opinion on personal work vs. paid session images

IndieNYC

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Hi,
Sometimes during a very cut & dry portrait or candid session with clients I take some photos that I would like to keep for exhibit or my website/etc. I don't necessarily think the client will even want these photos because they are more "edgy", but I feel like because it's good work and they paid for a session they should see it. What is your opinion on holding these back from the client (not putting them in the proof gallery/package)? What if the client sees it at an exhibit or on my website?
 

cgipson1

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I never showed my clients every shot I took, but I never displayed an image they didn't approve either. I gave them the best of the lot... and I only displayed the best of the lot. I would think some clients would get very upset if you were displaying images they never saw. Although it could be covered by contract, it could still be a real stinker.. if the client wanted to push it. If you shot it during a paid session.. it is not "personal" unless the client has agreed to that... it is still paid session work.
 
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IndieNYC

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Yes, I do all the things you wrote about in the beginning of your reply and I understand what you are saying about giving them the best work, even if some of the shots are vanguard and not what they are into?

Thank you.
 

cgipson1

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Yes, I do all the things you wrote about in the beginning of your reply and I understand what you are saying about giving them the best work, even if some of the shots are vanguard and not what they are into?

Thank you.

As long as they are aware of them, and give approval to display... no issue.
 

Gavjenks

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As for showing the client images, I don't think you should generally be showing them all images anyway, so that's a pretty easy solution. Why would clients even want to see every image? It's overwhelming for them, most look the same, they have no reason to care about blurry ones, etc. And it makes you seem less skilled when they realize how many are indeed blurry or weirdly exposed, etc. Even though you may have been doing everything right (e.g. maybe you are exposure bracketing on purpose and know that many will be off).

And if you don't agree to show them ALL your photos in the first place, then your issue is a non-issue... unless the photos are edgy ENOUGH that they may be pushing the limits of whatever your contract terms would be for the rest of the photos.

In which case you have two options:
1) Use a single contract that covers the broadest usage of the most sensitive photos (i.e. everything/worst case scenario, and overkill for the normal photos) you plan on shooting. With the assurance that you'll respect their wishes about what their boundaries are for different actual usages of different photos verbally. Do this if you can get away with convincing them to sign it, without making the model uncomfortable or annoyed/angry/dissatisfied. It's simplest, and it covers your ass the best.

2) If the model is unwilling to do the shoot with an umbrella contract, then its trickier. For example, if you were doing a nude shoot, some photos might be carefully posed to be tasteful and will be used for advertising or something, whereas others might be more explicit and used for a more restrictive fine art gallery or whatever only.

The safest thing to do in such a situation is to just do all of one kind of photo first, then the second kind, to make it absolutely clear and obvious. Just treat as two separate shoots, and use separate releases if relevant.

But sometimes that may be inefficient, especially with complicated sets or wardrobe or lighting changes happening where you may want both types of shot per setup. In such a situation, even if the model is aware of the different usages ahead of time and okay with both, they may not want to sign a contract that just says advertising is okay for everything and take your verbal word for it that you'll make the appropriate decisions yourself.

You could get around this by having two contracts, or two sections in the contract, with the different terms of usage, show the model both ahead of time and explain, and then clearly verbally indicate during the shoot whenever you are switching from one type of photo to another, allowing the model the opportunity to ask questions, monitor their own posing as may be appropriate, etc. Maybe even audio record (with notification) in case there are squabbles later.

But really, 95% of the time, you can and should avoid any such thing, and try to only do blocks of photos in a row that all fall under one set of terms.
 

orljustin

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Or hire a model for your edgier portfolio shots and don't try to con a paying client into being portfolio fodder.
 

kathyt

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You never know what the client will like or dislike until you show them. Throw a couple of the edgier ones in the gallery and see what the response is. If they were at the photo session then they know the images exist. Is isn't going to be a surprise. Sometimes I am really shocked at what images my clients end up picking. You just never know until you show them. I am not saying show all of them, just show them the best. You are the photographer and visionary behind the session, so lead the way.
 

amolitor

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If you're shooting your own work, you should pay the model. If you're shooting for the client, they should pay you. It's tempting to muddy this up, but I don't think it's a very good idea.
 

nycphotography

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In my opinion, you'd better make sure you have a release signed for any images you want to use for your portfolio or marketing materials.

It only takes one cranked off customer to wreck your reputation, potentially putting you out of the business in your area.

But really, it's not just becaus of the risk... it's just common courtesy / respect.
 

JenR

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First of all, be sure you have a signed model release for anything you might want to use on your website/advertising/etc. In a paid client session, I cannot imagine keeping images for my portfolio, but not adding them to the client gallery. If it is something portfolio-worthy, why in the world would you not show it to the client? As others have said, clients can surprise you about what they end up going for. As a client, I would be seriously angry if I later found images from my session on your website or whatever that were not included in my gallery. You would be deliberately keeping things from them and it just isn't right.
 

Steve5D

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I'm having a difficult time thinking of a reason you wouldn't show them.

Also, if you're doing a "candid" session (I'm not even entirely sure what that means), then those shots would likely fall right in line with "candid," which would be exactly what they're paying you for...
 

tirediron

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If you're shooting your own work, you should pay the model. If you're shooting for the client, they should pay you. It's tempting to muddy this up, but I don't think it's a very good idea.
^^This!^^ Exactly! When I want to do off-the-wall stuff, try something new, or experiment, then I'll do a casting call on MM and do a half for the model, half for me session.
 

curtyoungblood

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To the OP: I just spent several minutes typing up a response about how bad of idea this is, and then went back to re-read your post. I see that the conversation is getting a little derailed and into the realm of you doing strictly personal work during a photoshoot, but I don't think thats what you were asking.

I think that it is important to push yourself during every client session to try to get the best work possible. This includes trying some different stuff. If it doesn't work, don't show the client. If it does, give them the opportunity to buy it from you. However, I don't think it is ever a good idea to hold good images back from a client.
 

hirejn

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I have sole approval of images. My clients don't own any images in any way. Therefore they have no right to approve anything and the contract waives their approval rights. They have no business deciding what images I display for which reasons. No release is necessary for editorial use. Commercial use is different, so I would get a release for commercial use.
 

amolitor

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I have sole approval of images. My clients don't own any images in any way. Therefore they have no right to approve anything and the contract waives their approval rights. They have no business deciding what images I display for which reasons. No release is necessary for editorial use. Commercial use is different, so I would get a release for commercial use.

This is the kind of attitude that just puzzles lay people. They're paying you, after all, and find it perennially find it surprising that, apparently, they're also working for you and have no rights whatsoever.

ETA: Please don't lecture me on the law, I pretty understand the relevant parts pretty thoroughly.
 

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