Listen and Learn – the art of the smart photographer!

Posted on April 25, 2018

Photographers are visual people. We spend our lives interpreting natural and manmade events and objects. And we love to talk! It’s true, we snappers don’t listen enough. So part of our job is to shut up and really listen to and learn from our clients.

Making sure we listen and learn throughout any project is crucial. That way, we appreciate the decision-making process and, in turn, the actions that follow.


Initial Contact

However you receive that first enquiry – email, phone call or social media message – the initial conversation must establish what’s being asked for. So ask the right questions! Is the request relevant for both parties? Does it involve drinks or technology photography? On location or in the studio? Stills, or moving pictures and video? Establishing basic details saves wasted time.

Ask the client to describe in their own words what the job is about. Listen and learn! Listen carefully to what is being said and clarify as much as possible. There’s no commitment for either party at this stage, so take time to understand the client, the product and the goals.


The Brief

I love that first key visual! My visual brain switches on and the conversation moves forward.  Clarify anything that seems ambiguous with a quick phone call. Ask questions; really listen to and learn from the answers. Never take anything for granted or assume.


The Estimate

Tough cookie, this one. To avoid hours of wasted time, ask! Listen carefully – read between the lines to gear production levels to the right level, and to establish fee structures confidently and quickly.


The Shoot

This is the perfect opportunity to listen and learn! What do the creatives and client like? Explain why a particular approach is being taken. Discuss why a set is constructed that way to achieve a particular result, providing useful insight.

Are they comfortable with the process? Be sure the shoot is on the right track from day one. Getting regular agreements at critical junctures helps everyone feel confident!


The Wrap Party

If only! This rarely happens! Admittedly we have no film to wind, and it’s generally been a hard day’s work and everyone wants to go their own way. But the offer is always there!