Photographer Education

October 31, 2016

The Top Mistake New Photographers Make

Recently, I was looking back at some of my old photography from when I first started, and trying not to feel appalled and embarrassed. Okay, who am I kidding, I felt appalled and embarrassed. The lighting was off, poses were strange, editing was interesting, and I had so many versions of the exact same pose! As I scroll through other new photographer’s galleries when they ask for critique, often I notice the same problem over and over again. While there are things we all struggle with as newbies, I want to share what I think is the top mistake new photographers make, and how you can avoid it from the start!

Top Mistake New Photographers Make


When we’re first starting out, we often feel lost and overwhelmed and unsure of ourselves. Often we wind up taking a million photos of the same thing “just to be safe.” As time passes, this will change as you grow in confidence and start perfecting your skills to where you can get the shots right in camera the first time. However, a big mistake I notice new photographers making is over-delivering images to the client. I remember when I first started loving photography, I would go out with a friend for a half-hour, and coming home with 800 images to go through. EIGHT HUNDRED! I would then pick out my favorites (probably 100+), and upload all of them to a Facebook album. The result would be a giant album with tons of duplicate photos of my smiling friend.

Over-delivering tons of images to your clients can have a detrimental effect on your business and reputation as a professional photographer.


How Over-Delivering Images Can Hurt You


Here are three reasons why giving your clients WAY TOO MANY PHOTOS can hurt you in the long run:

  1. People won’t take the time to scroll through your entire gallery online. When you have over 100 images of many of the same poses and looks, it’s pretty much guaranteed that people won’t take the time to look through every single photo. Especially when they all look so similar. It’s simply too much. There’s a statistic out there that we only have about 6-8 seconds to capture someone’s attention and get them clicking for more. If they open a link and see a million options of the same thing, they’re going to quickly close out, and won’t truly see the value and quality in what you’ve created. This can hurt your views and stats, as it isn’t interesting enough content to keep people around!
  2. Clients will feel too overwhelmed to choose their favorites. Give a mom 200 poses of her children to choose from, and odds are she will simply scroll through cross-eyed trying to pick the best ones. As a photographer, it is your job to choose the best photos for the client ahead of time. Allow them to quickly be able to find their favorites. Make them excited to print that photo, and increase your own value as a specialized photographer.
  3. It doesn’t showcase your very best work and therefore doesn’t set you apart as an artist. Think about a professional photographer’s portfolio online. Do you ever see 20 different images of the same pose in their gallery? Nope. You see only the best of the best. The one or two poses that nailed it. Think of your sessions in the same way. When you’re editing, choose only the best of the best. Take those 20 images of the same pose, and choose only 1 to deliver to your client. Your work has to be unique each time and stand out from the other images!


Solve the Problem Once and For All


So how can you really put this into action? Enter: culling.

To cull means to sort through all of your images – discarding the bad ones and keeping the best of the best. It’s really as simple as that. There are many different ways to cull images, with programs like Adobe Lightroom and PhotoMechanic. Or you can even sort straight from your computer folder if you want. I personally use Lightroom. I can do all of my culling and editing in one place – it’s a breeze!

Curious on how exactly I cull with Lightroom? Pssstt… that’s what my next YouTube tutorial will be about! 
Subscribe to my channel or check back this week for the video and post! I’m excited to breakdown my favorite ways to sort through images and give clients the best of the best.

Go get started!

Now that you know about the top mistake new photographers make, you can start implementing these changes and be ahead of the game. Don’t over-deliver. Get that number of images down. Show your best work.

Happy editing! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you can get the video as soon as it’s up!


  1. Anonymous

    November 2nd, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    That is a GREAT point! Always deliver appropriately.

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