When it comes to providing your clients with their wedding photos, more is not always, well, more. Internationally acclaimed South African wedding, commercial, and fashion photographer, Brett Florens has some great advice when it comes to handing over extra prints or negatives to clients. Over his career, Florens has accumulated numerous accolades including the distinction as a Nikon® Wedding Photographer, one of 12 photographers chosen as the best in their field at the Photokina Exhibition in Germany.
Most clients want to get the most bang for their buck. In their minds, more is better. Whether a photo is professionally touched up or not, they want every image you shot. Who wouldn’t want more? In the mind of your client, it’s a no-brainer – just dump all the photos you chose to leave out of the final product onto a disc and hand it over. The truth is it’s not hard to do so, but it’s a flat-out bad idea. Here’s why.
Let’s step away from photography for a quick second – If you were a writer, would you hand over an unfinished set of poems to your publisher to use however they wanted? No, and if you did, the quality of your work could be compromised. The same can be said for your photos. Once you hand over a disc of your images, your ability to control the quality of your work flies out the window. Most of the time, your clients end up emailing those photos out to friends and family immediately, reducing the size and quality even further so they can add them as email attachments. Sometimes they even print it out on a standard printer and frame it. Yes, that could be your terrible photograph hanging on the wall!
It’s even worse when a client, looking to save a few buck by choosing to put together your quality images together by themselves or with a cheaper third party option. You might be able to recommend that your client take the disc to a top-notch photo lab for development, but you’ll have zero control on whether or not they take your advice. In addition, your creative control is completely lost – they might even be coupling your images with another photographer in the final product! How you choose to shoot an event is how you choose to tell it’s story. Adding in other viewpoint is a disaster. It’s the same as giving a stranger your poems to order, print and lay-out. So much can be lost.
Many professionals choose to include with their service fee a high resolution disc of all the touched up images with their albums. If you are aiming for a high-end clientele, you are doing yourself a disservice. You are also doing yourself a disservice if you hand over negatives. Why? Just like I explained above, you lose all control over those images. The solution is to put those images on your site. If they really need to share them, they can simply link to your website. I make up to 40% more on post-wedding sales from the wedding, when parents, friends, and family members purchase albums, canvases, and framed images. Based both on pure numbers and on quality control, it just doesn’t make business sense to hand over images to a client that they cannot get anywhere else.