What to do when a client asks to see all photos taken during their session

It is common for clients to not understand your business process or why you do what you do.  

The fact that they heard your shutter click hundreds of times but only have 50 or so photos in their gallery can be quite confusing (of course more for wedding photographers).  

Pleasing your customer is very important but showing less than quality images per their request is just down right disastrous. Your client galleries should show nothing but stellar examples of who you are as a photographer and as a company.  

But how do you handle the request?  Simple, education and strong conviction is a must.  


Educating the your clients on your standards & process

Develop a Photo Session Care Card or What To Expect document which you can send to your clients prior to their session.  This document should include common FAQ's and also a summary of what they will see when its time to view their photos.  

Answering questions before they arise can save you a ton of time going over something later that your client feels they were "cheated out of" such as seeing EVERY image taken from their session or not receiving the RAW copies, which many customers now ask for.  


When should you send this type of document to your clients?

Educating a client prior to their session is essential to ensure they are not disappointed later.  If a client understands your process and why you have it in place they are less likely to feel cheated out of something they did not receive. In our What To Expect document we explain why we take more photos than a customer sees and what they should expect in their client gallery on the day of viewing.

Even at the beginning of a session its great to go over some things they can expect to happen.  This is a perfect time to let your client know that they will hear your shutter click more times than you will have photos of.  Describe that this happens because you are checking your lightening, taking multiple photos in case of blinking and also to see if a pose plays out on camera the way you see it in life.

 All things aside, not every photo will make the cut.  Over explaining this is always helpful in business because your client will feel you are doing it for their good and because you care about quality.  


How to handle a customer that makes a request to see all pictures taken even though you have stated your process

Sending formal written responses to these types of requests is very important for documentation purposes.  Be clear on your process, remind them to review the What To Expect document and ensure you are straight forward without being rude or insensitive.  Here is an example of a professional response to a common request from clients to see all images taken from their session.  


I am so happy to have photographed your beautiful _______ session and know you must be over the moon to see anything that came out of my camera that day.  However beautiful they are, there are always those shots that are less than perfect due to blinking, off colors or other situations out of our control.  It is our process to only show what is of highest quality and we take more photos to ensure that we can provide you with a large amount of these.  It is not our process to show any images other than those that were chosen as finest quality. This is our strict process. Trust me when I tell you that those chosen were done with care and consideration.  Doing business with high standards is our mission. I am sure you can appreciate the great care taken to showcase your special day in this manner.


Why you would NOT show all images from a session

Client galleries are a display of your talent and professional level.  What you show your clients will leave a lasting impression.  Giving them anything less than your best will make them feel you are all over the board.  Now of course many of the outtakes we have from a session are out of our control such as blinking or unexpected photo bombs but still a client sees this as our work.  

A gallery review is much like a job interview.  You are showing your client what you have as far as talent and quality.  If you go into a job interview and tell them all the times you made a mistake won't that stand out in their mind later when they are deciding if you are right for the job?  Display yourself and your work with pride and care.   In conclusion, having a business process is pertinent and standing firm on it is without question imperative.   You can not run a business being too soft and giving in on things that have valuable reason behind them such as standards and quality, which is the case here.


  • Jenn Canfield

    This happens so often to me…drives me nuts – this is a wonderful idea!

  • Ashley

    My wedding photographer gave us the edited photos and all of the unedited photos on separate disks. My husband and I are not super photogenic but every photo we have from that day is simply amazing. When you’re a good photographer, there are no bad photos. And on the other hand people need to keep in mind that everyone’s opinion of a “good” photo is different. How can you only select a portion of the work and feel that you’ve accutately captured the subject as they would see it?

  • lenalu39451@gmail.com

    How would you reply if someone said I can’t afford a photographer at my wedding but how much would you charge to edit some of my pics that someone else takes for me? Yeah this just happen to me today

  • David Loud

    One of the things I’ve had to deal with as a customer is that the photographer meets us for a few minutes, but doesn’t really know us. My wife has the uncanny inability to smile naturally for the camera, and every photographer has the uncanny ability to pick the photos where she looks most unnatural. I’ve never requested to see “all” the pictures, but I’ve requested to see more, and then show the photographer the facial expressions that better suit my wife. When a customer asks to see “all”, they might simply be asking to see a different selection of facial expressions.

  • Lindsey Rabon

    Great article! I had a client questioning why they couldn’t see EVERY image from their wedding! Could you imagine that ridiculously huge gallery. This wording is so wonderful to help me explain it.

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