17 Portrait Photographer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a portrait photographer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

In today’s age, almost everyone has a camera on their phone and knows how to take a picture. But not everyone can take a great picture. If you have an eye for detail and a passion for photography, you may be able to turn your hobby into a career as a portrait photographer.

A portrait photographer takes pictures of people, usually for special occasions like weddings, graduations, or family reunions. As a portrait photographer, you need to be able to capture the essence of your subjects and tell their story through your photos.

If you’re interested in becoming a portrait photographer, you may need to go through a job interview. During the interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about your experience, your portfolio, and your approach to photography. They will also ask you questions about your ability to work with clients and your customer service skills.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working with people?

Portrait photographers often work with people of all ages and backgrounds. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the interpersonal skills necessary for the job. In your answer, share a story about how you worked with someone who was nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera. Explain what steps you took to help them feel more comfortable during their session.

Example: “I love working with people because I find it so rewarding when they leave my studio feeling confident and happy with their portraits. One time, I had a client who was very shy and quiet. She told me she didn’t like having her picture taken at all. I asked her if there was anything special that would make her feel more comfortable. She said she loved animals, so we brought her dog into the studio. By the end of the shoot, she was laughing and smiling.”

What are your favorite types of portraits to take?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your experience and skill level. It also helps them understand what types of portraits you enjoy taking, which may be different from the type of portrait they’re looking for their clientele to have taken. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention two or three types of portraits that you enjoy most and why.

Example: “I really love taking senior portraits because I find it so rewarding to capture someone’s personality in a photo. I also love capturing family photos because I think it’s important to preserve memories like these. Finally, I love taking engagement photos because I feel like couples are so excited about their upcoming wedding day and it’s fun to capture that excitement.”

How would you handle a client who was unhappy with their portrait?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your customer service skills. They want to know how you would handle a challenging situation and whether you have the ability to resolve it quickly. In your answer, try to emphasize your problem-solving skills and willingness to do what’s best for the client.

Example: “If a client was unhappy with their portrait, I would first listen to them to understand why they feel that way. Then, I would offer to take another photo of them at no additional cost. If they still weren’t happy after the second photo, I would give them a discount on a future portrait session.”

What is your process for working with children as clients?

Portrait photographers often work with children as clients, and the interviewer may want to know how you handle this situation. Describe your process for working with children and how you make them feel comfortable during their photo shoot.

Example: “I find that it’s important to get to know my child clients before their session so I can learn about their interests and personalities. This helps me create a fun environment where they’re excited to be photographed. I also bring along toys or other items that might help keep them entertained while we take photos. For example, if I’m photographing a little girl who loves princesses, I’ll bring some of her favorite dolls or books to use in the background.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to be creative in order to get a good shot.

Portrait photographers often have to be creative in order to get the best shots. Employers ask this question to see if you can think of a time when you had to use your creativity to solve a problem or achieve a goal. In your answer, try to describe how you used your creativity and what the outcome was.

Example: “When I first started as a portrait photographer, I didn’t have much equipment. One day, I got a call from a client who wanted a family photo shoot but her husband wasn’t able to make it. Instead of turning down the job, I decided to take some photos of just the mom and kids and then later took photos of just the dad with his kids. The client loved the end result.”

If a client wanted to purchase a print of a portrait you took of them, what size would you recommend?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of printing sizes and how you would recommend a size to clients. You can answer this question by providing the size you would recommend for each type of print, such as standard prints, large prints or canvas prints.

Example: “For standard prints, I would recommend an 8×10-inch print. For large prints, I would recommend a 16×20-inch print. For canvas prints, I would recommend a 20×30-inch print.”

What would you do if a client was late to a photo shoot?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle stressful situations. In your answer, try to show that you are a problem solver and have the ability to adapt to challenging circumstances.

Example: “If a client was late to a photo shoot, I would first ask them why they were late. If it was due to an emergency or something out of their control, I would be understanding. However, if they were late because they forgot about the appointment, I would explain that this is unprofessional and could lead to other issues in the future. I would also let them know that I charge for every 15 minutes after the scheduled time.”

How well do you know the different types of lighting equipment used in portrait photography?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the technical aspects of portrait photography. Use examples from your experience that show you understand how each type of lighting equipment works and what its purpose is in a portrait shoot.

Example: “I have used different types of lighting equipment throughout my career, including softboxes, strobes, ring flashes and continuous lights. I know that softboxes are ideal for creating flattering light on subjects’ faces because they diffuse light evenly across the subject’s face. Strobes are more powerful than continuous lights, which makes them useful for shooting fast-moving subjects like children or pets. Ring flashes produce even light across the entire frame of the photo.”

Do you have experience using posing guides?

Portrait photographers use posing guides to help clients feel more comfortable during their photo shoot. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have experience using them and how you implement them into your work. In your answer, explain what a posing guide is and share an example of when you used one in your previous job.

Example: “I’ve never worked as a portrait photographer before, but I did work as a model for a few years. During my modeling career, I learned that posing guides are helpful tools for helping models understand the poses they should be making. I was able to use posing guides effectively while working as a model, so I think I could do the same thing as a portrait photographer.”

When taking a portrait, what is more important to you, the subject’s expression or the overall composition of the image?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your priorities as a portrait photographer. Your answer should show that you understand how both elements are important and can work together to create an effective image.

Example: “I believe it’s essential to capture the subject’s expression, but I also think composition is just as important. The overall composition of the image can make or break the photo, so I always take time to ensure that my background and lighting are appropriate before focusing on the subject. Once I have captured the right expression and composed the image well, I know I will have a successful photograph.”

We want to attract customers with our portraits. How would you make a subject look more attractive in a portrait?

This question can help the interviewer understand your creative process and how you would apply it to their business. Use examples from past experiences where you helped clients look more attractive in portraits.

Example: “I always start by making sure my subject’s skin looks flawless, so I use lighting techniques that make them look healthy and radiant. Then, I adjust the camera settings to ensure they’re looking at the right angle for flattering features. Finally, I edit the photo using software that helps me remove any blemishes or imperfections.”

Describe your process for getting to know a new client before a photo shoot.

Portrait photographers need to be able to connect with their clients and understand what they want from a photo shoot. This question helps employers determine how you interact with your clients and whether you can meet the needs of their customers. In your answer, explain that you like to get to know your client before a shoot by asking them questions about themselves and their interests.

Example: “I always ask my clients about themselves and their interests so I can learn more about who they are as people. For example, if someone is an avid skier, I’ll ask them about their favorite ski resorts or mountains to help me prepare for the shoot. I also like to take some time to talk with them about their expectations for the shoot so we’re both on the same page.”

What makes you stand out from other portrait photographers?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. They want someone who is passionate about photography, but they also want someone who can work well with others. To answer this question, think about what makes you unique as a photographer. Consider sharing some of your personal interests or hobbies that relate to photography.

Example: “I am an avid traveler, so I love taking photos while on vacation. This has inspired me to take portraits of my clients in locations around the world. My goal is to make sure every client feels like they are on vacation when they look at their portrait. Another thing that sets me apart from other photographers is my attention to detail. I always make sure to double-check all of my settings before taking a photo.”

Which camera brands and models are you familiar with using?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level with different types of cameras. You can answer this question by listing the brands and models you’ve used in the past, along with any specific features that you’re familiar with using.

Example: “I’m most comfortable using Nikon DSLR cameras for portrait photography because I find them to be reliable and easy to use. In my last position, I also worked with Canon DSLRs, which are a little more advanced than Nikon models but have some great features like dual-pixel autofocus technology. I’ve also worked with Sony mirrorless cameras before, which are lightweight and compact but still produce high-quality images.”

What do you think is the most important factor to remember when taking a professional portrait?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the industry and how you can apply it. A portrait photographer needs to be able to understand their client’s preferences, pose them in a flattering way and capture the image quickly so they can move on to the next customer.

Example: “I think the most important factor when taking a professional portrait is making sure that the subject looks their best. I always try to make my clients feel comfortable by asking about their preferences before we start shooting. Then, I use my expertise to position them in flattering ways and take multiple shots from different angles to ensure I get one that meets their standards.”

How often do you update your portfolio?

Portfolios are a great way to show prospective employers your best work. Employers may ask this question to see how often you update your portfolio and what kind of content you include in it. In your answer, explain that you have an active portfolio and share the steps you take to keep it up-to-date.

Example: “I try to add new photos to my portfolio every few months. I usually choose one or two images from each session to include in my portfolio. I also make sure to include any awards or accolades I receive for my work. I find that including these things helps me stay motivated and inspired as a photographer.”

There is a bug on your lens. How would you handle it during a shoot?

This question is a test of your problem-solving skills. It also shows how you handle stress and stay calm in front of clients. Your answer should show that you can remain professional while handling the situation.

Example: “I would first apologize to my client for the delay. Then, I would ask them if they could wait for me to take care of the bug. If not, I would try to find another way to get rid of it without disrupting the shoot. For example, I might use a piece of tape to remove the bug from the lens. Afterward, I would clean the lens thoroughly before resuming the shoot.”


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