People wanting to see photos as you take them?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by M-5, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. M-5 macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008
    I'm wondering if you all have a policy as to showing or not showing your photos to people after you take them.

    Usually when I'm doing a small photoshoot for some friends or some set photography, I will take a ton of pictures knowing that only a fraction of them will actually be good photographs (ergo the ones I actually end up using). But I have found that right after taking the photo of the person, they will ask me to see their photo, and I usually politely say no. They're usually surprised, and I have been asked why I don't let people see the pictures I've just taken of them.

    This is my reasoning:
    1. It is very distracting for me to be taking photos and then have to constantly show the photo to the person right after.
    2. The photo might not be one that I think is a good shot, or the focus might be off when I view it on the laptop as opposed to the small DSLR screen, and they might ask me to post it or send it to them. (And I don't want to display work that I don't like)
    3. Like I said, I only use a fraction of the photos I actually take, and I don't want them to see and judge my work for the 'outtakes'.

    Basically, I don't want to show my unfinished work to people when I'm taking their photographs, and I was wondering what other photographers do asked to see the photos. I suppose it depends on who is asking.
  2. MCH-1138, Mar 21, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013

    MCH-1138 macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    It seems that there are (at least) two questions: (1) should I show the unedited in-camera images, and (2) who ultimately owns the work product?

    I'll tackle the first question, since I think that one is easier. I think it depends on how you work and what the flow of the shoot is. I agree that it would probably be rather distracting to have to show each shot as it is taken. But it would seem "standoffish" to me to refuse to show the in-camera images when asked by a client (whether paying or not).

    Maybe they just want to get some sort of visual feedback -- does their hair look okay, do they have an awkward smile, how does the background look, etc.? Regardless, if you are continuing with the shoot and just tell them "sorry, but no," your subject might in turn be more "standoffish" with you, thus preventing you from making the best images that you can.

    So I would probably show the photos, if asked. If I had concerns, I would explain that it can be difficult to see on the camera LCD whether the focus off, that I might plan to crop it or make other adjustments, etc. If it would interrupt the flow of the shoot, I would try to explain that, as well, but then provide an opportunity to look at the images once we reached a stopping point.

    I'll let others tackle the ownership/copyright/license question.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Back in the old days we used to use film that of course you could not see right away. But we also use a Polaroid back for the camera we could use for shooting proofs. I'd show a proof to anyone who needed to see it.

    So you might treat an in-camera image as a proof and share it if you need to ask "Is this what you are looking for", or to show what "is not working"

    What has happened in the last few years is that for 99% of people that tiny on-screen image is the final product. No one looks at printed photos. They load them into cell phones or iPads or whatever. Kind of makes you wonder why you bought a SLR with more then four megapixels.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    MCH-1138 makes some good points, and I agree with their points. I will add some thoughts though. I've started tethering my camera to a computer when shooting, and using a 32" TV to monitor the shots as I shoot. Recently I had portrait client in who used the monitor to check themselves as we shot. (I had explained that the colour was not necessarily accurate, and that the images were RAW - so might look funny until I messed about with them).

    As we shot I was listening to her reaction as she saw the images on the screen, and was able to very quickly narrow down the "look" she wanted. Within a very short period we had a set of images all very similar and very much what she wanted. At that point we just ended session, and I was able to give her a selection of those images after I had done my post work on them. The "out-takes" we never looked at again. My client was smart enough to know a bad photo when she saw one.

    While my non-portrait sessions generally tend to be solo affairs (no client present) - I have no problems showing them the shots on the monitor as I shot should they be present. That's the nice thing about the external monitor, you can keep shooting while the client is looking.

    The other nice thing is that I have duplicated my RAW conversion application on the remote computer. So if I want to show the client something that can be done in post, I can. For instance, if I recognize the shot as being "done" - I can show the client some quick edits (contrast, lighten the shadows, etc) to give them a sense of what the finished image will look like. I can also get feedback from them regarding how saturated or contrasty something should be, or perhaps they want a spot light added to a particular part of their product.

    Most clients have very little idea of what they want, until they see it. I like to do the optometrist thing 'Do you like this.... or that.... ? ' 'OK, how about this, or that?' Once they see what they want they know. It's just hard for them to explain what they want.
  5. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Quite a number of pro's do this. Peter Hurley in his DVD (and Kelby Training video) on shooting headshots, emphasizes this so that, like you, can help the client see what they're doing right...and wrong, and help get the best shots.

    If your camera supports Eye-Fi SD cards (or has a separate wireless transmitter), there's an iPad app called Shutter Snitch that will capture images wirelessly and show them on an iPad (if you're in studio, simply tether to a computer).
  6. filmbufs macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2012
    I don't think I would be so cryptic, even though I understand your reasoning. After taking the first picture, are you moving right away into adjustments and firing off a second picture, etc? If you are busy creating, there's not too much time for show-n-tell.

    That being said, you could use their curiosity to your advantage. After taking your first shot, show them your screen and make a suggestion on their pose. Not only will this indicate a work-in-progress picture, it will enable them to be a collaborator and focus on their next pose in order to get the best picture. Keep firing off pictures, making adjustments as needed, and moving at a pace that does not contribute to show-n-tells. When you get a shot you like, take the initiative and show them the picture. This provides positive reinforcement and a good working relationship. Taking the initiative also helps you avoid showing every picture.

    If they ask for an unfinished picture, simply tell them you'll send it to them as soon as it's finished. Then move their direction back to the shoot. If they ask for an unfinished picture at the end of your shoot, remind them that you still have to edit them but you will send their favorite image (as a sneak peek) to them that day (if possible.) Then concentrate on that image as the first one you edit.
  7. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
    Whenever I'm shooting a model, inevitably she'll ask to see some of the shots on the back of the LCD because 1) she wants to get an idea of how it's looking, 2) she can adjust if necessary, and/or 3) seeing previews gives her more confidence in the shoot. Also, seeing some of the shots will give her ideas on how she can pose or reposition herself for me, which helps me in the end to get even better shots.

    Unless your lighting sucks, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to show the back of the LCD to your subject. Even if you shoot RAW, the camera is generating a half-decent JPEG to display on that LCD screen which will look fine. If anything, the colors displayed on the LCD might be your one concern. I used to just set my WB to Flash for portrait shoots, but I've found that it always looks way too warm on the back of the LCD, so I just shoot auto white balance so it looks decent on the LCD and then I can just set the WB in post (grey card or guessing, then batch apply/sync in LR).
  8. Ppq macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2012
    i don't like showing unprocessed shots to client or anyone, because i consider it as input and I am really particular about what the result is. because only final result counts.

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