Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photography Client
Your guide to hiring the client best suited to you
As wedding photographers, you’re the people who are going to capture the most important day in a couple’s life. Years later, the only memory from their wedding will be the pictures you take for them. You are going to be the one constant presence beside the couple during all the events. The photographer’s and the client’s relationship is a precious one. You are doing a job for them, but to do it well, you need to be their friend too. A mutual trust and liking between the two always result in a great wedding set.
So, as much as it is important for the couple to be comfortable with you, it’s equally necessary that you like and relate to the couple as well. In one of our previous posts, we listed out questions a bride should ask a wedding photographer before hiring them. In this post, we will focus on the questions a photographer should ask before finalising a client. These tips will help you decide if a client is a right fit for you and prepare for the wedding you’re planning to shoot if you sign them on.
#1 Have you seen our portfolio?
In order to figure out what the client’s expectations are, you should definitely ask if they had a look at your website portfolio or your images online. If they have contacted you after seeing your portfolio, it means they like your photography style and the kind of images you shoot and are a good fit for you. If they haven’t, ensure that they do. It’s important that your client understands your vision and you know what their expectations are.
This is also the time to discuss your approach to shooting a wedding and what a client wants as well. Would they like their personal space respected and want you to shoot quietly or are they comfortable with you getting in the middle of the action? Maybe they like some of the pictures from your work but would like something different from your style.
#2 How did you two meet? Tell us your story.
Any conversation with a couple should begin with you trying to know them. They’re not just strangers who are providing you with business. You are going to be spending a LOT of time with the couple during their wedding, so it’s important to get to know them as people. If they don’t feel comfortable with you or vice-versa, shooting the wedding will seem like a task that you have to get over with. A mutual comfort level brings out great pictures.
Ask about their background, where they grew up, what college they went to, how they met and fell in love, how and why they decided to get married, their likes and dislikes, etc. This getting-to-know conversation will give you an insight into their personalities, and their vibe and chemistry as a couple. It will also tell you what kind of pictures you need to be planning and preparing for. If they’re the shy kind you will have a different strategy than if the couple is adventurous, flirty or playful. And although this seems a bit pertinent for love marriages, you’d be surprised by how much insight you can gain into couples who met in an arranged set-up, just by asking the right questions.
#3 Tell us about your wedding – plans, venues and themes
Because of the unpredictability of Indian weddings, it’s a good idea to get as much information about the celebrations as possible. Ask the couple how many functions over how many days they are planning. You need to know the exact dates you should block for their wedding. Some venues have certain limitation or restrictions to photography and videography, and it’s important you prepare for it beforehand.
Knowing beforehand about the themes and decor of the wedding, the make-up artists they’re planning to hire and the kind of wedding trousseau the bride is planning will tell you a lot about the aesthetics of the wedding. If they have different tastes, you might be inclined to let them go for someone whose vision matches more with yours. Or if you’re up for the challenge of shooting a different wedding, go ahead! But no matter what you choose to do, an insight into their tastes will help you make the kind of images that will please your couple.
#4 What is the size and scale of your wedding?
The answer to this question will give you a good idea about the size of crew you will need to take to the wedding. If you’re an independent photographer you might have to hire second or freelance photographer/s. Even in case of a big photography company or studio with enough photographers, the size of the wedding will determine the number of people needed to cover the wedding.
The size of the wedding will also help you expect what kind of situation you might be shooting in and prepare for them. If it’s a small intimate family wedding, you know that you will need to take only a couple photographers and shoot subtly. Small family weddings are also about the people and capturing the little moments shared between them. For big weddings with over a thousand guests, not only will you need a larger crew for full coverage but it would also require you to document the grandness and the extravaganza of the celebrations. Weddings of celebrities and politicians, for example, might need you to cover the who’s who of their respective industries and capture the luxurious affair.
#5 Which wedding photos are most important to you?
It just so happens sometimes that wedding photography is not a couple’s priority. Sometimes it’s one of those things that they just have to tick off a check-list. So it’s important to know first if this is something that is important to them.
If it is a priority, then you definitely need to know what kind of photos are precious to them. Are they looking for great couple portraits, intimate and emotional moments, fun and candid moments or do they want you to extensively cover their family and friends? Their priority will tell you if they’re a good fit for you. If you specialise in dramatic couple portraits and they want a documentary-style coverage, then they’re probably not a good fit for you. In that case, it’s best for you to tell them and recommend somebody else that might suit their needs.
#6 What is your budget?
This is something you should actually get out of the way early on. You should know their expectations and limitations with the budget. Honestly, not a lot of people who look for wedding photographers really know how much it should or does cost. They just go in with whatever amount they think is right or want to spend. So if they’re low-on-budget in the photography department or they’re astonished by how expensive you are, definitely sit them down and explain to them the relationship between price and experience and brand value.
If photography is important to a couple (which you will have figured out if you asked them the above question), it just might be possible that they will be willing to stretch their budget a little. You can customise their package to suit their needs and requirements. But if they aren’t that bothered with photography and aren’t willing to go beyond their limits or are expecting you to deliver them quality pictures in a lesser price range, then you’ve to let them go. Learning which client not to hire is as important as figuring out which ones you should.
#7 Do you have any questions about the contract?
After you have discussed everything and clarified all details with the client, it’s important that you ask them if they would like anything explained again. It doesn’t matter if you have already discussed everything, you should ask again. Cover all the details like payment, albums, timelines and other deliverables. This is the time to make sure there is nothing left undiscussed.
Before you sign the contract with them, ask them if they are okay with all the clauses. And only after they’ve replied in the affirmative should you sign. A contract is important as it will prevent any future arguments or confusions. It also protects the interest of both the photographer and the client. So make sure you’ve given your couple all the information. And then some more.
#8 Where did you find us?
This will not help you hire the right client but it will give you an idea of where your leads are coming from – social media, Google searches or personal referrals from previous clients. To get the kind of client you want, you need to know which ones of your marketing strategies are working, so you can focus on them.
Every photographer has a different conversation with their clients in the initial stages, but we’re sure that they have a process to it. This is a basic guide to help you and the client make an informed decision. You can keep adding any number of questions you feel are important for your business. But make sure you do have a basic know-the-client conversation before making any decision. After all, an open line of communication is the key to a successful wedding assignment.
We hope this guide will help you find the right client. Any questions or confusions? Comment and we’d love to answer!