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The 5 Questions to Ask Your Client Before a Brand Photoshoot

5 Questions to Ask your Client
Photo by Kassady Gibson, Focus Creative Group LLC

Are you a mindreader? No? Your job as a brand photographer would be so much easier if you were. Sometimes clients have no idea how to express what they want to convey. 

And that’s okay. In fact, that’s exactly the reason they hired you! You are the visual expert. 

The only bump is that you have to figure out what’s in their head — even when they don’t know how to explain it. 

5 Questions to Ask Your Brand Photography Client

You’re excited about landing a brand photoshoot, but what do you do now? Ask these questions to make sure you understand your client and their needs for this project.

Photography and Video setup in Kitchen
Photo by Kassady Gibson, Focus Creative Group LLC

1. How will you use the images?

For marketing, of course! That’s the whole point of brand photography, right?

But it makes a difference exactly how the client plans on using their branding images. 

For example, Amazon has specific instructions on the types of product photos that can be used for products on their site. Furthermore, raw, behind-the-scenes images work well on social media but the evergreen images for a website should be a little more polished. 

Places clients might be planning to use their branding images include:

  • LinkedIn profile pictures
  • Printed brochures
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Business cards

Ask your clients to be specific about their needs. Something like “social media use” is too broad because you need to take into account specifics about the platform such as the aspect ratio. For example, square images that work great on Instagram don’t stand out well on Pinterest where tall, skinny images are preferred. 

2. What are the 5 images you HAVE to have from this photoshoot?

During the planning process, you’ll be discussing various ideas and you’ll put together a shot list. It’s not uncommon that due to time restrictions on the day of the photoshoot, some of the ideas you talked about don’t get photographed. 

What happens if one of those missed images was super important for the client?

If you ask which ones are the priority, you can shoot those images first to make sure they happen. Plus, the answer to this question tells you what is truly important to your client. This gives you valuable information to incorporate into all of the images. 

3. Who is your ideal audience & what do they love?

Knowing the audience is key with branding images. You want to create stunning images that will get people to stop the mindless scroll. However, there is no one image that will appeal to everyone. 

For example, an amazing image that has to do with children probably won’t interest young singles. But parents and grandparents may be intrigued enough to stop and take a look. If that’s the audience you’re trying to attract, you’re on the right track.

You have to know the audience, then add elements to your images that will appeal to that type of people. 

4. What is the main message you want to communicate with these images?

This is the core of the marketing campaign. What does your client want to convey to their audience with these images? 

Obviously, they’ll want to convey basic information such as whether they are offering a service or a product and the type of people they can help. 

However, there are other messages that clients may want to communicate as well. For example, the emotion of their images — mysterious, fun, nostalgic, etc. Or their brand personality — professional, quirky, knowledgeable, etc. 

This line of thinking/questioning is super helpful to figure out the true focus of the photoshoot — even when the client isn’t sure.

5. What are some websites / Instagram accounts you love?

Clients can’t always express in words exactly what style they’re looking for. However, they can give you examples that will provide you with a solid starting point. 

Ask your clients for a list of websites, Instagram or Facebook accounts, or whatever platform you’ll be creating images for. These examples should focus on the style your client wants to create for their brand. Make it clear that these should be examples for their business and not just accounts they personally like. 

Keep digging & ask why

Sometimes clients won’t give you a very robust answer. In that case, you need to dig deeper. Ask your clients why they like a certain photo. 

For example, imagine a customer shows you an image with a cat in it. You might assume this means they want to have a cat in their images. However, they don’t want cats at all, they gave you this image as an example of the style they’re looking for. 

You already know there are many elements that go into creating a photo. If you take the wrong elements from the example images, you could head down an entirely different path from what the customer wants. Asking thorough questions helps avoid this issue. 

Even when you feel like you get a good answer, it doesn’t hurt to ask further questions. Misunderstandings happen easily when people make assumptions. 

Camera Photographing items on table
Photo by Kassady Gibson, Focus Creative Group LLC

Pro Tip: Create a Shot List

What’s the best way to be organized on the day of the shoot? Take all the information you get from the questions you’ve asked and compile a shot list. 

Ideally, this detailed list will outline all of the images you plan to shoot. A few more might come up once you get in the thick of things and you can deviate as needed. However, whether you work in food photography or fashion photography, a list will make sure you stay organized and get all the important shots.  

Go over this list with your client. It’s a great way to make sure that the two of you are on the same page before the shoot begins. It is so much easier to make adjustments before you start shooting. 

On the day of the photoshoot, big changes are hard to make. After you’ve created the images, it’s even worse. Trust me when I say it is so much better to iron out the wrinkles ahead of time!

Want to learn how to create a 6-figure photography business while working the hours you want to work?

Personal brand photography is an exciting area to work in. I can tell you from personal experience that it is a space where you can create a 6-figure photography business and work the hours you want to work. 

Once you build a book of recurring clients, you can earn a comfortable living doing what you love with time to spare for the more important things in life. 

Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight! Curious what you’ll need to know to build your photography business? Check out my free masterclass to learn how to find recurring clients so you won’t have to start over each month. 

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