There are three questions that I ask each new potential client, and those answers will determine the entire creative direction of the project.
Together, the three simple questions find the intention of the project. Capturing great photographs and a solid portfolio is the first step in getting hired for a job. Yes, they want to know you are technically and artistically capable, but can you walk the client through unfamiliar territory with confidence?
Whether this is their first project or the 20th project, your leadership skills are what get you hired time after time. How you guide them through obstacles is how they will remember the transaction. That is why I ask three questions that get me to the answer each time.
Start With Intentions
Their intentions lead to your goals. Your goals lead to the team's direction. The team's direction lead to a win for everyone.
You cannot have a win without a solid creative direction. How the photographer gets the direction depends on the goals of the project. The goals are determined by the intent of the client.
Questions to Determine the Intention
Question 1: What is your goal?
Question 2: What do you want the viewer to feel once they see the photograph?
Question 3: What do you want the viewer to remember after they see the photograph?
This is the winning formula! Once again, start by asking the client their intentions. Why did they call you? What are they hoping to get after they hired you? These are their true intentions, and when I ask my clients, it's not something initially clear to them. By gathering their intentions, you are also managing their expectations.
The majority of photographers do not do this. They often give the client what they want the client to have, and we must listen more. Listen 80 percent and speak 20 percent.