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Top photography questionnaire tips

Craft a powerful photography questionnaire that gets your clients every time

Tue 20 Feb 2024
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A good photograph goes way beyond perfect lighting, good outfits, and big smiles. A good photograph tells a story. For a photographer, this means creating memories – not just capturing them. You’ll want to connect with your clients and go above and beyond to ensure your subjects are comfortable and having a good time. Because of this, the key to a good photograph comes in way before you actually pick up your camera. And that’s where the unsung hero comes in: the client questionnaire.

While it might seem like just another step in the client communication process, a well-crafted questionnaire can be the special sauce that transforms your sessions from routine to radical. Beyond simply gathering essential information before the session, photography questionnaires help you structure your shoot so it flows, curate the right poses and prompts to suit your client’s personality and forge a deep and authentic relationship with each and every person in front of your lens. When written well and asked correctly, the questions you include in your questionnaire will reveal your client’s desires, dislikes, and dreams. With this insight, you’ll be able to create a shoot experience to suit their needs to a T – and leave them raving about you long after the session ends.

So – want to unlock the magic of a masterfully written questionnaire that has your clients coming back for more? Let’s get into it.

Download a free pre-written questionnaire for your next session via the Unscripted App!

Help your clients figure out what they want

If it’s your client’s first-ever photoshoot, chances are they don’t quite know what to expect. As their photographer, it’s your job to help them get to the bottom of what they want most. Instead of taking all of your clients through the same flow of poses and prompts, customize their shoot experience so it best tells their unique story. Ask them questions that go deep, like “What feeling do you hope to capture in these photos?” or “What’s the story you want these images to tell?” Understanding their vision helps you plan the prompts, outfits, and location for their photoshoot so you can capture the moments that matter most to them.

Use your questions to build trust

Most of us feel pretty nervous when we’ve got a camera in our faces! But one of the best things you can do to calm your clients’ worries is to get them to say their fears out loud (or write them down!). It might sound a little counter-intuitive, so bear with us here, but we swear that getting your clients to acknowledge their fears will make them feel less overwhelming. Ask questions like “What concerns do you have about the photoshoot?” or “What aspects of being photographed make you nervous?” As the photographer, once you know the answers to these questions, you then have the wonderful opportunity to earn their trust by showing them that you’re there to make them feel comfortable – even if that means making a fool of yourself just to make them laugh.

Give your clients the power to choose

Running your own photography business often means making many decisions on your own – one outcome is that many photographers suffer from decision fatigue and start feeling creatively burned out! So why not get your clients involved in the creative process? Not only does it make your clients feel more important and more invested, but it also helps you tailor the experience to their preferences – all while cutting out some of the pre-production work you’d have to do on your own. Craft questions like “Do you have any poses you’d love to try during our session?” or “Can you show me the work of some of your favorite photographers?” Opening up this conversation helps you understand their vision and gives everyone a chance to get excited about the collaborative process.

Treat your clients like new friends

As a photographer, you’re being hired to capture more than just pretty pictures. You’re being enlisted to capture beautiful, raw, and genuine moments that your clients will be able to look back on for years to come. This requires you to actually get to know your clients on a personal level. This involves building trust. Ask them questions that show them you genuinely care and are genuinely interested in their lives. This can be anything from “What do you love to do on the weekends?” to “Tell me about your fondest childhood memory.” The more sincere, the better. And don’t be afraid to share a thing or two about yourself, either. It goes both ways.

Incorporate client questionnaires into your workflow

Show your clients you’re organized and that you value their input. To ensure you get the most out of every questionnaire you receive from your clients, have all the necessary information in an easy-to-access place so it’s in your pocket and ready to review ahead of your session. The handiest way to do this is to send your questionnaires through the Unscripted App for Photographers. Choose from a range of templates for every shoot, customize it to reflect your authentic brand voice, and then simply send it via email, the app, or the client portal. You’ll receive a notification and an email with a PDF attached as soon as your client completes the questionnaire. No more awkward phone calls, long email chains, or getting ghosted. Sit back knowing everyone’s on the same page, and you’ve got everything you need to make your clients feel at ease during their session.

Photography questionnaires are an essential first step to capturing moments that matter. Once you’ve asked the important questions, it’s just as important to actively listen to your client’s answers, ask follow-up questions while on the shoot, and let the conversation flow. You’re a photographer, but you’re also so much more: you’re the person they’re trusting to capture this moment in their lives, and it’s such an honor to be chosen to do that job. You have the power to tell stories that will resonate for generations to come.

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Why should photographers use a photography client questionnaire?

Photography questionnaires help you get to know your client better before their session. They break the ice and help you build rapport, communicate expectations, and begin to understand who your clients are and how they might want to approach their upcoming shoot.

What are some essential questions to include in my photography client questionnaire?

Most questions in your questionnaire should be tailored to suit each session. But no matter what you’re shooting, you’ll want to ask questions that give you information about your client and their family, their vision and expectations, their personality and preferences, and provide them with an opportunity to voice any concerns.

Where can I find free photography client questionnaire templates?

The Unscripted App for Photographers has a variety of pre-written questionnaires tailored to a wide range of shoot types and photography styles.