I recently posted an engagement photo in a Facebook group and immediately got a comment on it. The comment said: "Awful expression on her face... would not keep this picture." Although I have pretty thick skin when it comes to snide comments and CC on my images, this comment really got under my skin.
The photo (which is pictured above) is clearly a fun, goofy photo. It shows what kind of couple they are and how they naturally are with one another. It's honestly one of my favorites from their set. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have posted it if she hadn't already put it on social media and clearly was ok with it being shared.
The whole conversation made me think about why I actually deliver a lot of the outtakes to my clients. The photos you shouldn't keep are usually the ones with the most character. Who wouldn't want silly photos of themselves? It makes me question this industry and our obsession with only the "epic" shots. You're not always going to have a mountain or a cliff to put people on, and even though I really love those images, it's not always attainable or real.
As a community, we need to stop taking everything so seriously and realize that the silly photos are actually the ones we should probably be keeping. So, here are are three reasons why you shouldn't toss all of your outtakes.
Clients Love Them
I have literally never had a couple angry at me for delivering the crazy-faced, silly photos. It normally provides them with a really good laugh, and it allows them to remember the session and our time together as happy and fun. It makes them forget if they were awkward or stiff.
It Shows Real Personality
Your clients don't always have a stern look or a huge fake smile plastered on their face. It's hard to convey someone's real personality through staged photos. Having your clients goof off or jump around and be silly is a great way to let that shine through. You want them to be able to see themselves in their images and not just deliver a bunch of photos in which they don't recognize the people in them.
It's a Real Moment
I don't think this needs much explaining. Real moments will normally trump staged ones.
The main thing I want you to take away from this is to not automatically discard the less than desirable faces. Take into account whether your clients would get a good laugh or would love to have them first. Who cares if you give them something that's not portfolio worthy? They'll love it and will hopefully give you referrals and tell their friends how much fun they had. Making our clients happy should come first, and if that means stepping outside of the "epic" shot box, then we should do it.