Client wants to see ALL the images

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by hdphotography, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. Beautiful session with 1 year old and family. Mom loves the images, but wants to see "all the ones that didn't make the cut". I explained that the 47 images I posted were the final images...but she is insisting on seeing more. IDEAS? I hold myself up as an artist and want my images to reflect my level of talent. I never show any of my clients all of the raws or unfinished images. PLEASE send any similar experiences and how you dealt with this or tips/ideas on language to use.
  2. show them. . . but, and this is a big but. . . explain to her your reason for showing the one's you did
    and tell her that you'd be glad to show here the rest of the images but it will cost her - you do know what
    your times is worth right . . . you have to pay for your time .

    Let me give everyone that reads this some advise, advise that has been given a million times here on

    Outline the service up front! If people would take a little time to operate their hobby like a business (only
    if youre charging money) these silly issues would almost never come up. If you charge for your
    services, you need to tell people what they are getting - up front. Both parties need to agree and then
    there is a greater likely hood that everyone comes out happy.

    Please dont tell us that you did all this but now she's changing her mind. If you do, then go back to my
    first comment and she will be glad to pay you more money for your time . . .

  3. Hannah: if you use this site's search facility (top right corner of your screen), you'll get results like this from phrases like "client wants to see all" and similar. This topic comes up a lot, for exactly the reasons you're experiencing it, and Tony's take on it is pretty much always the solution. Still, if you poke around through the many similar discussions, you'll come across examples of language that some photographers use to disarm those kinds of requests after the fact.

    I have noticed, many times, that my own idea of which images are best (as art, as photographs) can take a major back seat to the subject's idea of a keeper - often for sentimental reasons, or because they're amusing, or because Aunt Sukey is in the background, or because the dog's head is pointed the right way, etc. I make sure that customers never see the outright bad photos (big mistakes on my part with exposure or focus, for example - it happens), but I've learned - when it comes to online preview galleries - to relax my standards just a bit and let in some shots that I might not have in the past.

    Most of the time, the clients end up choosing to print from among the images I also really like - but they like the experience of seeing some of the other images from the shoot. Partly it's a chance for them to relive the shoot, but I've found that some of them also enjoy feeling like they're in on the creative process, and like to find themselves agreeing with me about why I chose the real keepers I did, instead of entirely trusting me that I've chosen the right ones. It can actually help to put in a couple of cannon-fodder shots for them to also, mentally, discard. When or whether to do that depends on your assessment of the client's personality, and how well you think you've managed to set their expectations and shape their understanding of how the whole proofing/choosing thing is going to work out.

    I totally understand the urge to not let anything beyond your best work become in any way publicly viewable ... but dealing with clients, especially when it comes to photos of themselves and their families or pets, can be a complex psychological process. It sure goes better if you make your approach thoroughly clear up front, as Tony suggests.
  4. Do you have other shots that are technically acceptable but you just didn't like for expression, etc.? Show them to her, let her make her choices, move on. But then do as Tony suggests and be very clear upfront with future clients. But under no circumstances should you show her pix that aren't technically acceptable or ones you would be embarassed to be associated with. Tell her out of focus, blurred, underexposed, flash didn't fire, etc. have been deleted.
  5. We never show the culled images. Ever. We do however explain that their session will be edited and that we always shoot with the expectation of culling images. We are firm in the belief that if we culled it, we culled it for a reason, and that if it didn't meet our expectations, we aren't presenting it to the client. This is thoroughly explained prior to the session. If this is a surprise to the client, you may have to take a different approach though. I stick to my guns on this. They hired me for my expertise- in shooting, editing, presentation... everything, not just pushing the shutter release.
  6. Greetings! IMHO, you as the artist and creator of the images, have the right and privilege of showing your best work.
    In my view, you are not obliged to show "ALL" of your images, unless you contracted to do so. My general policy is to
    always specify a quantity of final image deliverables, and then shoot as much as required to ensure that I have enough
    "RAW material" (pardon the pun) to work with. Bottom line: Get client expectations in writing and then deliver on those
    Good luck!
  7. This is a return client and YES we did go over all the service details at our first meeting last year. I didn't encounter this with her first, this was quite a surprise.
  8. Could you please let me know your thoughts on this response?

    To fulfill your request, I am willing to provide thumbnail pages of some of the remaining images via email. These images will not be retouched, color corrected or cropped.

    Should you want any of these additional images, there will be a $15.00 retouching fee (per image). This fee does not include a print or file.

    I do want you to know that I enjoy your and your family as clients and I hope that you have continued to come to me because you appreciate my photographic style/talent and trust that I will produce quality work for you.

    I strive to conduct my business in a professional manner and provide the best customer service I can. Please let me know if you would like the thumbnails sent to you and I will get those to you this weekend. There will be multiple thumbnails on a sheet of 8.5x11 and labeled with the file name. If you and Lawrence do decide that you want me to retouch an image(s), please reference the file name(s) and I will create an invoice. These images will enter my production schedule and will be completed within 1 week from the new invoice date.

    Thank you,
  9. Hannah:
    In my experience, this question is asked because the client is looking for something else. She's not happy with what she's seeing. So she wants to see more. I would probe to find what the real concern is. Asking to see all the photos is merely a symptom and not the root issue.
  10. Eric, I did JUST that and she kept it all vague. She also started her initial email with "These are OUTSTANDING!" So confused!
  11. I find that people watching you shoot sometimes remember your taking a shot that they imagine is perfect (because of a fleeting expression or gesture, or because they simply imagine that it happened - regardless). They want to look through the remaining images to see if they're right in thinking that the shot they have in mind actually happened. If I sense a subject (or bystander) reaction - while shooting - that suggests that such a moment just happened, I try to immediately chimp a bit, the better to know if I should - right then and there - increase or reduce their expectations about what just happened. If it didn't work out, I know we have something we can go right to working on.

    About your note: you have a typo ("your" should be "you").
  12. I recently started shooting portraits again to add income, but while walking about some popular areas, I see photographers blasting away images with their digital camera. I can only imagine the problems that so many scenes would create. By using old-style composition (only a couple or three scenes), I enormously cut down on people wanting different images due to where they were located. I shoot a lot outdoors, and review the space with the client before I set up any shots. I take some digital compositions of just the background (OoF and all), and chimp with the client. Then I set up my film equipment (I'm shooting mostly film for differentiation in my market). The client knows what I am doing, and what I am going for. There doesn't seem to be any second guessing about their shots. They get exactly ONE image of each scene. So far, no problems. The reason I do it this way is because of an old marketing mantra: "people are silently begging to be led." I simply lead them.
  13. It is always a hard thing to balance our artistic desires with the needs of a client--commercially or in the retail sector. I think digital capture helps because it is so easy to rename files we choose so that everything is sequential and no holes are obvious. Cutting out those that we don't find meet our standards and those that are repeats or just slight variations. In a case like this, showing the person those slight variations and not those that we just don't feel are good is the best way to go.
    Can you meet in person with this individual and show them those variations, suggesting that because you do not want images you are not happy with floating around that you would prefer just letting her see them on screen--maybe on your laptop or iPAD at their home. If these are good and repeat clients, it might be the best compromise to meet both of your needs.
    Funny thing about people though, they react in strange ways. I did a portrait session for a neighbor family. I showed my pick from a group shot (paper proofs which I made into 4x6 prints). The father didn't like his expression in the one I picked. I shuffled through the other, putting that one on the bottom. He didn't like any until that first one came back to the top and, not realizing it, he said that "this one is so much better, let's go with this!". We did.
  14. You have a Delete key on your computer, or within your editing software: simply explain to your client that the half-open eyes [or closed] images no longer exist.
    Be honest and let your client know that not all in the world of digital imaging is perfect all the time.
  15. sounds like she's interested in the photos you took . . . . I learned quickly after getting into digital that I
    could help my client a lot if I periodically showed them the back of my camera. . . I invite all my clients
    to see what I'm shooting during a session. This helps them be involved and it takes some of the
    mystery out of the process.

    It sounds like she just wants to see what you shot .. . . just show her.

    Your letter sound a bit too defensive in my view. . . you sound like you think she's trying to take
    advantage of you.

    I like the fact that youre charging her, but you left out the part about what you already did . . . if she
    wants other shots instead of the ones you gave her originally, youre going to be in a jam. . .

    Make sure she knows what youre up to and why your doing it this way. . .

    Also, next time, make sure you and your client agree on the processes before you start shooting. . .
    every beginner learns this lessons a couple of times before they learn it . . .

  16. Hold your ground.
    You might need a tighter contract where you reserve the right to submit your choice for the final collection.
  17. hold your ground and youre sure to get your client to tell 10 of her friends that youre not the go to
    photographer. If you listen to the folks that dont understand customer service, you wont be in business
    very longer.

    I'm not saying they own you, I'm saying, in your case, show the photos, make her whole, even if it means
    you lose a bit, and she will tell 10 of her friends that you worked with her to meat her needs.

    I tell my clients that if they are not happy me I'll re shoot their session for free. In 10 years i've never had a
    single come back and, as far as I know, never had a bad word said about my services, and I operate in an
    very small world . . .

    Good luck . . .
  18. You're known by what you show; not by what you shoot. Control what you show. Only a small percentage of any shoot is worth showing.
  19. we are talking about one client, one private person. We are not talking about editorial or magazine. Of
    course youre known by what you show. But no one is saying, "put all your shots on the web" or, "show the
    world every image."

    If your client wants to see them, and you can manage to make that happen and there's no reason you
    should now show her, go ahead and do it. You need to make sure she has at least a satisfactory
    experience or she will be sure to do more long term damage to you than it's worth. Dont dig in your heals
    just to prove a point - as other's are suggesting you do. . .

    I wonder how many of these people who comment are actually in business.

  20. I remember watching documentaries about commercial photography (in the days of film) where client and phtographer stood over the light box reviewing all negatives - not culled options but the strips of everything the photographer took and it was up to the client which one was used.
    Why not in this case as well? Then you know you are spending time processing the right ones.
    But it is also wirth bearing in mind is that the ones you think are best (for technical reasons) are not necessarily the ones the client thinks are best (for emotional reasons). Why shouldn't the client have the option of which ones are processed? It is their money they are spending.
    I am in a client service industry that is not photography-related (can you tell?) - and if we told the client what service we were giving them for their money, we would not be in business long.
  21. I'll have to differ with you on that Mike. Here in the consulting and services universe I see, the companies that allow the customer to unilaterally define what they'll get for a given price are the ones that end up out of business. There is nothing wrong with setting expectations and boundaries around the execution of a paid-for service. Customers who want to re-define that relationship as the contract unfolds are usually not worth having (because they're not customers, they're more like tyrants, or never-ending pro bono projects).
  22. tru matt, but in this case is sounds like there was no agreement . . . I still cull the really bad shots and let
    the client see them on my monitor in a post shoot meeting ... . It's up to me to push them along to select
    the final few images (of their choice - with the number agreed to before the shoot) or they will nickel and
    dime you to death with your time. . . I'v found that they always want shots that i would never pick. . . I
    think as long as we are charging for out time and services the sky is the limit . . . You'd also be surprised
    at how many more images you'll sell if they get to see them all - minus of course the OOF, poor comp, and
    bad lit ones. . . .
  23. the companies that allow the customer to unilaterally define what they'll get for a given price are the ones that end up out of business.​
    I agree with you Matt. My point was that the photographer is agreeing to (for example) an 8-hour photo session and providing 50 processed photographs. And if you agree to give them 50 processed images, then does it matter if the 50 are the ones you select or the ones they select - why shouldn't the client have the option of having included in that set a fuzzy picture of Aunt Betty who lives in Nepal?
  24. If your post-processing work is significant and skillful, and you exercise good judgment when you cull, under some circumstances you can impress the client by showing raw images. In other words, if you let your client see all the shots you took, it can help her understand (and you should be there to explain) how much work you put into making perfect the images you select for the final presentation.
    Consider meeting her in person, rather than sending an email and a link. Go over the gallery with her sitting next to you, perhaps on your iPad, on your laptop in Lightroom, or using a hidden gallery on your site that you access only in her company (without giving her the link). You might tell her you're willing to edit one or, at most, two additional photos if she chooses one not in the original collection.
    Emphasize that she's paying you for your skill and judgment, not just for your ability to push a button on an electronic device. Don't be hoity-toity about this (speaking in a French accent, wearing a beret, and talking about your work as an artiste); just present it as a matter of fact that image selection is an important part of your service to her.
    If you do this in person, it will be a very high-touch experience for her, and you'll be able to take cues from her body language and how she reacts to the images. When you meet, you can explain why you rejected several of the images (it will only take about 5 or 6 for her to see what you're looking for).
    Doing this will prove how careful you are about showing only the very best images you take, and that the throw-aways are images that don't meet your standards. It will help build trust, and I predict will be the basis for her recommendation of you to others. It will satisfy her curiosity and also emphasize the degree to which you value her patronage (especially if you explain again that you typically refuse to do this at all).
    Clients typically appreciate pride in craftsmanship, and this is easier to convey in person than by email or phone.
  25. Yes she wants the outstanding images and the images "you" may think are not so great artistically are still outstanding to her because that is her child. Yes, I would also want even the bad photos of my child if I paid for them give then ALL to me and let me choose what I like or don't like. After all it is pictures of my child not yours so whats the deal. I think photographes get tooo caught up in the Art anf "ThemSelves" remember you are simply providing a service for someone who does not know how to do it for themselves. So don't then take possesion and make it difficult for them to get what they paid you for. Give her all of the pictures and move on and hope she continues to come back.
  26. Just last week I went fishing and brought home about 10 Large Cat Fish. I fellet them as I normally do and was ging to through away all the bones when my next door neighbor asked for them. I felt kind of bad that they would want the scraps, but gave it to them anyway. The next day they brought me a plate of what I had tossed and had wanderfully prepared the fish with rice and had made a substantial and very good meal from what I thought was scraps. I hadn't realized the meat closest to the bones is actually the most tender and there was a lot more there than I had realized. Unrealated, I know, but what you think are bad shots may not be to the client.
  27. M.P. wrote:
    I think photographes get tooo caught up in the Art anf "ThemSelves" ... So don't then take possesion and make it difficult for them to get what they paid you for.​
    Based on what Hannah wrote, she has already provided "what they paid [her] for." Hannah indicated that her original agreement with the client spelled out culling and editing as part of the process, and that the end result would be a subset of all images taken.
    That isn't getting "tooo caught up in the Art anf "ThemSelves" [sic]. Photographers, like other business owners, seek to establish a reputation, which includes demonstrating quality control and a discernible style. Carefully controlling what leaves the studio is an important part of establishing a photographer's brand.
    Only a commodity mindset would embrace the notion that each image is of equal quality. Except under employer-employee arrangements, the client does not own the photographer's work product. The client licenses it. The photographer has a strong incentive to guard her brand by publishing only those images that meet her standards.
  28. Show them all the images in person when you invite a client for an ORDERING SESSION - it's that simple.
  29. If I shoot portraits, I try to allocate at least half an hour towards the end of the session to go through ALL the photos taken during the session and uploaded to Lightroom and mark agreed number of photos that the CLIENT likes. These are going to be the photos that they will get processed. It also satisfies client interest in seeing the photos on screen so quickly after the shoot.
    I may remind them that I do not give away unprocessed photos because this may cost me a reputation.
    On the other hand, after shooting a wedding the other day, I provided a rather generous amount of photographs and the bride wanted to find a particular shot with her uncle. After hesitation, I downsized everything to tiny files, uploaded to the web (20 photos per page) and she spent X number of hours going through thousands of photos. In the end, the photo in question was not found (surprise! surprise!) but she asked for extra 60 photos unprocessed as "she was so good with photoshop". I decided not to spend my time on negotiations and simply burned CD with RAWs thinking that if she is so good, she would convert these files. If not, I would request payment for extra services as per contract that they signed before the wedding. They did not come back. Do I feel bad? To be honest, no.
    There are clients that ARE your clients, and there are clients that simply are NOT. Perhaps, I am wrong...
  30. What part of 'NO' don't people understand?
    I'm a professional architectural shooter - 30 years. I can't tell you how many times people want to see more than what I decide to show them. I have always guaranteed a minimum number of views, and I always over-deliver.
    You can't show bad exposures, raw files, and mistakes. Or anything you simply aren't proud to show. They'll either pick a bad shot or run around telling everyone what an amateur you are.
    Better to walk away from this client.
  31. What part of 'NO' don't people understand?
    I'm a professional architectural shooter - 30 years. I can't tell you how many times people want to see more than what I decide to show them. I have always guaranteed a minimum number of views, and I always over-deliver.
    You can't show bad exposures, raw files, and mistakes. Or anything you simply aren't proud to show. They'll either pick a bad shot or run around telling everyone what an amateur you are.
    Better to walk away from this client.
  32. What part of 'NO' don't people understand?
    I'm a professional architectural shooter - 30 years. I can't tell you how many times people want to see more than what I decide to show them. I have always guaranteed a minimum number of views, and I always over-deliver.
    You can't show bad exposures, raw files, and mistakes. Or anything you simply aren't proud to show. They'll either pick a bad shot or run around telling everyone what an amateur you are.
    Better to walk away from this client.
  33. Wow well, my suggestion is to show her some perhaps that you weren't thrilled with, but that are acceptable photographs, she is perhaps looking for something else. A very strange request indeed. Of course do not show her anything that might be considered sub par work. Good Luck with this one, there are always some in the bunch that have odd requests.
  34. I'm in the 'be pleasant and flexible but stick to your principals' camp, but...
    You know, I just finished watching Tamara Lackey on CreativeLive and was momentarily astounded at what she delivers to the customer, and at what price. It made me seriously reconsider what kinds of images have value. A magic moment, captured with what I might consider to be undesirable elements, may in fact be a very desirable and emotional photograph. Especially if you blow it out and make it all sepia or cross processed and over contrasty and artsy.
    Another example: I payed attention to the words-between-the-lines with another customer just today on another job, and sold two additional licenses on the spot. I had originally decided not to show them two technically acceptable but unspectacular images (in my opinion). So I whipped them out of the library, gave them a little trim and tuck, sent a couple of proofs, and the customer was thrilled.

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