10 questions I will ask

I realise was that I must ask the right questions from the start and originally I was continually interpreting what the client was SAYING to me instead of what they really wanted. This happens all the time and it is OUR job not the clients to interpret what they want. For that reason I have created a list of questions that I ask my clients that make everybody sit calm and understand each other. No more headaches and confusion trying to guess

what the client really wants. Ok here are the questions…

What is the emotion, feeling or vibe you want to portray in these
images? Is it fun, playful, mysterious, cute, serious etc…?

     -This is probably the most important question I will ask.
Sometimes clients have given me a visual of what they want and then the
emotion behind it and they conflict. It is your job to take the emotion
and interpret it. 

2. What is the main purpose for choosing me as a photographer? What do you like about my images?

     -I  need to know why they chose me. Is it because of my lighting? the feel of the images, the models I use, my photoshop
work, concepts, colours, energy? I ask this so that I know what to
focus on while creating an image for them. Maybe they just picked me
because they like the bright colour I use. What if I create a
dark image for them? It’s all about getting into the mind of the client
and making sure they are completely happy with the end result.

3. What do you want to stay away from? Are there any cliches in your industry or things you are sick of seeing?

     -In most cases I am not going to be super familiar with the
industry that I am shooting for. Once I shot a campaign using only white
males in the image without thinking. After the image was created the
company asked why I didn’t add in a more diverse group of people. Where
are all the women, africans, muslims, asians etc… oops. I was so
involved in the concept that I wasn’t paying attention. I could have
resolved that by just asking the right questions at the beginning.
Luckily I had shot a diverse group so I just replaced some of the

4. What is your current demographic? What type of demographic are you trying to attract?

     -Maybe they have been attracting a 50+ demographic for the past
100 years and now are trying to get to millennials. Did you know that
before you started shooting?? 

5. What do you like about the reference images you sent me?

     -Once again it’s about interpreting what they ACTUALLY mean. Let’s
say they send a reference image of a girl dressed in red with red
lipstick, snow in the background and a horse by her side. Before I get on a phone call
with the client to ask all the questions I do some concepting
on my own. I assumed the client wanted an animal in the image because
the horse was so prevalent in the one they sent. I concepted 5 or so
images with animals in them. When I got on the call with the client the
first question I asked was “I assumed you wanted an animal in the image.
Is that correct?” I was talking to the management team and they
said…”NO…our artist hates animals in pictures! Don’t put any animals
in there anywhere.”

wow. Did the client send the reference shot because they liked
the red dress, red lipstick, background, snow or horse? That’s why I
need to ask.

6. What are the things you HAVE to have in the images?

       -This goes along with the last question (#5)

7. How much TOTAL time will the client have for makeup, hair and photo shoot?

     -I don’t assume. I was shooting a high end client in London and hadn’t asked how much time they had. I knew it was short but
when he arrived him and his team seemed to be in a mad rush and I had
only 14 minutes to shoot. 

8. How many people will be on set from your team?

       -Just so I’m prepared when they bring 30 people. 

9.How many images do you need? Can you explain each image that you want?

     -Another important one which might sound obvious but I somehow
have skipped this in the past. The client thought I could pop
out 10 composites in a few hours and me assuming they knew how hard
compositing was thought they meant two. Also by getting specific about
each image it will set good expectations for final delivery. I bring
this up multiple times in emails, estimates, contracts and invoices.  

10. When is the soft deadline and when is the hard deadline?

       -They always tell you the soft deadline and make it sound like the hard deadline. I need the actual dates.

Its important that we get all of this sorted out early, it will save so much heartache later.

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