So you’ve spent years learning about how to capture the most beautiful pictures of food. You finally started building connections and reaching outside of your comfort zone to get clients. Now you finally have clients and you’re getting started as a commercial or editorial food photographer……but now what?
This is where you’re going to run into all kinds of questions about business, professionalism, contracts, licensing, and so much more. This was me when I first got started. One of the things you may be wondering about is how many photos should you give to your clients per photoshoot?
This post is all about how to find out how many photos you should be giving to your food photography clients.
There are many factors that may determine how many photos your client is going to want. Many clients will specify how many photos they need when you are discussing the shoot. However, every client and photoshoot is different and you may run into a scenario where you are unsure.
Figuring out how many photos to give to your food photography client
A good rule of thumb is to plan about 25 photos per hour for a basic food photo shoot. So for a 4 hour photo shoot that would be 100 finished photos for you to send to your client. This table can help give you an estimate to go off of.
|1 hour photo shoot||25 finished photos|
|2 hour photo shoot||50 finished photos|
|3 hour photo shoot||75 finished photos|
|4 hour photoshoot||100 finished photos|
Food photography requires a lot more setup and styling than other types of photography. You have to make sure your lighting is just right. Then you have to set the props up and keep adjusting them until you like how they look. After that you start snapping pictures and will mostly likely decide you need to move ten different things in your shot. It’s a long process. People just don’t understand the work that goes into it.
In order to get quality work you’ll want to slow it down and make sure the photos are turning out as you’re taking them to avoid a memory card full of blurry or over exposed images. The amount of photos you are able to get per hour will vary based on your experience and the type of project you are working on.
Let’s talk about some ways you can determine how many photos YOU need to give your client.
1. Ask your Client How Many Photos They Need Before Doing the Photoshoot
This seems obvious but it’s surprisingly easy to jump into a job without asking all the necessary questions. Believe me, I’ve done it many times. Whether it’s nerves, impatience, or just forgetfulness, it can happen to the best of us. You certainly don’t want to do a photoshoot and take dozens of perfect photos only to find out your client only wants to pay for 10.
If you are new to doing photography for clients then you may not have had time to develop a streamlined process. As you gain more experience you will get a better idea of all the questions you need to get answers to before agreeing to a gig. One thing that will help you out in your business it to make a standard list of questions to ask every time you meet a first time client. This may also be good for returning clients as well. Especially if your previous work with them has been disorganized.
2. Consider Your Value
When you are deciding on your pricing structure (which you absolutely should do!) you will get an idea of your cost of doing business. This is a very important thing to keep in mind when choosing how many final photos to give your client. Don’t forget to account for the cost of your equipment, the time it will take you to plan the photoshoot, the cost of fuel if you have to commute somewhere, etc.
3. Final Photos Per Hour is Not the Same as Total Photos Per Hour
Like all photographers in the digital age, you will most likely end up with way more photos per hour than 25. I usually have about ten times as many throw away pictures as final shots if I am doing a rushed photo shoot.
Just because you take hundreds of photos doesn’t mean you should give that many photos to your client. In fact, sometimes less is more with clients. Many people hire a photographer to not only take the pictures for them but also to avoid unnecessary decision making. By choosing only the very best pictures for your customer you are helping them get only the highest value work. Think quality over quantity.
This is something I struggled with for years. I wanted to give as much value as I could to my clients. What I didn’t realize was that by throwing in class B photos as “extra” I was mixing wheat with chaff and devaluing my star images.
Something else to think about….
What is the best way to get the photos to the client?
There are always the tried and true methods such as Dropbox or Docs. However, many photographers like to use online client galleries to share their photos with their customers. It’s a great way to present them in an aesthetic way. It also provides a lot of customization on the photographer’s side. On most of these sites you can setup the gallery to allow your client to freely download all the photos or let them purchase just the photos they want from the site.
There are many things you can customize and change to fit how you run your business. Most client gallery sites even have a store that your client can order custom items from with their photos. I have tried a few different ones but my favorites have been Pass and Pictime. They are honestly very similar but maybe sometime I will do a review on the differences and which one is better.
The straight forward answer is to use 25 photos per hour as an average guide. If you are being asked to do a simpler set of photos that don’t require much set-up then you may be able to get more photos than that. Just keep in mind that your work is unique and valuable and not to be discounted. The amount of finished images you send to your client should fit exactly what that particular client needs.