I get this a couple times a year. Most of the time, the answer is “no,” and there are two parts to why:

First, after twelve-plus years of culling, editing, and organizing images, I’ve gotten exceedingly efficient and, *ahem•good, at it. During my first pass through your images, I remove all the shots that are one or more of the following:

  • Duplicates
  • Dramatically out of focus
  • Utterly uninteresting
  • Profoundly unflattering
  • Unrecoverably under- or overexposed

I’m pretty conservative in this first pass. If I see any chance of you desiring this image, I don’t mark it for deletion. Often, I’m able to salvage an image with some aggressive editing. Even out-of-focus images can sometimes be rad with the right treatment. Simply, if it’s got any potential at all, I hang onto it.

Second, it’s entirely possible that I just didn’t capture the picture you’re seeking. Much to my chagrin, I can’t be two places at once, and even with a second photographer, we can’t be three. Also, I’m only human, and I make mistakes. Sometimes it’s gear malfunctions; sometimes it’s user error. Maybe the autofocus misses, maybe I accidentally had flash on when I shouldn’t have, or maybe it’s one of a hundred other things that I or my equipment could possibly screw up. This is why in my contract you’ll see that I can’t guarantee any one or more specific images. BUT, I’ve gotten better and better and better over the years at mitigating these mistakes. THIS IS WHY YOU PAY EXTRA FOR EXPERIENCE. Shit, as they say, happens. But when you’ve had your heart broken by the inexorable happenings of shit as much as I have, you develop a spidey-sense for these things. I like to pretend it’s prescience. But it’s just experience.