This has been a hot topic for a while. Parts of this article and testimony can be associated with wedding photography.
You will see up and coming photographers who hand out all their images on a CD to someone in order to get more business. There are several things wrong with this. I’m going to attempt to bring out a few finer points, paste some snippets from other site members and see if the viewers understand how all this works, or doesn’t!
On the average, based on estimates from those in the professional photography industry, 1 image out of 100 is going to turn out absolutely perfect. If you fire off 200 shots during a shoot you’ll have a few that are outstanding. But more on that is that you’ll probably have 3-5 others that really stand out, while not matching the first few you chose. Is it realistic that you only have 10 awesome images from a shoot? The answer is “Yes”. If you have a shoot with 200 shots and there are 4 clothing changes or location changes. This leaves you with approximately 50 images that are going to look similar. When you look at 50 similar images you note the redundancy after 10-15 and lose interest in the ones that follow afterward. So is it beneficial to have a large number of redundant images? That answer is, “probably not”.
Would you rather have 100-200 half done, unedited images or 5-10 that are outstanding?
From a photographer’s point of view:
For industry professionals there is more at stake then just a pretty picture. The process and time involved is lengthy and can become really involved. So, when we plan a shoot we go to great lengths to tie up loose ends and make sure we meet the needs of the model/family/band, etc. We spend time planning, cropping, changing the resolution, post processing, and resizing the image to meet the needs of the customer. Any image that leaves my computer will be edited and I’m not editing 100 – 200 images to put on a CD and give to someone.
For those who like taking pictures, it’s a no-brainer to shoot for an hour and give up images. I often see those who will turn over a CD full of images. This is a quick way to please the customer but in due time will come back to haunt the photographer since an expectation has been set. What can a customer do with unedited, half-done images? There isn’t a lot.
Fact: The general public isn’t able to recognize a good image from a bad one unless they’re being compared.
Years ago, I remember someone telling me “When you give away less than perfect images, that’s what the people see, work that is less than perfect”. Let’s say I gave away an image and let the customer process it. It could be good or bad. If the case arose where the image was a bad edit and it was posted on the Internet, anyone could see it and make their own assessment of the image. If they didn’t like it and I were given credit for the image, it would come back on me. Fortunately, I can do my own editing.
My own points of view:
After being burned a few times I find it easier and efficient to put proofs on a web site where they can be viewed. I’ve had images show up on the Internet, proofs given to someone’s friend so they could edit them and a lot more. I’ve even had someone take camera phone pictures of their computer monitor so they could post it on the Internet. I have even given out web size images and have had people want to print them out, give them to magazines or friends to publish. (See my note on copyrights)
* I am too proud of my work to let unfinished work get out.
* My time to edit each image is worth something.
* If I were to give away a CD with finished printable images that would be cutting myself out of sales.
* I have 1-2 hours editing time on 10 images at times. Add that to 1-2 hours + travel for a shoot and the sitting fee really isn’t a lot of money. It’s like working for minimum wage.
* I want to give you the best work, nothing less.
The masses tend to agree. Here are some snippets from a professional site where photographers commented on this subject: (Language)
* Personally I do not provide a CD of the entire shoot, unedited. If you many of the threads on this subject, most of the very experienced models that have responded agree. They want 3-5 of the best per look, which is what I typically commit to – delivered within 2 weeks unless we agree on a different time line.
* I don’t want anything back that isn’t the final product. I have no use for images that I look shitty in, so why waste the photographer’s time putting them on a disk Ill look at once? Email me some finished images and I’m good.
As a photographer, I will not give out unedited images. I spend too much time on my editing to have some asshat come in and try to do their own work. I provide web edits of the better images before final editing, final edits and access to a printer if the model so wishes to purchase actual prints.
* YOU can have all the shitty myspace photos posted all over the place you want…I’ll stick to controlling the quality of my work.
* WRONG…you’re judged by ANY work that is associated with your name.
* I never want them, pretty much for the same reasons you state. I trust that the edited images the photographers will give to me will be to my liking, and I’m very rarely let down on their choices.
* “would you go to a restaurant and ask a chef for all the ingredients or for the meal?”
That’s going to be my answer whenever a model asks for all the images on CD. well, at least that’s what I said last night when a model told me that all the photographers she’d worked with before gave her all the images on CD and asked why I didn’t.
I stand firm on this.