I always think to myself when doing any work for a client is, what does my client want from my work? Is there a special purpose that they are having the photos taken for, such as print, design, or web presence? Or is it for personal use? How can I be sure to capture what they need, while still having my voice and style?
One idea that I came across at a creative business seminar, I’ve been trying to integrate into my own work is concept boarding with your clientele. Gathering together samples of different colors, patterns, styles, lighting setups, and locations that you can show to clients in one book that they can flip through can really make the process much simpler instead of having them try and describe the style they want. That way, instead of your client struggling and possible ruining the experience for them trying to pick their brains to be as creative as possible, you make them more involved in a quicker and efficient way that gives them choices without the hassle.
If time is limited or you think that giving the customer too many choices will hinder what they would like to do you can always ask them a simplified version: what three adjectives are you looking for in your photographs? If someone says modern and elegant, you don’t want to put more emphasis on capturing silly, fun moments.