Lets Play 20 Questions, Portrait Photographers Should Ask Their Clients


At least a few times a month I get asked how I know just the right colors, props , accents or poses to design and use for my newborn session. What made me choose this prop over that prop, or all neutrals instead of crazy cool colors? Well, I’ll tell you my secret, I play games with my clients.

That’s right?

Good old fashion, 20 question games.

We all might think we know what our clients want or don’t want for their sessions. We’ve seen the trend in newborn and baby photography of natural neutral colors being used and the taco or froggy poses that are oh so cute! But what if I told you by NOT asking questions you are doing a disservice to your clients session.

There are several instances that would have saved me if I just asked more questions prior to a clients session.  And the most interesting part is most times, they will something captured I would not have thought of.

Being in the “service” industry it is our job to serve our clients desires. If we never ask, then we are not serving them the best we could and helping to make their experience and memories…. well memorable!

With my 20 questions, it gets my clients thinking of their session prior, it gives me inspiration and it brings creativity to life. Not only can we ask about colors or favorite poses or props, but we can get more intimate about what type of feelings they are looking to capture or the overall vision for their session.  Most clients haven’t thought of that until now.  You can then use that information to your advantage, when prepping them what to wear, what colors to use, what angles will work best and if they even want wall prints.

Think of it this way, would you ever go on vacation without checking what the weather will be? Probably not.

The 20 questions, can be tweaked and changed to accommodate each type of session, but I really love it for my newborn sessions. If you are a portrait photographer take notes, take a screen shot or just PIN IT for later.


20 Questions To Ask Your Clients

  1.  How did you hear about us?

  2.  What are the feelings you most hope to capture during this time?

  3.  Describe your vision for this session and what you above all want to capture?

  4.  Tell me what is so special about this time in your life?

  5.  Are you drawn to any images on our website or Facebook? Why?

  6.  What are you looking to do with your portraits after the session? (small prints, canvas, wall portraits, albums, digital files, etc..)

  7.  Tell us where you would shop for furniture if you had an unlimited budget, where would you shop at?

  8.  Describe you style?

  9.  Look around your home describe your home decor, please include colors?  Some examples are: vintage, rustic, bright, be achy, organic, romantic, traditional, soft, rich tones, modern)?

  10.  What color tones or palettes are you drawn too? warms (reds, oranges, yellows), cools (greens, purples, blues), neutrals (browns, grays, creams)?

  11.  Do you have a preference of black and white or color portraits? Or do you like both?

  12.  Please describe the color and nursery decor you’ve selected for the baby’s room, child’s room?

  13.  Is there a nursery theme or a special heirloom or family piece you have and would like incorporated into your session?

  14.  Is there a specific wall or location you would like to display or hang your pictures? Where? (living room, nursery, bedroom, hallway, etc…)

  15.  What things are unique to your family?  Special interests, collections, character traits?

  16.  For older babies, what are some milestones that are happening right now? (smiles, rolling over, sitting, clapping, standing with assistance, walking…)

  17.  Are there special toys, movies, books or characters your child/children are into right now?

  18.  Is there anything specific you do not want photographed (certain angle, avoid profile shots, over the head shots, full body, backside, etc…)

  19.  We love to connect with all our client family, tag for sneak peeks or fun mentions, do you have a FB or IG profile we can connect with?

  20.  Why did you choose (insert your photography studio name here)?


Remember, instead of doing an interview that will make your clients feel like they are getting interrogated, try picking and choosing what you want to know from them based on the experience you want to provide. Then put the questions in the client information sheet, or a pre-consultation questioner.

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Malia Battilana


It’s an honor to be photographing the world’s newest little human beings. It takes that special touch, patience and a pure love. She believes emotional connection makes for influential newborn portraiture and that anyone seeking that, can find it.

Malia lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her most supportive husband and her 3 fun-loving children. As the owner of Malia B Photography, she photographs the cutest babies in the Valley of the Sun.