I have been blogging a lot about my sessions recently, but I also wanted to start writing about some of my experiences as a photographer, as well as use this blog to educate my clients a little bit. I have lots to talk about, and I love to write, so let's get to it.
My new clients may notice, that unlike other photographers, I never post sneak peeks on social media, or email them sneak peeks. That's because I don't do sneak peeks. That wasn't always the case though. I used to email all of my clients sneak peeks. Early on, I used it as a way to validate my editing choices before showing them the full gallery. I was new, and still defining my style, so I wanted to make sure that before editing 50+ images, the client and I were on the same page. Well guess what? They were happy,. Every single time. It was newbie jitters on my end, which is normal, but I stopped doing it for that reason. I found my style and learned to trust my instincts.
What I also noticed about these sneak peeks, was that I always sent them the absolute best photo in the gallery, since they were only seeing one (or maybe two) photos. I wanted to really wow them, and I was excited to share them. When I have a session, I usually have a lot of shots of the little 'moments in between', the ones that really tell the story and bring it all together. But maybe as a one off, those photos wouldn't have the same impact on the client. And that's what you want, right? To move them in some positive way. So I picked the very best and that's what I sent to them.
However, when I really started to think about it, I felt like I was diluting the experience for my clients somehow. If I gave it all away up front, what did they have to look forward to when they got the full gallery? Wouldn't I want them to go through the gallery in its entirety, and experience every moment (I always encourage them to view the slideshow) and blow them away as their story unfolds for the first time before their eyes? Yes. I wanted to have a greater impact on them when they viewed the gallery. So I would wait, no matter how good they were or how excited I was.
But there were other reasons to do away with sneak peeks in my photography business.
To me, and I don't say this to knock other photographers at all, but posting an image on social media of the client, that the client has never seen, seemed... impersonal somehow. These are their photos, of their family, and they paid good money for them. Shouldn't they be the very first people in the world to see them? And what if they don't like the image you posted? What if they don't understand how it tells the story because it's out of context? Remember those "in between moments" I mentioned? Or maybe they just don't like the way they look in that particular image. We see it all the time, the image we, as photographers, fall in love with, our clients don't like. Because we are looking at it from two completely different perspectives. I'm very sensitive when it comes to posting pictures of my clients, even though they all sign the release. I always want to treat them with respect, and not just as another image to share.
At the end of the day, these are just my personal feelings on the matter. Some photographers do the sneak peek successfully and the clients love it. Maybe they found a better way to do it (holding back that really great shot) or their clients love seeing it on social media. I know myself well enough to know that I won't be able to hold back that amazing shot, so I'll just wait and do it when the time is right for all of us. I want the entire process from booking the session- through ordering digitals or prints- to be an amazing experience for my clients, every move I make, is carefully thought out. So, if you book me, you have been warned... :)