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To view the entire course, upgrade to Premium or purchase it in the SLR Lounge Store.


Do You Really Know Your Photography Clients?

Paul Caponigro once said, “It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like; it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” Therein lies the challenge. How can we get to know our clients so that we can capture images that reflect who they are in a way they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives?

When prospective clients reach out to you and tell you they just got engaged and are looking for a wedding photographer, your knowledge of them is very limited. So far, all you know is that they are engaged to be married. Now, remember that your prospective bride and groom-to-be each has his/her own story and they’re so much more than just engaged. While trying to understand your clients’ vision, you can also get to know them more as individuals. Ask them questions about themselves.

Here’s a sample breakdown of what a client’s background might look like:

Him

  • Played football in college
  • Wanted to go pro, but got injured
  • Met a lot of girls, never interested
  • Met her at the school gym
  • She was the first girl to make him laugh
  • He loves her smile
  • He loves her intellect
  • His favorite feature are her eyes
  • He feels like she would be an amazing mom
  • He proposed during an adventure trip to Thailand
  • He bought the perfect ring by consulting her best friend

Her

  • Focused on school and her grades
  • Rarely dated, didn’t have time
  • Most guys seemed shallow to her
  • She religiously exercised, loves the outdoors
  • She loves his drive and motivation
  • He makes her a better person
  • He makes her laugh and stay light-hearted
  • She loves his athleticism and adventurous spirit
  • Her favorite feature is his smile and hands
  • She didn’t see it coming
  • The ring was incredible, it was exactly what she wanted

They dated for 5 years, but they just got engaged.

Again, they’re so much more than just engaged. When translating this information into a photo shoot, a photographer might shoot a lot of close-ups of them smiling and laughing because they love that about each other.

Here are some possible questions to ask to discover more about your clients:

  • Tell me the story of how you met
  • Tell me the story of who asked who out
  • Name your 3 favorite physical features on your partner
  • Name your 3 favorite non-physical features about your partner
  • Tell me the story of how you proposed
  • What would be your perfect date night
  • Describe your favorite activity to do with your partner
  • What would make your partner laugh
  • What is your favorite thing that your partner does to show you they care
  • Describe your most memorable moment with your partner

Before the wedding, ask these questions to get a better idea of the couple’s expectations for the wedding day:

  • What are you looking forward to most at the wedding?
  • (To him) Describe how she will look on the wedding day
  • (To her) Describe how he will look on the wedding day
  • Tell me about both of your families
  • Who do you envision helping you to get ready in the morning?
  • What is your favorite thing about your wedding venue?

Later, as the family expands, you can ask these questions for a family photo consultation:

  • Describe a day in the life of your family
  • When you get home from work, what are the kids usually doing?
  • What’s the funniest thing your kids typically do?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
  • (To him) Tell me something you appreciate about your wife
  • (To her) Tell me something you appreciate about your husband
  • What would your kids do if left unsupervised for 15 minutes?

Q&A Discussions

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Assignment entries for this chapter

S3 | Shooting Stories That Sell