Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Why Shouldn't You Have It All?

My experiences on the other side of the lens have helped me develop a lot of my personal business practices I use with my current clients. I can see both points of view easily, and this allows me to be as fair and friendly as possible for my clients.

One policy that many digital photographers impose- that I will never ever understand for the life of me- is not to provide their clients who are getting the digital files, with the standard color image if they are going to give you an edited version such as a black and white, sepia or hand colored version.

Top: Hand colored version Bottom: Black and White The client got both of these versions and the full color version on their disc. A bit of a repeat? Maybe, but they were not left wishing they had a different version..they had them all right there at their fingertips! Notice how the different versions have a different feel to them.

It really does not take any more work from the photographer- at least if they are working smart in their post work. An image can take on a different meaning or evoke a different feel or emotion just by changing the way it is edited.

When I modify my images, add special tints or effects or change elements such as adding selective shading or blurring in post processing, I make it a point to provide my clients with the standard color file for several reasons.

First, it doesn't cost me any more time. Really. It doesn't.

Second, if the client is paying for their images, they should get them. Perhaps I love that particular image in black and white, but maybe they would like it in its rich and vivid color? Or maybe I have added an artistic element- they may want to see the image without the digital magic.

Third (and most importantly) I remember looking at portraits Kirk and I had had done, and gotten in one edit or another...and really wished I had the original. In some cases the edits that were done had lost elements to the image, or I just wanted to see the color version, or I had an idea for post work that I could not do without the proper original file (we used a newer photographer who was learning to edit, so sometimes either the edit was poor or incomplete or just plain awkward...glad to say her work has since blossomed and I would gladly recommend her).

This was such a big deal to me in fact, that when our wedding photography was done I asked the photographers to send me the raw files, without any editing. It did not happen (a handful were heavily modified without the plain color file provided) but it was only a few so I could easily go back and request the originals.

Whatever the reason, I believe my clients should have it all. I will admit, I can go a little overboard and in some cases clients get three or four versions of an image (very different editing styles) but I look at it like this: If I can give you more options, then it is likely that you will have something there you love. Thats my job...to take care of your needs and give you images that you love.

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