Asking The Right Questions
Asking the right questions, okay. You receive an email from a prospective client. You know this sort of thing. "We came across your Instagram account. "We love your work. "Would you be interested in collaborating with us?" How do you move on from there? What questions do you ask to move that email into a proper shoot? Always respond positively. "Thanks for your email. "Love to hear more. "Really excited about the prospect of working with you." Then you need to ask them questions. Drill down on their expectations. So I have a set number of bullet points that I'll bounce back to them. So I'm like, "Thanks very much. "Do you have a project brief you can share?" Sometimes prospective clients already have a brief sorted, so you can cut out a lot of work by asking for that. If not, I ask them to fill out a number of bullet points as best they can so I can get more of an idea of their project and their requirements. Number one, I ask for creative specifications that might be mood boards. Any ...
example imagery that they can give me so I can get on the same page as them. Particular subjects, what am I shooting? Is it a product? Is it a location? I may have addressed this in the opening line, but I still like to put this first one in there so we have it written in writing. Number two, shoot dates and the timeline for deliverables. Really, really key because if this campaign needs to be delivered in the fall, I can use fall colors. The trees are gonna look amazing. If it's gonna be delivered in mid-winter and it's a a beach shoot, (laughs) that's gonna be tricky. I'm gonna have to fly to a different location to get those sunny scenes. I can't shoot that in my backyard in Wales, very gray in the middle of the winter. Number three, desired regions and locations. They may already have some thoughts on this in mind. It's good to get them thinking about it, and manage expectations from the off. Number four, ask for a shot list, or at least a number of deliverables. I need to know what they want from me from the outset. Number five, any social media asks. This will have ramifications on cost, but it will also have ramifications on how I approach the job. If I'm putting images on my Instagram account I need to create imagery that's gonna sit well with the rest of my content. I'm not gonna put anything on my Instagram account because I'm aware you guys all follow me for a reason. I'm not gonna just advertise stuff to you because I'm getting paid loads of money. It needs to sit right for us all, right? So number six, I'll ask for the full usage terms and also usage period. So this is how are the images gonna be used? Are they gonna be used on a billboard campaign? Are they gonna be used on a client's social media account? Are they gonna be used on TV ads? All of these questions will help me start to price the job. Because if it's gonna go on a billboard, it's gonna be ca-ching! (laughs) It's gonna be a little, small magazine advert, it's gonna be a bit lower down. But all of this will help me start to produce the shoot and work out how much everything's gonna cost. You should also ask about use of likeness in this question, because increasingly I'm being asked to feature in BTS videos or even campaigns where I'm actually shooting campaign for a brand, and they're using my profile to advertise their product. That has a value. Don't let that slide. Also worth raising any competitor brands or exclusivity terms. And what I mean by that is if a car company approaches you to shoot a campaign, they may have a line in their contract that says you can't work for any other car brand for a set period of time after you deliver those shots. that's really, really key, because if the campaign isn't worth much money and you agree to it, but then a Lamborghini campaign comes up and that's worth a huge amount of money and you can't take it because you are signed into some exclusivity deal, you're gonna kick yourself. Check the small print. Finally, I ask for budget parameters. It's really good to have some sort of ballpark figure. It's a bit like going to a builder and asking how much it costs to build a house. What do they want, you know? The builder's gonna say, "What do you want? "Do you want lots of glass? "Do you want it built out of straw?" (laughs) All these questions are exactly the same as asking a client what they want from their shoot. So by receiving answers to all these questions, you can start building out that project brief for your client. You can start doing their legwork for them. They'll take you more seriously. And hopefully this is gonna transition into a commissioned job. (ethereal piano music)