Posts Tagged ‘client’
When clients ask why I don’t deliver unretouched RAW files, without getting into a long diatribe listing the many reasons why I retain all files and only deliver client selected retouched versions, the simplest answer seems to be “quality control”.
I can completely understand why clients may feel as though the images they paid good money for are being held hostage. I empathize with the stress a designer may feel when the client wants an ad out the door ASAP and you can’t get in touch with the photographer. I can also relate to the desire for any party to wipe their hands clean and to not feel chained and reliant on a photographer to accomplish their goals. My business practice of retaining control of the images is not an evil plot to make others lives miserable, on the contrary, it is to ensure that you look good and the client is well served. Once I let an image out free into the world, I no longer have control, but unfortunately am the first to blame when it doesn’t look good, so yes, there is a selfish element here. My work and business are judged on the image and I need to do everything possible to control it’s quality. Fortunately for the client, what best serves my business and reputation serves them as well.
While I am sure to have more blogs on this subject as well as on the value of retouching and the time involved in doing so, perhaps for now, a before and after picture from a shoot when weather was not cooperating, may in fact best illustrate why I prefer to control the final outcome of the image.
I have to shoot an aerial tomorrow for a client and had to do something today that was difficult for me and went against my personal quality and aesthetic standards. I booked a helicopter and a pilot for 1:00 in the afternoon, the worst time to photograph when the light is so high and flat, depleting the earth of all depth and shadows. Not an ideal situation for creating beautiful aerial images. Not only did I go so far as to research the suns zenith, or highest point in the sky, but I scheduled it before the buds on the trees had a chance to sprout their beautiful light green leaves. Why you ask……… Because that is what best served the client and their needs, not mine.
Long story short, the shoot is for reference purposes in a law suit where personal property (trees) were destroyed and to best illustrate that, it requires having the property line clearly marked and visible and out of the shadows of the nearby mature trees. As difficult as it is as an artist to go into a job with no intention of creating beautiful photography it is a valuable exercise that reminds me that my needs and or desire to create great photography is secondary to what my clients needs are. It is wonderful when the clients needs perfectly align with ones own vision and expectations as a photographer but the reality is, when you shoot commercially for a living, your job first and foremost is to put aside personal creative goals and to focus intently on understanding your clients needs and delivering a product that serves them, not yourself.
So for now, as much as I love photographing from a helicopter in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is more dramatic and creates great shadows and depth on the landscape below, I will have to approach the job as we always should and do what best meets the goals of the client, not our own and create an image that although may not be beautiful, is effective.