How many of you out there are sending questionnaires to your clients before sessions?
If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to say that mindreading has never been your personal thing. One of the most difficult moments with clients happens when you don’t understand them. In such cases, we photographers ask ourselves, what are they thinking? Do they like my style? Is this my best work?
These types of insecurities arise for a simple reason. Apart from your professional relationship, you really don’t know your clients yet. What better way to get to know your new clients than giving them an opportunity to speak about themselves.
Breaking the ice isn’t exactly easy. Depending on your personality or, if you’re like me, how much coffee you’ve consumed at that point during the day, random small talk might not cut it. You need to ask questions that give opportunities for your clients to express their likes and dislikes. The trick is to be creative with your questions and let your clients do the sharing.
Start With a Better Look at Questionnaires
Distributing well-thought-out questionnaires is one of the most important things you can do before a session with your clients! Check this one out if you don’t believe us. There are more to come, and our clients are integrating these questionnaires into their automated workflows. You can too, but you have to understand how to format one.
This handy tool will not only save you time since you won’t be making a ton of phone calls to gather info, but it will also help you customize the client’s session and create a connection before ever meeting them.
I can’t tell you how much more prepared I feel by asking just a few simple questions to get to know my clients before the session.
Every session’s questionnaire is going to be different, so be sure to customize yours based on your needs. There are no hard and fast rules besides being creative and asking open-ended questions!
Here are 15 things that I like to ask of my family portrait clients, in addition to basic information (name, phone, preferred contact method) that you can use to build your own questionnaires. Try rehearsing these ideas and then revising each into your own words.
Questions About Your Clients:
- What do you do?
- How did you two meet?
- How long have you been together?
- What are the names and ages of your children?
- How would you describe each person’s personality?
- Do any of you have favorite hobbies?
- Can you describe your perfect weekend?
- What are some activities you like to do together as a family?
- What are your kids into right now?
Questions About the Session:
- Have you been photographed before? If so, when was the last time?
- Are there any past photos or sessions of ours that stand out to you?
- Do you have a specific location or type of location (urban, natural, etc.) you would like for your session?
- Are there any must-have photos you would like for me to capture during the session?
- How do you plan to display your photos (albums, digital files, canvases, etc.)?
- Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
This is just one of the ways a questionnaire can be written – and putting them together is quick and easy.
Writing Great Questionnaires Starts With Knowing Your Goals
With every questionnaire, you need to identify what your goal is. Are you gathering initial info about your client? Trying to tailor their session to them? Getting feedback after their session? Once you figure out your goal you’ll have a clearer idea of what questions to add or remove from your questionnaire template.
By creating your own questionnaires, you can easily gather info for every step of the client experience from start to finish.