It’s the question that professional photographers dread hearing from clients.
“Where are the rest of the images?”
Typically, photographers provide clients with an estimated number of images they can expect to receive from their session. However, they also shoot a lot more at the session. So why aren’t those images shared? What if you don’t see an image you think the photographer created? What if you feel that a shot was missed? Why can’t you make the final call about what images are in the proof gallery?
In short, you hired a professional photographer based on what you saw in their portfolio, and their ability to replicate that consistently in every photo shoot. You really just have to trust that the photographer has made the correct call about what to show you in the proof gallery.
“Fine. But honestly, where are the rest of the images and why can’t I see them? I heard you shooting almost 2-3X as many as are in the proofs gallery.”
Photographers overshoot – the degree to which they do that, depends on the photographer, and the type of photography. Some photographers have a low shoot ratio (low number of shots in relation to number of keepers), and some have a high ratio. The reasons behind over-shooting can range from uncertainty about a situation or lighting; the inability to capture a specific shot because of eye blinks or expression changes; experimentation (trying a photo with different apertures, crops, angles or lenses); or simply not wanting to miss anything at the session. Whatever the reasons, the photographer never believes at any point in time that they will show you everything they shoot.
Sometimes the photographer is testing out the light or just getting a feel for how you look behind the camera. Sometimes they want to shoot while moving around you to figure out what makes you look best. Sometimes, especially in group photos, the photographer is shooting extra images because they are managing the expressions, body language and behavior of everyone in the group and s/he is working to avoid head-swapping and major corrections in post-production. Sometimes the photographer is trying something new has no intention of showing the photo unless it surpasses their expectations.
And sometimes, the shot just isn’t good due to motion blur; closed eyes, defects in the product; the model’s zipper being was undone or a hand placed incorrectly. Maybe the photographer saw something inappropriate that required adjustment.
But whatever the reason, the photographer is using their experience and judgement to show you a gallery of images that has been edited to best represent the photography that you hired them to create.
For every gallery that comes out where the client wishes they saw “more,” there is a client that wishes their photographer had edited down to just a few images. When clients are shown too many images they are left thinking, “These 5 shots are all identical, I wonder if he felt he had to include them all because he didn’t like the rest?” If a gallery is comprised of a few great shots and the rest are “filler,” you will not feel any more satisfied than you would if you saw all of the images. Inevitably, if the photographer decides to include a sub-par shot from a series, that is the one shot the client will focus on and remember.
So unless you feel that entire segments of your session are missing, trust that the photographer has culled their images by editing out unusable photos and exact duplicates to provided you with the range that they feel most represents their style. Quite often asking for “more” images in the proofing gallery, because you believe more images were shot, results in more a difficult editing process and does not produce any more useable images for your campaign.
As a client, do your homework and invest in a commercial photographer that has the experience to create consistent quality images. Discuss your photography goals, as well as what you can expect to receive as an outcome from the shoot. Beyond the number of shots, get a general idea of what is included in the proofing gallery and trust that your photographer is showing the best images from the shoot.
Adapted from The F Stops Here, an exclusive collection of articles by Design Aglow.
Brett Gilmour makes corporate and advertising photography for Canada’s most successful businesses including Chevron, AECON, Shell, Brookfield Properties, General Electric, Edelman, Tenaris and Intrawest. His photographs appear in brochures, on billboards, in magazines, at trade shows, on the web, TV and packaging around the world. Brett is Past-President of the CAPIC Prairie Chapter (Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators) and the Calgary Marketing Club. For 3 years he was Film Selection Jury member at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Brett has spoken about film and photography at universities, colleges and theaters across North America. Brett is based in Calgary, Alberta and is available for interviews, Tel: 403-540-5530 or www.brettgilmour.com.