How are you to trust that I chose the best photos and didn’t skip the better ones? Chalk it up to the thousands of hours I’ve spent looking at photos and paying attention to what makes them good or not. My ability to choose the best images for the assignment is one aspect of what I’m being hired for. Delivering 10,000 mediocre photos is not respectful of the recipient’s time, because they shouldn’t have to do my sorting work for me.
Not to say some jobs don’t require client input, of course—I simply mean that once the selects are made and everything is approved, asking for the rest of them just for good measure is unnecessary.
There has already been an agreement.
There’s always an agreed upon plan of action before going into a shoot, and part of that plan is what the expectations are in terms of number of photos that are needed (sometimes a specific amount, sometimes a range, depending on the project). This is the responsibility of a photographer to be clear about. The fact is, the photographer’s price has taken into account the final number of photos being delivered, both from a usage/licensing and a time-spent-editing standpoint. Because all the photos can’t be easily or quickly delivered, this means more time for the photographer beyond what you both had established was going to be happening.
Of course, things happen, and sometimes more photos are needed for one reason or another. Be aware that there may be additional charges for processing more images, but the simplest thing to do is just to always stay in communication throughout the process and things will pan out.
So where does this leave us?
My hope is that I have either reached some non-photographers who never thought about it this way, and will know for the future. This topic is hard! Nobody wants to disappoint somebody else, especially when they’re being paid.
And communicate! Problems surrounding this question generally can be very easily dealt with by communicating expectations before the shoot, during the stage where all the other details are being worked out.
But my hope here is that if you’re reading this, and are someone who will hire a photographer in the future—hey, maybe even me!—that you will have a deeper understanding of the photographer’s point of view. And I hope you know that we aren’t saying no because we’re jerks.
Find a photographer whose work you like, who you trust, and trust their process.