Helen Oakes Photographer

We’ve all had shoots when your clients want all their digital images, even the unedited ones. Every shot you have taken, all 700 of them!!!

This can be a tough one to answer for some photographers as they feel they are between a rock and a hard place.

Will your client moan and tell others you weren’t reasonable by holding onto images. Maybe they feel you ripped them off as they feel they should get them all.

Sometimes we get into these sticky situations when we haven’t been clear on what the client gets after the shoot. Other times we are super clear but the client won’t have a bar of it.

We don’t want to say NO and then we end up giving the client everything to keep them happy. A sure fire way of devaluing your work.

Why do our clients want all of their images?

  1. They think that they own them all as they are images you have taken of them and they have paid for a shoot, so every image is included
  2. Clients think there will be other good images you haven’t included so they feel there are images that they might miss out on or like more
  3. They thought the package included ALL the files

I have had to answer this question many times. I then realised that if I had clearer policies in place and I was firm and transparent in letting the client know what they will get, it was a lot easier to know what to say if someone still asked for all of their images.


  • Put your packages & prices on your website

Firstly, have the information set out on your website, this lets the client know how many digital images are included in their shoot. Be upfront and tell them they will get the edited images and how many they will receive. When you have this set-up on your website you can direct your client there.

  • Only the best images are included

Make sure your client knows that you only include the best shots and they are all edited professionally. You don’t show photos that have eyes closed or that don’t look their best. Let the client know you only edit the top shots and all other shots are unusable or deleted (if this is what you do).

  • Delete photos that don’t make the cut or archive them

If you delete out of focus or unusable shots, then there won’t be any shots for your client to ask about. They are gone! You could archive shots that don’t quite make the cut but stay firm and let the client know they have got the 20 or 30 photos in the shoot that they paid for and this is what was agreed on.

  • Give them what they paid for and charge for extras

This brings me to my next point. If your client is adamant that they really have to have all the extra shots then charge them appropriately. Let’s say they paid for 20 photos and if they want others then they will need to pay extra for them. If you charge a per photo price, you will find they don’t really want these photos afterall.

  • But what about the shot of……

Clients just think they are missing out if they don’t get every image. Assure them they aren’t missing out and you have spent time editing the best of the best which are some amazing shots they will love.

I hoped this helped you with learning how to say NO in the nicest possible way and still keeping your clients happy.

What part resonates with you? Is this an issue you have come across?

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