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Photography Question 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005

How Many Proofs Are Enough?

Hey everyone! I need help. I just did my first newborn shoot, and since the baby was almost 3 weeks, she was pretty fussy. I got some beautiful shots, but only about 25 images that I can show to the client. Is that enough? I've seen a lot of sites where photographers promised 35-40 proofs. Any advice or suggestions? And does it even matter? Are 25 really good proofs better than 40 OK ones?

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9/2/2005 7:40:13 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Twenty-five good proofs are far better than 40 OK ones. You don't want to show your clients anything that is not a good shot. It reflects bad on you, even if it is not your fault. If they can't pick out what they want from 25 pictures, they are just too picky. Show them quality, not quantity.

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9/2/2005 7:50:20 AM

I think 25 proofs is a great amount! When I have shoots, I try to give them 25 pictures for 1 child or infant, or 1 maternity shoot. (1 subject in the shoot).
I try to give 30-35 for 2 subjects. I try to give 40-45 for a family, and I will give anywhere between 50-100 to a senior. (Just depends on how many times they change their clothes and all the props and things).
Sometimes, parents just want a few pictures, and they know that "being the nice person that I am" I will oblige. I charge by the proof, not a set sitting fee, so I don't make much money, but it pays off in other ways there too. For instance, I had a mother bring in her 1-year-old last Friday. The little girl smiled and took a few really cute pictures. The mom asked if we were done (my studio is right next to my house), and I said sure. I was back in my house like 8 minutes later. She picked up her proofs on Wednesday (she had 8) and she returned her order yesterday (1 day later) with a $60 order. So, it's worth it in that case, because she's so easy to work with.
But quality is better than quantity, and I am sure that your client will be thrilled. I have yet to have a mother not go crazy over their own kid's pictures. Even when there were technical problems with the picture.

I am sure she won't even notice how many proofs there are. She'll just see how cute "junior" was in all of the ones that you give her.
Good Luck!

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9/2/2005 10:01:49 AM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I did my first young child(11 months) on Tuesday. He went one round and about 15 minutes, and maybe 10 shots he was getting tired. So mom asked if I had time to wait while he took a short nap and a bottle. This is a friend, and I wasn't busy, so she left and came back in 45 minutes and we started again. It took about 20 more minutes and he was done. LOL. I asked her how many shots she expected. She said if she had 3 or 4, she would be happy. I ended up giving her around 15-18, plus I made some different collages because I knew she was wanting one. She was thrilled and placed a $200 order!
I charge a $35 sitting fee as a base. If they want more than 3 locations or outfits, it's $10/each one more. I'm thinking if you can give at least 15 good proofs for an infant that you will be fine. For a young child up to age 4 or 5, I'd say you might even get less because they are going to start giving you those goofy faces, slouching, etc., but I would try to stay at around the 15-20 mark for them also. I did some dance girls and two of the girls I had about 8 or 9 proofs each, and another girl (which we had more time) had probably 15-20. Another time, I did a boy, and his mom told me she wanted a few 4x5 for their desks and a collage, so I knew it wouldn't be a lot of enlargements. I think she had about 7 or 8 proofs and that was it, and she was fine with that.
Seniors - as mentioned above - will depend on outfits and locations. But the two senior girls I did had between 80-100 proofs. One ended up picking 5 poses, and another picked about 7. For boys, I'm guessing the proof numbers could be as low as 30 to around 50, unless they just really enjoy being in front of the camera!!!

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9/2/2005 10:24:39 AM

Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
  Thanks, Kerry, Amber, and Michelle for all of your feedback. I feel better now. I guess I spent so much time on the shoot that I was a little disappointed that I didn't have more shots. But it is all a learning experience. Thanks again!

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9/2/2005 10:55:00 AM

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