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Why You Don’t Receive Every Frame I Shoot

I’m kind of bummed that I even have to write this out. So many of my clients entrust me to capture their time on Maui and I LOVE doing this. Recently, I have had to explain myself and why I do not give out every frame that I shoot at a session. I sat and thought about how to write this out and then I read an article by fellow photographer Jillian Ryan that had me nodding my head “yes” to every statement she wrote. Like her, I hate saying NO to clients. I am usually a really laid back, accommodating person. But on this request, I must say NO.

Allow me to explain myself…

I am directly quoting Jillian here because it’s EXACTLY how I feel,

“To photographers, pictures aren’t just little files we take two minutes to go through and burn to a disc. Boom! Done. Time to watch American Idol.

We actually spend loads of time editing and choosing the best ones to give to our clients. We do this not only because we want you to have the best possible images, but also because our photos are an expression of who we are as artists and individuals. To us, releasing unedited outcast images feels like selling our creative soul. I’ve never done it, but when I’m asked, my heart actually physically hurts.

Imagine you just read Harry Potter for the first time. You really loved it and immediately want to read more. So you go and ask JK Rowling to give you all her drafts of the new books she’s writing so you can read them right away – even though they’re written in some kind of crazy shorthand. You tell her it’s really fine, you don’t care how it reads, you just need more!

She probably wouldn’t hand ‘em over, would she?

Respectable professionals in any career field want to give people the best of their work. We choose not to give you all those other images for a reason: they’re simply not as good!

With all that said, I understand this request. I really do. Before I started doing photography, I thought it was a little unfair that photographers wouldn’t just give me all the photos. It seems easy enough. But the truth is, professionally and emotionally, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

During the course of the session, I am taking exposure shots to meter for light. My hip may occasionally bump the shutter button and take a random motion shot. A person may move around and the focus is thrown off. There is no good reason for a client to want these files. Additionally, I also remove universally unflattering images – eyes are closed, hair is in the face, mouth is open, arms/legs are bent awkwardly. I do not want my name attached to images that unflattering, period. These unflattering images happen to us all – remember the images of Beyonce that were floating around the internet recently? Here we have an incredible specimen of a human being and even she has bad angles (thank goodness).

Hard to believe, but even Beyonce has unflattering moments.

Hard to believe, but even Beyonce has unflattering moments.

The bottom line is this – please hire me because you trust my artistic knowledge of photography, my expertise in editing and giving you the best of everything that I have. I live my life Pono – always doing what is right. And while you won’t hear me say NO often, I politely say it for this request. Mahalo nui!

  1. Tracy Glass says:

    I totally back you on this! Your photos are your calling card – you should never be expected to put anything out there you aren't 100% proud of!!! I think the misunderstanding really lies in the distinction of a photographer as an ARTIST rather than a skilled laborer. If someone wants a photographer who takes a zillion photos and sends every one out they should skip a professional photographer altogether and get a photo booth or ask their aunt nancy to bring her iphone.

  2. Tracy Glass says:

    I totally back you on this! Your photos are your calling card – you should never be expected to put anything out there you aren’t 100% proud of!!! I think the misunderstanding really lies in the distinction of a photographer as an ARTIST rather than a skilled laborer. If someone wants a photographer who takes a zillion photos and sends every one out they should skip a professional photographer altogether and get a photo booth or ask their aunt nancy to bring her iphone.

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