5 Questions To Ask on a Discovery Call

You’ve received a request from a potential new client and you can’t wait to book it. Here are five questions to ask on your discovery call to make sure you understand what the client needs and can come up with an accurate quote for the job. .

It can seem intimidating to make phone calls to respond to new requests, especially if you’re shy or uncomfortable talking on the phone. However, I believe it’s a crucial step to not only better understand customer needs from the start, but also a great way to build a more personal relationship from the start. The customer who spoke to you on the phone is more likely to book with you than the customer who only spoke to you via email.

What is the purpose of the photoshoot?

Establishing why they want new images is important to help you get a sense of where this client is in their career journey. Maybe they’re moving in a new visual direction and your work speaks to their new vision for a specific campaign they have in mind. Alternatively, they may have never hired a photographer before and want to create professional images for the first time.

This question will not only give you an idea of ​​the scope of the project and what will be required of you, but also what you can expect from this working relationship. If the company has never commissioned professional photography before, you can prepare for a little more hands-on than if a company has worked with multiple photographers before.

Where will the images be used?

Following this, where do they plan to use the images? For example, some clients like to book shoots just for their social media channels, while others might be looking to create images just for their website. Establishing how the images will be used will help you calculate your license fees.

As an adjacent point to this, don’t forget to check their specific aspect ratio requirements. These will differ depending on the intended use of the images. I often find that my clients like a mix of portrait and landscape, but others may need everything to crop in a 1:1 ratio, while others may have specific aspect ratio needs. for custom website banners.

How many scenes or products should be captured?

Understanding the scope of work is key to establishing an accurate quote for the job. Really ask them to dig into the details here. If they have 10 products, do they need just one photo of each item, or would they like multiple photos of each item, with a different style? Determine whether they’re looking for group photos, specific pairings of best-selling products, multiple angles of each item, or even the product next to it or in its packaging. The client may not have thought of these small details, until you start asking the essential questions.

A brief that seems simple at first can turn out to be quite complex once you have extracted all the details. It’s always better to get the client to think about their needs ahead of time so you can come up with an accurate quote, rather than getting unsolicited requests on the day of the shoot.

Additionally, ask the client to give you specific details about how they want their products photographed. Sometimes a company policy may be so entrenched and obvious to them that they may forget to communicate it to you. For example, the box is always placed to the right of the product, or the products are always photographed without a lid.

Do they have a specific aesthetic in mind?

Understanding if the client has a clear vision for the photoshoot is key to creating results they will be happy with. Some clients will have an in-house person or team, such as a marketing director or art director, who will guide the visual aesthetic of the shoot. However, some brands will want to rely on your creative vision.

If so, using a moodboard planning tool like Pinterest can be helpful in understanding what the customer is thinking when they say certain descriptors like “bold” or “organic.” What you might think of as a “bold” aesthetic, the client might think of completely differently. Only when you can all see the references visually can you understand if you are aligned or not.

Ask the client to tell you what they like about the inspiration they’ve gathered, from lighting and composition to styling and colors, so you can dive into the finer details of their preferences. Don’t be afraid to point out the inconsistencies in their inspiration and really ask yourself what they like or dislike. It’s important to make sure their inspiration is consistent so you have a clear aesthetic to achieve.

Location, accessories and style

Where will the filming take place? Do you have all the accessories you need to achieve the aesthetics of the brief? Who will do the styling that day? These are all questions you need to establish answers to before quoting, so you can understand what is expected of you.

It’s okay not to have your own fully equipped photo studio or a small warehouse full of accessories – clients don’t expect that. But you need to understand if the client will provide the locations, stylists, assistants and props, or if you will have to find the help you need. This will largely depend on the size of the client you are working with. Typically, small businesses won’t have these relationships and it will be up to you to hire the help you need.


Taking the time to understand your new client’s needs is really important so that you can come up with an accurate quote and ultimately create results that they will be happy with. This often leads to repeat business and lasting relationships. Plus, happy customers are likely to recommend you to others, so you’ll receive referrals every time you deliver results they like.

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