Are you really able to get to know your clients as photographers? Paul Japonica once stated, “It’s easy to take a picture of a person’s face; it’s quite another to create a portrait about who they are.” This is the challenge. How do we get to know our clients in order to capture images that are true to their personalities that they will cherish for the rest of their lives? This article will give you an organic way to get to know your clients. It also includes a list of questions for wedding photographers.
These are some questions that you might ask to learn more about your clients in your meetings. These questions might be asked during your initial meeting, or at another point in the planning process.
- Please tell me about how you met.
- Please tell me about the person who asked you out.
- Name 3 of your favorite physical characteristics on your partner
- Name 3 non-physical characteristics you love about your partner
- Please tell me about how you proposed to me
- What is your ideal date night?
- Please describe your favorite activity that you do with your partner
- What would make your partner smile?
- What’s your favorite thing your partner does to show that they care?
- Please share your most memorable moment with your partner
These questions will help you get to know the couple’s expectations before the big day.
- What are you most looking forward to at the wedding?
- (To him) Tell him how she will look at the wedding.
- (To her) Please describe how he will appear on the wedding day
- Please tell me about your families
- Who would you like to help you get up in the morning?
- Which is your favorite part about your wedding venue?
Prospective clients may reach out to your office and inform you that they are engaged and looking for a wedding photographer. Your knowledge of them is limited. You know very little about them beyond the fact that they are getting married. Remember that each prospective bride-to-be has a story, and they are more than just engaged. You can get to know your clients better by understanding their vision.
Ask them questions about their background. Here is a sample of the background of a potential client:
- In college, played football
- I wanted to be a professional, but was injured.
- I met a lot of girls but was never interested in them.
- She was at the school gym when I met her.
- He was the first to laugh at her.
- He loves her smile
- He loves her intellect
- Her eyes are his favorite feature.
- He thinks she would make an incredible mother.
- During an adventure trip to Thailand, he proposed.
- By consulting his best friend, he found the perfect ring.
- Concentrated on her school and her grades
- Rarely dated, didn’t have the time
- To her, most men seemed to be shallow
- She is a religious runner and loves the outdoors.
- He is a great motivator and she loves him.
- He makes her a better person
- He makes her laugh, and keeps her light-heated.
- She is a big fan of his athleticism, and adventurous spirit.
- His smile and his hands are her favorite features.
- It was something she didn’t expect.
- It was beautiful, exactly what she desired.
They were together for five years but just got engaged.
They are so much more than simply engaged. A photographer might take many close-up photos of their smiling faces and laughter when translating that information into a photo shoot. Your photography will be more personal and memorable if you get to know your clients.
Bonus 1 – The WAVE exercise
We recommend asking sincere questions and also following the W.A.V.E. We outline the W.A.V.E. (Wall Art Vision exercise) process in our Premium S3 Workshop. You can find a free training course on this process. This process involves asking a series questions to uncover the client’s true needs and desires for their wedding day. For more information, make sure you sign up for the training.
Bonus: 10 Questions about Wedding Photography for Clients by Hanssie
Here are the top 10 questions from the questionnaire to help you create your own. Communication is key to making everything run smoothly. The more you can communicate with your clients the better you will be able to serve them. These are ten things that you need to know before you shoot any wedding.
1. Family Details & Dynamics
It’s likely that your clients will have step-parents and step-siblings. This will also mean estranged family members. I ask my clients to fill out a questionnaire that includes a page listing their immediate family members. I also ask them questions about family issues, such as whether they would prefer not have portraits taken together. Instead of making assumptions about everyone getting along and being one happy family, I prefer to be able to walk in and see what is happening.
This is also how I make my wedding photography timeline. It lists specific names and places for each person.
2. Names of everyone at the Wedding Party
As I get older, my memory has deteriorated. I have lost the ability to recall names in particular. When I meet people I don’t know their names. However, if I have a list that includes all of the wedding party members, it can help me remember. At the very least, I will remember the names of the Best Men and Maids of Honor, and the names of as many bridesmaids or groomsmen as possible. Plus, I will have already seen some names, which should help me remember them.
3. Phone numbers of day-of-contact people
Who are your main contacts on the day of the ceremony, besides the wedding planner (if they have one)? It’s usually the Maid Of Honor, Best Man, or the mother of the bride. The groom and bride may not have their phones with them all day. In these cases, it may be necessary to call someone else than the planner. These numbers are important as you never know when you will need them.
4. A list of all the vendors
I request a list from the florist, DJ, and person who designed the invitations on the last page. I will send an email to the people I will be working with and include the timeline for wedding photography. It is always nice to work alongside friendly vendors. I find that a brief introduction makes it easier to build a good working relationship for the wedding day.
This allows me to easily send photos after the wedding, and I have a list that I can refer back to in the future.
5. Photography Expectations
Bridegroom asked 50 wedding couples to tell them what they would have liked their photographers to do better. In addition to communication, many brides stated that they wish their photographers had taken more specific photos of this or that or of that group of people, or of those floral arrangements. Some said that they wish the photographer had taken more photos of the reception, more romantics, more family shots, etc.
We photographers are not mind-readers, nor are you clients. Talk to them! Ask them what they want. Pye stated that all his clients create mood boards in his studio. A mood board is an excellent way to help your client visualize the MOOD they want. It’s not usually a shot list, but your client is showing you some of their favorite things. They don’t expect you to recreate every single photo, but most of them won’t.
Don’t be afraid to ask your client for a shot list. You should read it carefully and do your best to please the client. My questionnaire asks my clients to give me a few words about themselves. I also ask them to list the feelings they desire for their wedding. I thank my clients for sending me a shot list and promise to try my best in getting as many images as possible within the given time frame. Then, I try to match my style with theirs as best I can.
Talk to your client about their expectations and the images they would like.
6. Their Story
Every couple has their love story. I’ve never met a couple that didn’t want me to tell how they met, fell in love, and how he proposed. It is a way to connect with them and for them to be more than clients. Get to know them, their personalities, and how they live. Maybe they’ll remember you when they get married.
You can personalize your blog post by knowing the couple’s story. This makes the feature more engaging for blog visitors as well as meaningful to the couple.
7. List of people to be photographed
The best friend’s sister; her best friend’s grandmother; college roommates who put them up on blind dates…these are people you should be aware of, but they are not obvious to your eyes.
The bride might forget to take a photo with her sorority sisters during the wedding day’s hustle and bustle. I ask them to fill out a questionnaire asking for their list of VIPs. Once I have the list, I put it on my timeline and keep it with me for the day. I have been known to find the bride at the end of the night, and remind her that she would like a photo with her third cousin’s family. She was so happy that I remembered to take a photo of her and her third cousin’s family.
8. Restrictions on Venue
Every venue is unique and may have different restrictions. Some places restrict how close you can get to the stage, others allow flash photography. The person responsible for the venue will usually inform you when you arrive at the venue, but I prefer to be informed beforehand.
which a wedding planner suggested that grooms and brides could save money by not having to feed their photographer. No matter which side you are on, it is important to communicate your expectations with your clients about food.
If the wedding lasts more than a few hours, I offer my clients the choice of either feeding them or giving us a break so we can eat together.
10. Other Expectations
Ask your clients what they have to say. Let it be open-ended and open to their wishes and expectations. Happy clients are made possible by open communication and plenty of time before the wedding.