Important Questions to Ask Photography Clients

Free Questionnaire Example Templates, 4 Types of Shoots

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For many photographers, it is professional pride to not just meet the expectations of their clients, but exceed them. By asking pertinent questions, it gives you the best chance of surpassing their expectations.

That’s why we recommend before giving them a budget estimate or certainly before the photo session ask your clients, the job requirements, their expectations and what deliverables will see them satisfied.

There are a lot of basic questions and also specific questions that this article helps you get right.

This article cover the questions for; Personal Branding for Business, Commercial Shoots, Product Photography and Event Photography. For questions to ask the photographer instead, see here.

Asking pertinent questions gives you an indication of the scope of your work, and how best to go about it. It also helps you identify and avoid potential red flags while establishing you as an expert in the mind of your clients. Show you care about your prospects by sending them the appropriate questionnaire first.

In which format should the questionnaire be in?

Questionnaires can be in any of these suggested formats. One simple format is to use them in an email directly to the client. Or you can create a list of questions via your website, either on a main public page or by private page and share via a link. Automating this process is best if you can set it up.

Editable PDFs are also an option that they can add answers to it. Print and mail is not recommended these days unless you’re having multiple in person pre session meetings with high spend clients. With choice comes complexity so we say keep it simple

Use the questions listed below that are specific to your needs. You need to ask the very basic questions first, then add the ones that make sense to your way of working.

It starts with the simple; Who, what, when and where.

Then there are questions that are more specific to each genre, they are important to give you the answers you will need to meet their expectations.

What is the difference between a client questionnaire and a photographer brief?

The difference between a client questionnaire and a photographer brief is that the questionnaire is either pre giving a price or before the actual Photo shoot.

A photographer brief, either for a commercial shoot or an event that is helpful before giving them your commercial pricing but in many cases it isn’t fully fleshed out until there’s more communications between photographer and the clients expectations. That is where the questionnaire plays a vital role in aligning the photographers skills and equipment and the deliverables as jointly defined.

How can I create a questionnaire?

You can create questionnaires on your website or on a 3rd party site such as these options. Other questionnaire format option are form builders such as;

  • Typeform
  • SurveySparrow
  • Wufoo
  • Jotform
  • Formstack
  • GetFeedback
  • Engageform
  • SurveyMonkey

Some of these are paid, others may have a free version you can use.

No information from prospects or clients will ultimately lead to a lot of guesswork and that’s just not how professional photographers should work.

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Questionnaire Example Questions; Personal Branding for Business

Select which attributes suit your style of the ideal photography client. Some on this list are more suited to the individual only, while others relate to the person and how they are connected to the business. Most of the time it’s for the startup founder or the executive manager in charge.

Basic Client Details:

  • Clients Name
  • Name of Business
  • Clients Email Address
  • Clients Contact Number
  • Address
  • Business website
  • Business Facebook
  • Business Instagram account name
  • Do you have a Company mission statement?
  • Do you have a photography budget?
  • What is your Brand’s colour scheme?
  • What type of products or services do you provide?
  • Who are your ideal clients and customers?
  • Please describe your brand
  • What direction is your business heading in?

What type of mood or feel do you want the photos to portray;

  • Fun
  • Moody
  • Drama
  • Colourful
  • Warm
  • Cold hues
  • Monochromatic
  • Old world charm
  • Futuristic
  • Serious
  • Professional
  • Glamor
  • Elegant
  • Natural
  • Playful
  • Alternative
  • Creative
  • Relaxed

Ideas for for creating scenes for the shoot;

Where are the photos going to be used?

  • Social media
  • Website
  • PPC Ads
  • Print press
  • 3rd Party sites
  • In house marketing
  • Other collateral

What type of location would you like as the backdrop for your portraits?

  • Indoor
  • Outdoor
  • Cityscape
  • Natural backgrounds
  • Home, kitchen, lounge or yard
  • In Studio
  • At place of business

Commercial Photography Shoot Questions to Ask

Commercial shoots can get quite complex so this list below has been kept very simple. Feel free to use the extra appropriate questions from the other lists.

Contact details;

  • Name
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone
  • Website

Overview of the commercial needs of the campaign. What outcome are you looking for in a high level sense.

Share an outline of your business and the goods or services you provide.
For Advertising and Editorial photos which are you interested in?

  • Team headshots
  • Services photos for your website
  • Photos of your products on plain background
  • Lifestyle advertising photos of products being used

Where are we taking the photos?

  • In a studio
  • Outdoors
  • On-location at the office or showroom
  • On-location at a hired location
  • Single or at multiple locations

Approximate budget to work with

  • $1100 – $2200
  • $2200 – $5000
  • $5,000 – $10,000
  • $10,000+

When are you looking at launching this commercial campaign?

Simple Free Product Photography Questionnaire

Basic contact details

  • Name
  • Name
  • Phone
  • E-mail
  • Address

Where are the product images going to be used?

  • Editorial such as Blogs, newspapers, magazines and other publications
  • Commercial marketing or advertising including Social media
  • Retail Stores, POS, merchandise such as products to be sold.
  • Prints, posters, and products that feature the photos
  • Personal prints, calendars and photo albums
  • Third party sites such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy

Which internal or any external parties will be accessing these images?

  • Print Company
  • Designer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Marketing Manager
How are the products going to be set up
  • Close-ups details only
  • Focus on the products or the benefits
  • Products a natural environment
  • Products with models
  • Products no models
  • Or not sure and need some inspiration
  • Estimated budget for the shoot
  • How many items would you like photographed
  • How would you like your final images to look
  • Bright and clinical or dark & moody
  • Do you have a style guide

How many photos per product

  • 1 – 2 image files per product
  • 3 – 5 image files per product
  • 5 or more files per product

How would you like the orientation of your final images delivered?

  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Square

Have you developed a mood board for this shoot?
When do you need the files delivered?

Read More

Pre Event Photography Questionnaire List

Basic Details;

Questions About the deliverables

  • Duration of photographic coverage
  • Any expected number of photos
  • Would you like specific people captured
  • Shot lists if any
  • Must get photos list

Event program includes eg:

  • guests arriving
  • Speeches
  • Awards
  • Sponsors tables
  • Networking
  • Any photography restrictions by the venue
  • Any specific image delivery requirements
  • PR deadlines if any

No matter what type of business, we’ve got you covered.

Photography for small to medium businesses and discerning individuals.

Free 15min Phone Consult

By Asking Questions it Will Help Define the Expectations Early in the process

These questions help establish the groundwork for all photography sessions. Sometimes, clients do not have very clearly defined expectations when it comes to style or aesthetics and they rely on the photographer for creative direction. Asking these questions will help bring out the details and lead both parties to a suitable agreement.

You can start by asking why they’re having their photos taken, and what their priorities for the session are. Next, find out what photo style appeals to them most, whether vintage, black and white, faded, or warm or cold hues. If they’re still unsure, you can use the elimination method by asking them what type of photo they consider absolute must-haves and work down the list from there.

For clients who are happy to leave all the decisions about creative direction to you, you can further narrow down the list of possibilities by finding out where they plan to display the images, or what part of their house the images would grace. You can also ask them to make a list of group photos they would like to take.

The next questions to ask will pertain to the composition of the photos. Don’t forget to ask such questions as:

  • Who will be participating in the session? If there are young people, ask about their ages
  • What about any type of special prop? Will there be provisions for them during the session?
  • Do you have any specific location in mind for the photography session?
  • Do you have special outfits picked out for the session? If yes, how many?
  • What kind of finished product would they prefer? Canvas, prints, or metals?

Questions Pertaining to Budget

Yes, money isn’t everything. That’s why we didn’t lead with that question and we don’t encourage you to, either. But, at some point, the conversation has to veer towards that direction. “What’s your budget” is an important question that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

It’s an unfortunate fact that some clients do not believe that photographers do not work hard enough to earn the big bucks. Some clients also seem to think that they’re doing you a favour by displaying your work.

Asking about budget early into the session makes it possible to end conversations with such clients early, before too much time has been used up.

As soon as a fee is agreed, the next step is to decide on payment terms. If you require booking deposits, this would be a great time to let your clients know.

Questions About Licensing

Professionals will never giveaway the copyright to their work, license it to your clients for a set time, after which they would need to renew it for continued usage of the photos. So, you’d need to ask the client how long they want usage rights for the photos for.

Also, it’s smart to find out in advance if they have a set of terms you’d need to sign, and if they’re happy agreeing with yours. Better not to leave anything open to misrepresentation.

Questions about Further Relationships

If you’re looking to retain relationships with your clients, you should consider adding a few questions about connection to your questionnaire.

You can request to know how they heard about your photography studio, why they chose you as their photographer, and if they got to know you through a referral.

Finally, you may request permission to add them to your mailing list to receive original, engaging content, product updates, and occasional freebies.

Final Words

Asking the right questions is the first step towards providing an excellent experience for your clients. Not only that, it positions you as a capable and dependable expert in the minds of your clients and helps them feel like you actually care about delivering the best service for them.

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