"Will I receive all the digital negatives?"
I hear or see this question often. It’s one of those questions that someone will tell you to ask to make sure your photographer isn’t pulling a fast one on you. One of my best friends asked me if it was a reasonable request when she was looking for a wedding photographer.
I address this issue in our FAQ, but I wanted to expand on it because I think it warrants a real-talk discussion. Because there is no sure-fire model for starting a photography business, photographers have to figure out a lot of things by themselves. Thus, one photographer may do things completely differently from the next.
There is no right or wrong, but what is often overlooked is the fact that our potential clients have not spent countless hours making decisions about the minutiae of running a wedding photography business. On top of that, other people don’t think of their pictures the way photographers do. Because pictures are easy to come by with nearly every gadget boasting a decent camera, one individual picture does not hold much weight with the average person.
As soon as you start calling yourself a photographer, your pictures represent you and you only want to put the best ones out into the world with your name on them. Not the maybes, or the meh’s-- the good stuff. The idea of showing anyone the other stuff becomes terrifying. It has taken a conscious effort for me to not cringe when Stephen asks to see all the photos taken for a specific job or event, or my take.
Which brings us right to the reason that many photographers will scoff at your request to see every single, dingle picture they took on your wedding day: Do I want you to see my whole take? No, not particularly. And it’s not because I’m holding out on you, it’s simply quality control. When your name is on something that you care about, you want it to be damn good.
So before you rule out a photographer for not cooperating with your request to show you all their cards, consider the fact that it’s not because they don’t care, it’s because they really, really do. Also, I said it before and I’ll say it again, we have absolutely nothing to gain by withholding great pictures from you. We want you to love your pictures, we want you to have them in your hands and homes and we want you to run around like lunatics showing the whole damn village until they get tired of you.
I hope this post was helpful and I really hope it clears up some doubts and fears. If you’ve talked about this with someone, it would be great to see what they have to say. As always, feel free to leave comments, even if you disagree with me.
San Francisco documentary wedding photography by Nicole Cross and Stephen Morrison We use our experience in photojournalism to capture your wedding as it unfolds. We have a sense of humor and would love to see yours. 43rd Ave. Photography offers wedding photography in San Francisco and the Bay Area.