style and how they work in specific sectors all play a part in our decision-making as a studio.

The ability to define a clear brief, agree concepts and approaches, and lean into a photographer's skill and expertise in pursuit of the perfect image, is invaluable to the creative process.

The most vital aspect in art direction is that it is a conversation between all involved.

Lighting, composition, colour, depth, format, usage, dressing, style are all part of an open and equal discussion. The more you consider and direct the shoot, the less post-production is needed. Doing everything you can to get the shot on the day is always good time well spent.

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Behind the scenes with Snap.Studio at Duncan & Todd and Outlaw Rum


The projects and imagery in these mini case studies — some never really shared before — are from work done with a range of clients in recent years. They have all benefited from considered art direction and collaborations with great photographers, with incredible results.

Full credits are listed below the entries but our thanks go to Grant Anderson; Snap; Tom Joy; Jonathan Addie; Ray Smith; Steve Smith; Tamin Jones and many others.

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Crown Estate Scotland

Part of our ongoing work brand development work for the Glenlivet Estate, a series of portraits of the lifeblood of the region — the people, the work and the location. A work in progress, we hope to share more soon.

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Photography by Grant Anderson

Andersons of Inverurie

Art direction for a family-run furniture store — in business since the 1950s and still highly respected, attracting lifelong customers. Each campaign requires specific imagery that reflects the seasons, the core ranges and the current customer trends. Working directly on-site with a number of photographers, depending on the brief, ensures the images are varied but retain a vital level of consistency.


Photography by Ray Smith

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Photography by Tamin Jones


As part of a marketing drive to promote the 'Whisky Trail', we worked with Stagecoach on a campaign that celebrated the real working life of Speyside and encouraged travellers to explore what the area has to offer through this Trail route.

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Photography by Grant Anderson

Oat Co. Scotland

Developing the brand and website for Oat Co. Scotland — Scotland's first dedicated gluten-free oat mill — it was clear that we had to create a range of images that they could own and that would help tell their story.

Technology. Rural Diversification. Family. Hard Work.

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Photography by Jonathan Addie

Scotia Homes

Great photography that is enticing, memorable and stands out from the myriad similar 'Homebuilder' style images is always central to our creative process with Scotia Homes.

Details, light, space and always capturing for those nooks that make a house your home can be clearly seen here.

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Photography by Tamin Jones

Future Forestry

A little sneak peek into the work of Future Forestry — strong evocative images coupled with a bolder approach to messaging and layout is just the beginning of our work with this rural Aberdeenshire business. More coming very soon.

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Photography by Jonathan Addie

Duncan & Todd Group

A fashion-style shoot is often the hardest (and most fun) to be part of.

Working with the client and photographers to ensure the models, stylists and products on show all play their part in creating a beautiful image is the very definition of 'collaboration'.

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Photography by Tom Joy

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Photography by Steve Smith

Tell Your Story

Strong imagery can truly elevate your brand and provide you with an invaluable resource for the future. Consider how well an image can tell your story.

Investing in imagery — still or moving — that is tailored to you, designed to work for your visual brand and that brilliantly illustrates that which is distinctive about your product or service. This one of the best decisions you can make as a brand — new, established or otherwise.