Over and over, I may be asked by some clients one of these 2 questions:
- Can you send all the photos you took?
- Can you send all your photos non-retouched?
Over and over, I keep answering:
No, I only send a selection of carefully sorted out photos.
No, I only send meticulously retouched photos.
And no, because all good things come in threes!
Should I send all my event photos to my client ?
Of course not! Every client deserves to get the best of their event and nothing but the best: without focus errors, useless duplicates and no BS.
With digital technology, the amount of photos has literally exploded, from the take to our hard drives. Even though I’ve barely known the analog photography time, I like to apply its philosophy of scarcity as a precept. In these forgotten times when photo films cost a lot and cameras were far less powerful, photographers knew how to preserve their precious shutter for the benefit of an unmatched concentration and creativity. Few photos, but lots of quality.
Are you rather a paparazzo or a sniper ?
If a picture is worth more than a thousand words, an excellent picture is worth more than a thousand.
This is why I like to focus on capturing the essential, like a sniper who nails it from the first shot. 🎯 This is also why, by extension, I always limit myself to send a selection of the best photos for every single speaker – ideally from different angles – among the dozens and dozens of photos shot during several hours.
By the way, I’m always astonished when I meet “paparazzi-like” photographers who shoot speakers non-stop in continuous shooting mode, just like that! As if they were sportsmen! Can you imagine for one second your speakers running in shorts after a ball while giving a speech? 🤔
I’m even more astonished when I see or hear of photographers who send ALL of their photos = the bad ones (blurry, badly exposed, badly framed, etc.), and the good ones (duplicates, triplets, quadruplets…) which, put altogether, may remind you of the “Groundhog day”.
Which client does really have the time to sort out and select the best photos among hundreds or thousands of more or less identical photos? All of this because of a lazy photographer who thought that sorting out was useless. Do you?
Should I send non-retouched photos to my client ?
Of course not! This request, although less common than the first one, merits some attention.
#nofilter, scam of the century!
What if I told that every single photo on Earth is actually retouched in some way?! You may not know it, but when you take a photo with your compact camera or your iPhone, vous save a JPG file… whose rendering is arbitrarily defined by your device. For this reason, the hashtag #nofilter is probably the biggest scam of our times, because every device brand (or model) automatically applies its own “filter”, which gives a unique look!
If you are interested in this topic, you should have a look at the photos below and read this article on DXOmark.
100% #nofilter guaranteed! 😂
Why then JPG ? Because this file type is a universal standard recognized by all consumer devices (Smartphone, TV, PC, etc.) and professionals (web sites, printers, etc.). And nevermind if your photos seem oversaturated or underexposed here and there!
Like every photographer, I share JPG files with my clients. Except that, like every self-respecting photographer, I shoot in RAW, the digital equivalent of the negative (for those of you who remember the photo films). Why then? Because I do not want my camera to impose its own filter that may induce abnormally saturated colors or badly exposed areas. I truly doubt that my clients would appreciate it.
Yet, like its famous ancestor and piece of black plastic, a RAW file in itself is strictly useless for an end client !
What gives a photo its professional look?
In my opinion, 75% of the quality of a photo is achieved right from the take. Forget about the Photoshop legends: A missed shot right from the shutter release cannot be saved by the magic of any software.
What about the remaining 25%? Here we talk about the processing of the RAW files and more generally about general or local retouching of lights, contrasts and colors to get a correct look, which reflects the “reality”, at least the one perceived by the photographer.
This can also be advanced retouching to get an artistic “look”, which can by the way not necessarily reflect the reality. We photographers often see things, details that many people don’t. Therefore, sending a client a raw, unedited, non-retouched photo is counterproductive, as the result imagined by the photographer when s.he took the shot can only be achieved through a thorough creative retouching process.
In a word, retouching our photos is crucial, as this is what gives photos their “pro” and artistic look, specific to every photographer’s vision.
To complete the circle, this is also at this stage that I transform my negative RAW files into JPG so that my clients can use their precious photos.
Time is money!
When you afford a professional photographer, you hire an artist and a service provider whose goal is to help you maximize your time and the efficiency of your marketing & communication actions.
The morale is always the same : a pro event deserves a pro photographer!
Photo credit: Wolfgang Eckert on Pixabay