I'm Joelle, an international Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer based in St. Joseph, MI. I'm also an educator and Photo Editor for photographers interested in growing their business and living life more.
Photo by: Nicole Balsamo Photography
With engagement season upon us, I thought it would be beneficial for a lot of photographers if I shared a blog post about consultations. I know that it can be a little nerve-wracking at times if you haven’t met the couple before, especially if you’re new to the consultation game.
Personally, I love consultations. And the reason why is because of my approach. When I get together with a prospective couple, that’s exactly what we’re doing; we’re just getting together. It’s a chance for us to connect and get to know each other on a more personal level. Typically, we meet at a coffee shop or for a meal at a favorite restaurant, and we just talk. I’ll ask them about their story, share a bit about myself, and answer any questions they have about my process. If you can start the conversation with a question about them, un-related to your work or portfolio, then you’ll be off to a good start and things will flow from there.
Growing up, my mom always told me: “Just be yourself”, and that’s the advice I still follow today, especially going into consultations. Don’t be afraid to be yourself because that is your greatest strength in this moment. If you hit it off, then that is awesome. If not, then don’t stress about it. You both deserve a vendor/client relationship that will feel good and right for both of you.
If you’re stumped on what to ask them when they first arrive, you could ask one of these questions:
“So, how long have you been engaged?”
“Now I have to ask, what’s your proposal story?”
(If it’s a restaurant they suggested), “Thank you for suggesting this place! What do you guys like to get when you come here?”
“How did you two meet?”
They’ll probably have some questions for you, too. Which is a good thing! It means they’re doing their research and they’re interested in you and your work. Here are a few questions they might ask, that you should be ready to answer thoughtfully:
How long have you been a photographer?
How many weddings have you photographed?
How many images will we get?
What equipment do you use? Do you bring your own lighting?
Who is your second shooter?
What time will you arrive during the day? When will you leave?
How do you and your second shooter work? (you can explain who has what responsibilities)
How soon will we get our images?
How much is due for the deposit and how do we pay? When is the remaining payment due?
How would you describe your photography style?
There will be moments in the conversation when it will die down and this is when you can ask them some questions about their wedding. These are the questions I always have on my mind to ask when I’m meeting with a couple for the first time:
Have you picked your venue yet?
Do you have any other vendors lined up yet?
Have you chosen or talked about your colors yet?
How many do you have in your bridal party?
What are you expecting your guest count to be?
Are you doing a first look?
Chances are, they’ll elaborate on many of those questions for you. If they know their colors, you can ask if they’ve chosen the bridal party attire yet and ask to see photos of the dresses/suits.
And, here are some things you may want to have on hand to show them in person:
Remember, more than anything, you’re just getting to know each other and enjoying a good meal or cup of coffee. Ask them what they like to do in their down time, where they like vacationing to, or if they have any pets. You’re just having a conversation. Be personal and be honest, and above all just be yourself. That’s the best you to be.
Cheering for you, friend!