We’ve all been there: you submit a service inquiry online and get radio silence back. The fault totally lies on the business for not getting back to you, but let’s look at another angle for a moment: If you were a service provider and received an inquiry with only a first name and email address, you’d probably push that to the back or even delete it. Other inquiries offering more information are likely to get answered first.
Why does the inquiry matter?
Vague inquiries raise red flags. When a business receives a brief inquiry, they may not respond out of concern that it’s a spammer or worse, someone out to steal their info. We all get tons of spam these days, so we’re hesitant to respond to anything that seems questionable. The same goes for business inquiries. (Many scammers use inquiry forms as bait, especially small businesses.)
You don’t need to give out all of your personal information, but you should share a few details about your project so you can get the attention your project deserves. A well-formed inquiry will provide just enough information to let the service provider know that you have a legitimate inquiry. Plus, we can start a quote or estimate based on the info you provide.
What should I include in my commercial photography inquiry?
As an LA commercial photographer, I know that a brilliantly executed project starts with the inquiry. Your inquiry will help us get on the same page and open up clear lines of communication from the start. Here’s what I look for:
This is the most important factor for initial planning purposes. (Even if you truly have an unlimited budget, I still need to know so I can get the ball rolling with the best professionals.) Your budget will serve as a guide for the hired crew, set, project expenses, and how much creative flexibility we have within that amount. The goal is to optimize your budget and get the most bang for your buck. A budget on the smaller side doesn’t mean lower quality, it just means we need to scale back a bit and plan accordingly.
For a commercial photographer, one of the biggest factors in providing an accurate estimate is knowing how you plan to use your photos. The broader the usage the more expensive the fees. However, if you know you’ll be using your images for a sole purpose, say organic social media, the licensing fees will be less. It’s important to know how you plan to use your images up front to avoid having to pay additional fees later.
At a minimum, share a mood board or vague shot list so we can gauge how many days we need to allot for the project. Your project inspiration will also give us an idea of how many crew members we’ll need to produce the desired creative. Knowing your vision helps us estimate other expenses like props, talent, locations, etc. accurately.
It’s best to reach out about a month in advance to make sure we have adequate time to prep, secure crew members, and ensure we can complete the ask with time for post-production before your deadline!
Inquire with LA Commercial Photographer, Lindsay K
Hi, I’m Lindsay, a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. I specialize in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with me here for product marketing!
Find me on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to @lindsaykphoto_.