There’s nothing worse than wrapping up a shoot that you’re really proud of only to have your client tell you that they’re not happy with the final images. If this happens, you really only have two options: either take the time to re-shoot or provide a refund. Either way, there’s about a zero percent chance that you will get a referral from them. By simply sharing your images with your clients on set, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and you can begin the editing process with peace of mind and confidence that your client is going to be thrilled with your final product.
A lot of the clients I work with rely on my creative vision for the shots they want. This can be frustrating at times because after all, the images are for them, and I’m not a mind reader. A client might say that they don't know what they want out of an image, or I hear, “I don’t care, it’s up to you, you’re the professional.” True, I am a professional, and I know what I want out of the shoot, but when they say they don't have an opinion that is almost always a lie. If they’ve already hired you, they definitely have an idea for the final product. It’s our job as photographers to figure out what that is, and deliver.
The easiest way to make sure you and your client are both headed in the right direction is to simply not be shy about showing them the images on the back of your camera. I don't mean that you should stop after every frame and show them, but take the time to let your client review the images as you’re taking them so they can adjust their pose or expression. I have only had one or two clients ever say that they didn't want to see the images. If you ever run into this situation, just tell them that you want to make sure that they are happy with the images. But remember not to be too pushy. If they are really adamant about not reviewing the images then just let it go and continue with the shoot. As I previously stated, I have personally never run into this situation but I’m sure it’s happened to some of you.
Companies like Tether Tools make it simple to share your images in both studio settings as well as on location with their new Case Air which transfers images from a DSLR to a smartphone or tablet. I personally mount an iPad to my stand on location and face it toward my subject so they can view the images as they come through. Of course, if you’re in a run-and-gun situation and don't have the ability to tether to a computer or tablet, showing your client the back of your camera every once in a while will suffice. After all, your client is as much a part of the creative process as you are, even if they don't know it. It’s only fair for them to be in the loop every step of the way rather than being in the dark.
There are plenty of people on both sides of the aisle when it comes to the argument of whether or not you should show your client images on set. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself “what is best for the client?” I have always found that being as transparent as possible is the best plan of action. Even in a collaborative situation where the images are just as much for you as they are for the model or whoever you’re shooting with, it’s still important to share your images because it’s not all about the photographer.
So I guess the question stands, do you share images with clients on set? If you don’t, why not? I would love to hear an alternate opinion on this. I know you’re out there.