Before booking any client for a shoot, it’s important that both parties are the right fit for each other. Chemistry is important when clients are looking for a prospective photographer. And vice versa.
Your corporate portfolio is important for your prospective client to understand the work you do. But in order to create really successful images, there are a few things you should know about your client before agreeing to a shoot.
These questions not only ensure your clients are well prepared prior to their session but can serve as an inspiration for you and your photography. This will bring your creativity to life and ensure the clients get what they really want.
1. What is your budget?
While a sensitive question for some, it is an important question nonetheless.
After some casual conversation with your prospective client, getting down to business means knowing what their expectations are. Having a clear understanding of their budget will ensure you deliver on those expectations. It also gives you a framework to what is needed come the day.
This insight allows you to inform your client of what you can reasonably deliver. Knowing the budget, even one that’s severely limiting, allows you to educate your client on what is possible and what isn’t.
In today’s age of digital photography and smartphone photography “professionals”, communicating rates and budget ensures everyone’s expectations are managed.
2. What do you hope to get out of the experience?
If your prospective client has seen your photos, then this will be an easy question to answer. Most prospective clients will respond with an image in your portfolio that has struck a chord with them. Clients who are familiar with your style of photography and are happy with it encourages good chemistry between both parties.
This question also helps you understand the endgame of your client. Answering this question will tell you a lot about the right services your client will require. It will also inform you about client expectations such as time frame, image format delivery, must-have photography moments, and poses.
3. Who will be attending the session?
Understanding the desired experience is one thing. But it’s a whole different ballgame when it comes down to session attendees. It could be a family of four,or maybe it’s an engagement shoot, or even an expecting couple.
There are challenges to every shoot and knowing ahead of time who will be attending is paramount to creating an experience that’s pleasant for everyone involved. This will determine the potential locations or backdrops to prepare for. This also allows you to decide on what time of day is best to shoot your clients.
4. What is so special about this time in your life?
Photography is more than just capturing subjects in specific poses set against specific backdrops. It serves as a witness to important events in our lives. From birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and everything in between, photographs are passports to the special moments in our lives.
Knowing why this certain window of time is special to your client allows you to go the extra mile when delivering a memorable experience. The images you shoot during this special time in their lives will serve as a wondrous reminder when they peruse through them months and years after the shoot. Knowing why this is a crucial time for them allows you to produce a better end product.
5. What do you like about my images?
As a photographer, part of your job is interpreting what your client really wants. Asking this question before shooting ensures you understand why they choose you as a photographer against someone else. You need to know exactly why they chose you.
Perhaps it’s the lighting you used or the color scheme you chose. It could even be the perspectives that your shots were taken in or the concept and feel of your photography style. Asking this question allows you to get in the mind of your client. This ensures the end product perfectly interprets what they want out of the experience.
This is why it’s important to have a portfolio your prospective clients can pour over. Your clients can point out certain aspects of your images that they want to recreate in their experience.
6. How did you hear about us?
This question is usually answered through the inquiry email you’re sent from a potential client. But if it isn’t, it’s important to ask this question. You need to know how your clients find you.
Your business will only continue to thrive if new clients can successfully find your work and engage with your business. Knowing whether or not your marketing efforts are going to waste is important in determining how to spend your marketing budget. This question can also reveal additional sales opportunities you may not have considered.
Don’t be afraid to ask this question. Beyond its marketing benefits, this question frames how your business is being perceived by potential clients.
7. Why did you choose us?
Last, but certainly not least, ask “Why me?” It may be an awkward question to ask, but no consultation meeting should finish without first asking this question. To protect yourself and your business, you need to know why your potential client wants to take you on as their photographer.
Remember, potential clients are not your clients yet. Knowing how you appeal to prospective clients can become a gateway to convincing them to trust their special occasion in your lens-toting hands. While price can be a factor in determining the right type of photographer, the best type of photography experiences is born out of relationships.
As a photographer, these questions are the necessary due diligence that are crucial to ensure you’re the right fit for creating the type of experience your prospective clients wants. You want your clients to walk away satisfied. The only way to perform such a service is to discuss these questions. So ask away!
Linda Pasfield is best known for her skill to capture emotion on film and expression in an art form. Linda has had 20 years of experience photographing weddings, portraiture and documentary. She is an award winning photographer and Linda's career has taken her worldwide, photographing for Olim Aid International, Worship Centre and Cross Rds, and numerous other organisations. Photography is Linda's passion and "capturing the true feelings on the day, blending creativity and lighting in the right way is a joy."