Questions for a Commission Shoot
Now if you're working in a commission portrait situation, let's say that it's us and we are going to be creating an image together, we need to think about what we're going to ask that person to be able to create an image that they like, that feels good for them. So when I'm thinking about questions for my clients, this is typically what I'm asking about. Is there a certain theme that the photo shoot should evolve into? Is there a certain feeling or emotion, an idea or an opinion that you wanna get across in this picture? Anything that you like or don't like? Not like french fries versus avocado or something like that, but you know, like certain visuals that they're drawn to. What insecurities do they have? That's a really big one, because even though somebody's asking to have their picture taken, that doesn't mean that they love having their picture taken and we always have to be cognizant of that, that they might not be comfortable in front of the camera. Is there any symbolism that t...
hey wanna bring into this photo shoot? Different momentos that mean a lot to them maybe that they want incorporated? What their expectation is? Do they want to walk away looking like a glamorous person in a flowing gown or do they wanna look muddy in a hole? I can do muddy in a hole, I can't do glamorous very well. So expectations, very good to set on my part as well. As I mentioned earlier, I'm never ever going to tell a client of mine that you're gonna be perfectly clean throughout this whole shooting situation. No, because I almost always end up throwing baby powder on them or putting mud on them or just doing something weird because that's how my work flows and I like it like that. Logistics in terms of are you coming to me, am I coming to you? How are we going to do this photo shoot? Indoors, outdoors? And reference images. Reference images is a really big one here just in terms of do you have any images of mine that you have seen before that we could create as a base from? I think that's a really good one. So these are the literal questions that I ask people when I send them an email. If they've inquired with me and we decide we're gonna move forward, price is good, all of that, this is the email that I send them. So who's gonna be my victim? Who did we decide was my victim? Was that you Tory? So I'm gonna ask you these questions and we're gonna see how this evolves. So I've got my little notepad and now we're pretending. I would do this through email because I'm a millennial and I don't use telephones and I guess that's just how life is now. So I'm emailing you these questions, but here we are in person. So is there a location that you feel most drawn to?
I would say forest or ocean.
Okay, that's really good. And you see, that's going to determine where we end up doing this shoot that we're doing now. Is there a color that you feel defines you?
You're not gonna like me for this. I like green.
That's good. I also feel very connected to green as a person, so I get it. Is there a color that you feel best wearing?
Red is pretty good for me.
Red, okay good. Although red and green, I don't know. I don't know how this is gonna go.
Bright colors, but yeah.
Okay, that's good. What emotion do you wanna portray? If you had to say for this picture. How either you wanna feel looking at it or how you wanna feel in it.
Inner power, if that's an emotion.
Yeah it is. Power. I forget to put inner first so I wrote power, parentheses, inner. Is this portrait relevant to your life? I know that you don't actually want your picture taken, but just in case.
I would love you to shoot me.
Sure. I don't really know how to answer that question. What do you mean by that?
Okay, that's good. So I can refine my questions now. So when I ask that, I mean is there something that you've gone through in your life or that you're going through that you would like to bring into the portrait?
I feel like the power part of it has been my journey and I'm owning that more and more. So, yes.
Okay, good. So let's see, are there any images of mine that you can call to mind that you feel like you might wanna start from? Something that maybe a location you've seen me use, a concept or just an overall image that you really like?
I would need to spend more time with your portfolio.
So this one is definitely one that you can't answer right away and this why I email these things. So then, is there anything that you feel uncomfortable doing or wearing?
I don't really want to be nude, but a back.
Yeah a back would be--
Very good to know.
Fine for me.
Because my shoots tend to end up very clothed and then very unclothed. So that is good. Okay, so no nudes. Do you prefer dark or hopeful images?
I want both.
Good. Dark and hopeful. All in the same image or do you want multiple pictures that are on either side?
That's a good question. All of the above.
I mean if you're going to do multiples.
Okay, yeah sure. Okay, and this is good 'cause now I can be like definitely do all of them and sell more images. Is there a story that you want the image to portray?
I don't have one in mind, no.
Okay, so no particular story, but so far we have forest or ocean, the color green, you like to wear the color red, inner power as a potential theme or even storyline or something like that.
Yeah, that kind of connects to story.
Yeah. No nudes, got it. Is there a particular, now we're riffing, so now I've gone through my list and I'm thinking, okay I need to know a little bit more information. What types of wardrobe do you like to wear? Like dresses, pants?
Dresses, flowing fabric.
Dress, flowing fabric. Okay, so I've got a lot of information now and this looks pretty good to me. Well mostly because like we're very on the same page I think visually, which is great except for chicken, goat. I'm not gonna put chicken, goat in this one. So we've got forest or ocean, green, wearing red. So this makes me think that I would really like to do something with you where maybe if we choose the ocean instead of the forest, we could do something where maybe you are standing on a rock in the ocean and you won't see the rock and there will just be this crazy red flowing dress all behind you, maybe with a wave coming toward you or something like that to show your strength and power in the middle of this ocean with this wave coming, but you're just resistant to it or something like that. That was my first thought in terms of a location with the maybe green color of the ocean and the red color of the dress or something like that. Trying to think in terms of colors that go together.
Cyan is an acceptable greenish sort of color.
Good, we got cyan. Okay, I'm even gonna say cyan here. Okay, good. So we've got cyan. Now if we were to move to the forest, I would probably have a more difficult time with the colors that we'll find there compared with the red so I'm gonna have to get back to you on that one. So far that's your picture, but I'll get back to you with more later. But thank you for sharing your answers with me. And that's how I would approach licensing and contracts and commissions and all of that fun stuff. So I'll let you guys look through these a little bit later. But it can be pretty straightforward. A lot of people when it comes to pricing for portrait sessions and stuff like that, it can get really complicated. As you guys probably know, well there's the sitting fee and then there's like all of these layers of do you want an album, do you want wall art, do you want all these things? And I just try to keep it really simple where it's an experience and it's about the experience with me and the person who's hiring me. They get one image or more if they say that up front and then it's all about creating that one moment that we're trying to capture. So that's how I would do commissions. That's how I sell my images through licensing and that's how I write my contracts. I hope that that was useful to you in some way.