A client questionnaire is a valuable tool to not only establish a good client relationship, but lead a great photography session. It reminds people you are not just a person with a camera, you are a business, have goals, and care about their needs/wants. Using a client questionnaire has helped me to get to know my clients better, and to serve them to the best of my ability. The more we understand our clients, the better the experience we can give them. And using a client questionnaire helps me do just that. These are the questions I use on mine and why I include them.

Using a Client Questionnaire

Names of Family Members Attending the Session

This is an obvious one; but it also might clue you in if there are going to be extra people at the session, pets etc.

Child ages/birthdays

Valuable information for follow up marketing – birthday discounts or custom mini sessions.

Tell me about your family. Do you have any hobbies or interests that you would like to incorporate into the photos?

Some clients will tell you up front if they have an idea or theme in mind. This can also help you start a dialogue with your client and build a connection. Maybe you have some ideas that you would like to creatively explore around information they provide here.

Tell me about your children. Do they have any favorite toys or activities? Describe their personalities.

This is one of the most helpful question/answers. This is where you will find out if a child is shy, or that they might take longer to warm up to you. It’s also where you can find conversation starters or topics to engage children. Oh, the two-year-old loves Elmo, or the 7 year old is a huge football fan or player. Use this info to get genuine smiles and expressions later on. And of course, parents love to talk about their kids anyhow.

Describe the ideal mood for your photos…edgy, urban, day at the park, or something else.

I use this to find out if they already have a location in mind or to be able to show them or suggest locations based on their thoughts.

Do you have any specific expectations you’d like me to know about?

Here you will find out if they need that one photo of everyone in a special grouping doing a certain thing for grandma or what not. It’s something better to know in advance than trying to pull it together on location.

What is your highest priority of the session  – a perfect shot of the whole family? A sweet shot of just the kids? (Of course we will try to get it all, but if you had to choose the one SURE THING.)

This one is setting expectations; we might not get it all PERFECT, but then I know which “sure thing” to try the most times in multiple settings etc.

Do you tend to favor more traditional shots with everyone posed and looking at the camera, or more interactive images? (You will get a combination of both.)

This one is pretty self-explanatory. But it gives me a feel if I should bother to try some out of the box creative things or just keep it traditional. Or if they hate images that no one is looking at the camera then I just won’t waste the efforts.

Do you have in mind how you plan to showcase your images? Large wall hangings, canvases, wall groupings, albums, or smaller prints?

Knowing what your client plans to do with their photos when they get them is important. If I know a client is planning to do a huge wall grouping; I shoot with that in mind. I am sure to take enough variation of family couplings in the same backdrop to make a nice wall hanging group. If I know they want canvases I can remind myself to back up a bit, leave room in the frame for the edges to be made into the canvas without chopping critical parts of the image.

Are you interested in black and white images?

This can be a time saver; if they are not interested I am not going to go through the effort of editing any in that way.

I’d love to know how you heard about me and why you chose Lisa J Photography.

You can find out what friend is spreading the word or what marketing is bringing in new clients. This is very valuable business information.

These questions are a great blue print to help find out more about your clients and their photographic goals. And the great thing about using a client questionnaire is it can be easily adapted and customized to your unique business style. Good luck!