I think that the most under rated part of any Photography project I have taken on has been communicating the final output to my clients. I stumbled across this comic below which is a bit of an exaggeration of what can happen, but I’ve heard stories of projects that weren’t all that different from this…
From the first contact I have with my clients I immediately layout written expectations from both parties that I include in the correspondence, their quote, and the final invoice. For example for me it would maybe include “uninhibited access throughout the venue” for the client that may be “10 High-Res Retouched .jpegs delivered within 5 days of payment”. Writing these points down ensure that we both leave the project happy with the final outcome.
It also is a preventative measure on my end so I capture everything they expected as well as deliver the images in a format which they can use properly. For my portrait clients it can mean three different crops so they can easily upload to social media, for my international clients with offices in Vancouver it’s providing additional low res files that are easy to email to their supervisors in Europe.
Bottom line, never stop asking questions. If the project is a little nebulous, here is a list I’ll typically go through with a client:
- Have you seen my work before? (some of my clients are word of mouth referrals and may not know my style of capturing a person/event/building, I want to make sure I’m the best possible fit for their product/project)
- Do you have an example of what you’d like your headshot/product/to look like? (Google image search can be great for this)
- May I have a list of the shots you can’t live without? (If the CEO is flying in from Denmark you want to make sure you get that shot)
- Who will my contact be on the day of if I run into any issues? (if there’s an overzealous security guard, it’s always good to have the bossman’s number in your back pocket)
- What are you going to be using these images for? Print campaign? Online ad? (helps determine final file output)
- When do you need these images delivered by? Dropbox? Physical DVD? (ensures that realistic deadlines can be put in place for both parties)
Depending on the type of assignment be it Architecture, Portraits, or Event Coverage I’ll add/minus some of these but I’ve found it’s a good baseline to start from. Over time as I run into glitches here and there this list will grow, I’m sure. No matter what, assume nothing. Asking upfront usually saves both parties a lot of pain in the long run.