Sending a questionnaire to your clients before a photo shoot is crazy valuable. You can get to know who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re looking for from you. You can plan a more meaningful session, jump start your comfort level with them, prepare for a great sale afterwards, and get a heads up on any potential problems. All of that, with only a few questions!
So, what’s the big secret about an effective client questionnaire? Is it choosing the perfect questions? Making it easy to fill out? Maybe the length is the most important thing? Or when you send it? Those things are all important, to be sure, but the secret is more simple than all of that. You just have to ask yourself one question…
*Why* are you sending them a questionnaire?
To make a great questionnaire, first you need to define your goals with it. Are you just trying to get to know them? Are you trying to get a feel for what they’d like with their photos? Maybe you want to get them thinking about the products they’d like to purchase? Or you’d like to understand why they’ve chosen you as their photographer?
Whatever your reasons, you need to have those figured out first, and then create the questions that will give you the answers you’re looking for! Quite simple, eh?
I’m going to share one of the questionnaires I send out to our clients when they book us to shoot their portraits. They get it right after they’ve booked so we can get the info as soon as possible. I thought about designing a pretty looking one, but opted to just send it to them as text in an email. Making it easy for them to fill out was a priority, so an email makes it super simple to do. You can also use Mach Forms, or Wufoo forms!
Our questionnaire is about getting to know who they are, their personalities, and how we can plan a session that will capture that. One of the most valuable things about this information is that you’re able to create a connection with them before you’ve even started shooting! You’ll probably fall in love with their awesomness, and can’t wait to meet them!
We also want to know what they most enjoy about our work, and how they’re planning to display the images afterwards. If they are really interested in an album, you’ll want to know that right away so you can be sure to shoot for it! If they’re all about wall prints, you’ll have to make sure to get some epic shots that will look great nice and big on the wall.
So, with all that said, here’s the big idea. Don’t just copy these questions willy-nilly! Use them as inspiration, but make sure to take the time to think of *why* you’re sending a questionnaire. You might want totally different information from your clients! The better your questions fit with your business, and your shooting style and session goals, the more meaningful they’ll be for you and your clients.
(This questionnaire is for a couple. We have slightly different versions for families, newborns, and individuals!)
What are your names?
Tell us about why you decided to have your portraits taken:
When was the last time you had your portraits taken?
What do you love most about your partner?
What do you want to remember about you two, right now?
Decribe your perfect Saturday together:
Tell us about yourselves. What are your hobbies? What is one fun fact about each person?
What do you like to do together? Places you like to go?
If you could pick one word that describes you as a couple, what would it be?
Send us your favourite photo of you two! We love to put faces to names right away.
Are there any shots, or sessions, that you’ve seen of ours that really stand out to you?
Are there any must-have photos?
Do you have a special location you’d like us to check out?
Are there any specific ways you’d like to display your photos? (albums, digital files, canvases, etc.)
Which areas of your home are you hoping to decorate with your images?
Is there anything else we should know?
Is there someone we can thank for referring you?
Do you have any other questions you ask your clients? Why? Share with us in the comments!