FAQ : Avoiding Photographic Regret


I was recently asked by Caroline Shea on Facebook whether I get back from a photo shoot and feel like I didn’t get everything I wanted or wish I had done better. Caroline writes, If so, how do you combat that negativity? I take it and learn from it, but it can be disheartening. Are you at a point now where you usually have a good idea of everything you are going to do before you do it? How are you able to visualize that?

Well, the answer to these questions is yes. Yes, I always think I could do better. Always. But I’m also the type of person who secretly thinks if I went to elementary school with Ryan Gosling, I’d make him give me a promise ring and propose before we left fifth grade. I’m delusional. Everything in retrospect is clear and the would’ve/should’ve/could’ve completely evident. It’s not always like that (Ryan, if you read this, I’m still here for you, boo), but there are ways to alleviate the stress going into a shoot.

Most of the time, my shoots are broken into two sections, outfit one and outfit two (my clients usually opt for an outfit change). Before I start a shoot, I arrive to the location around 25-30 minutes early and find locations that best fit natural light photography and take time to review my previsualized ideas.

During the first half of the photo shoot (outfit one), I’m gauging my clients and setting the tone for a fun time. We chat, walk, and I pose them in ways that seem completely natural to who they are as a couple. Once I feel I have a grasp of who they are, we’ve hit a lull, or we begin to lose light (as in, working against sunset), I encourage the clients to change into outfit two.

While the clients are away, I have a few moments (maybe ten minutes) to look at my camera and quickly assess how things have developed. One thing I focus on is whether I have an equal mix of:
*Candid photos
*Fun photos
*Romantic photos
*Editorial photos
*Lifestyle photos

As I scroll through the images on the LCD screen of my camera, patterns start to form. If it’s lively, vivacious couple, the shoot up until that point will likely yield more fun, candid poses, so I make it a point to focus on photos that are softer in nature (like romantic, warm, and kissy…yup, just made up that word) when the clients return in outfit two.

Please note: I showcase about a half of the shoot via a slideshow and blog post, and the other half is posted in an online gallery (for a total of 60-65 images) to ensure my clients have a variety of images to choose from that aren’t too much of one type of photography. And that’s the key: ensuring your clients have a diverse portfolio filled with pictures that make them happy. Because, if they’re happy, they’ll refer people your way…which will in turn allow you to hone your skills even more on a photo shoot, lessening those moments of photographic would’ve/should’ve/could’ve.

Like always, I hope this helps at least one person…and it made sense. I have a tendency to talk a lot. Or what I tell JD when he says I’m rambling: I’M THOROUGH. Obvi.

Stay Fabulous,

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  1. Penny Wolfe

    September 29th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I love the idea of the break in the middle to regroup and refocus! I think this is something I will implement in my sessions! Thanks j*

  2. Charlie

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Great question and answer πŸ™‚

    Your posts are always motivating πŸ™‚

    I need to practice more portrait work this winter.

  3. sherri lynn

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Great tips! I love your engagement sessions because I think you always get a great mix of the candid, fun shots and also softer, romantic ones.

  4. Life with Kaishon

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Really great advice : ) thank you!

  5. Kate Douthwright

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I always walk away and think I got nothing! I think we’re just so caught up in the moment and our minds are running 200mph that we dont even realize how amazing the clients are looking in front of the camera. Every time I go home and look at them, I let out a sigh of relief! Even though I still always want to do better…

  6. Emily

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Great post Jasmine!!! Thanks for the laughs and the great info!!

  7. Josh Gruetzmacher

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Knowing what you want in the first place seems like the key. It’d be hard to feel bad about missing photos that you weren’t even trying to get. That said, I totally know the post shoot anxiety and the I think I suck feeling. Thanks for the post πŸ™‚

  8. Ruby

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    You are a genius!! Nuff said…

  9. Ashley A-Photo

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I always learn something big from you. It’s normally a small little point but for me- it yields BIG changes in my photography. Thanks Jasmine Star. You’re a blessing.

  10. Caroline Shea

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you so much for answering my question Jasmine with encouraging words and advice about alieviating stress…this is one thought that always creeps up in my mind and I try to fight every week before and after shoots. Will definitely keep these tips in mind

  11. Wendy Imbornoni

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I absolutely adore the image of them in the filed sitting on a stump. Gorgeous light and feeling and texture. Awesome.

  12. Nadya

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    great post! I always get home from an e-session and think man i sucked today what is wrong with me, but once i sit down and review them i am liek ok i didnt do so bad. i think we just are all hard on ourseleves but maybe if i wasnt then i wouldnt be trying to push myself more so i guess its a good thing sometimes! πŸ™‚

  13. Christiana

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I was totally just thinking through my photographic regrets after my very first e-session today… the would’ve and could’ves…i am happy to say that i only regret not pushing the boundarys further and that i can look at it and say that i did well- for my first attempt…next time i’m not sure if i’d go so easy on me! thanks for being my shining star xx

  14. Corrie Lindroos

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Helped me! Thanks for posting this Jasmine. Your insight is so helpful and inspirational. Have a great Thursday.

  15. Joy Weisel

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I don’t think you talk to much and anyway isn’t that what a blog is for? LOL I love to read your ‘ramblings’. They help me calm down and focus on my task when I’m having an anxious "I’m not getting the shot that I want" moment. I think back to the wise words of Obi-wan. Thanks for the tips.

  16. Brandi

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Love it! I always love reading your FAQs.

  17. Sherra Gray

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks, Jasmine! This is timely for me, as I have a shoot this weekend that I was kind of stressing over. Thanks for putting yourself and your thoughts out here for those of us who really want/NEED the guidance. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it… well, I could, but it would take a while. ;o)

  18. Sarah McKenzie

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Darn! I thought I made up the word kissy!!! I use it alllllllll the time!

  19. Pasha Belman Photography

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It makes total sense. Will have to try this at our next photoshoot.

  20. porter watkins

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    EXCELLENT post jasmine, im so glad you took the time to explain this. it makes all the difference during an e-session which as you mentioned, makes all the difference in getting referals and more business!

  21. Rachel Tatem

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    What a great walk through, I appreciate it!

  22. Abby Grace

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    AH! I’m always so terrified of Photographer’s Regret! I shot my first ever styled shoot two weeks ago and that was my biggest fear- getting home and realizing I missed something. I definitely experience that with e-sessions, too, so this is really helpful. Thanks!

  23. Libby K.

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Another great post. Thanks for your insight!

  24. Linda Dalton

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Reading your blog in the morning is addictive! As always your post felt like it was written just for me, thank you for that! As a high school senior photographer, I have the same challenge of coming up with a variety of different poses with 3-4 outfit changes and NW weather!!

  25. Hannes Uys

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Never thought of having a mix. Awesome!

  26. Corey Ransberg

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Great post and it really can work for a lot of forms of photography .. have a plan and put it into action … write the vision down make it plan so that he that reads it may run with it πŸ™‚ … sometimes its hard to get your mind to focus on a plan when it comes to stuff like this but you really have to if you want good consistent work

  27. Shannon Karczewski

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I never said it before, but I did think it! The girl in the last photo totally looks like Jennifer Aniston to me. At least in that particular picture she does.

    And I, for one, found this post very helpful! Can’t wait for a full day of your helpfulness!

  28. Laura Vanderwel

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Fantastic Post! I don’t work as a full-time photographer but I occasionally get the opportunity to do engagement/couple shoots. I LOVE them but usually feel a bit lost as far as directing and wrapping my head around what I’d like to accomplish. Using an outfit change as an opportunity to assess the shoot is a great idea! Thanks!

  29. Meredith

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Awesome post. Thanks, Jaz! (:

  30. Stacy

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Great post! Really helpful tips and a confirmation that I’m not only one that beats themselves up after a shoot. πŸ™‚

  31. yana

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!! Very helpful! πŸ™‚

  32. jessica vidmar photography

    September 29th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    great information. thank you as always : )

  33. Jennifer Hudspeth

    September 29th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Perfect. As usual. The "break" is perfect.

  34. Ryan Gosling

    September 29th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Jasmine, I could never compare to the handsome stud of a husband you have. Furthermore, your attitude is more than I can handle. JD is more of a man than I could ever be…

  35. Bobbie Brown

    September 29th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Very interesting, I love hearing your thoughts!

  36. Carol Thacker

    September 29th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Great post, lots of great info. That photo on the stump under the tree is AMAZING!

  37. sarah danaher

    September 29th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Ryan’s (errr… Bianca’s) comment below had me guffawing. and yes, I just said guffawing.

  38. Nilda V. Negron

    September 29th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I have a question how do you go about finding places for that outfit change? Great Post Love your Style

  39. Jared Rey - Dallas Wedding Photographer

    September 29th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Jasmine – Don’t know if you will see this comment. But would you also be willing to share a couple of examples of your idea of Romantic, Editorial, Lifestyle, Fun, and Candid Photos?

  40. May(family photographer, Dallas TX)

    September 29th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    It sure does help! as usual!

  41. Alexandra

    September 29th, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I was just thinking about this today. I’m so glad someone asked it and you answered it. Gives me a general timeline and an a-okay to stop and assess what I did for my clients during their shoot. Thanks so much for describing your process!

  42. Jackie Lamas

    September 29th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    haha i had to click on the ryan gosling comment and found it was your sister… totally something my sister would do too! thanks for the great advice! I never thought about doing different concepts as far as the feeling of the photos… i will have to incorporate that next time!

  43. Meredith Lord

    September 29th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Jasmine, thank you once again. This has just given me more motivation to move through the challenges we meet as wedding photographers and stop kicking myself for the should’ve/would’ve/could’ve. Thank you! x

  44. Laura Nichols

    September 29th, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Immensely helpful post! Variety and re assessing during the shoot are great to keep it on track.

  45. Belinda

    September 30th, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Jasmine you are hilarious! Thanks for sharing this!

  46. Falcon Griffith

    September 30th, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Thank you Jasmine! As I’ve just started out as a portrait photographer this advice is immensely helpful and reinforces what I was already considering in my next step of progress. You’re the best!

  47. Aimee

    September 30th, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I think that last photo is from one your best sessions ever. It was a bit different than the other ones. I can’t pinpoint it, but it had something very memorable about it.

  48. BellaGirl

    September 30th, 2011 at 2:17 am

    What a wonderful blog post!! Could you give an example of the difference between EDITORIAL PHOTOS and LIFESTYLE.

  49. Lydia

    September 30th, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Awesome idea, Jasmine!!

  50. Emily Dobson

    September 30th, 2011 at 4:30 am

    AWESOME POST! Thank you! Love your session ‘checklist’. I’m ready to develop one myself now! It’s time for bed though…so it’s my goal for the next to do list! GREAT IDEA!

  51. Lloyed Valenzuela Photography

    September 30th, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Well said. and i strongly agree!!! Im such a big fan JS

  52. Kristin Nicole

    September 30th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Love this post.

  53. Jason+GinaΒ 

    September 30th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    That anxiety is totally part of this work… there’s always a feeling of incompleteness – that keeps it interesting. We have our checklists in our heads always – but in the end we’re always competing with ourselves!!

  54. Robert

    September 30th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  55. Amanda B

    September 30th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Random questions on the location and outfit change…
    does the client find the location and get all the permissions for shooting their? or does the photographer?
    Also, along the same lines… for an outfit change… is the client responsible for finding a place to change or the photographer? Thanks!

  56. Nathan Clendenin

    October 1st, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Great advice – survey what you’ve got as you go to re-adjust along the way! But don’t constantly look at the back of the camera when more awesome moments are happening in front of you!

  57. Rick

    October 2nd, 2011 at 1:33 am

    One of the messages I will take away from reading this entry is the importance of planning ahead and being fully prepared. A great photography doesn’t just happen!

    I would also like to echo a couple previous replies by suggesting a future entry to describe and show YOUR vision for the categories described here (candid, fun, romantic, editorial, and lifestyle). Thank you!

  58. Wedding Photography in Essex

    October 2nd, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Jasmine another great post you have a knack of hitting right to the heart of issues. I always come back from a shoot thinking I could have done better or thinking about the shots I planned to take but never did, like you I think about and learn something from every shoot I do.

  59. Kat Harris

    October 3rd, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks so much for your consistent advice! Question: the amount of proofs you show your clients are 60-65 images? Or that’s just how much is on the slideshow? How long do your e-sessions usually last?? Thanks J*:)

  60. cassandra-m

    October 3rd, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    great post~! as always πŸ™‚

  61. Kasey Loftin

    October 4th, 2011 at 12:27 am

    What did I ever do before I found your blog. I look forward to every post. Still finding my photographic voice and your posts are always helpful. Thanks!

  62. Ashley Goodwin

    October 4th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I just had to pump the breaks when I saw "Ryan Gossling" in the comments. And then assumed it was JD.

  63. Abigail

    October 5th, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Me too!! Me too!! I also want to know what you believe is the difference between lifestyle and editorial….I always kind of considered them the same type of shot. Always so ENCOURAGED by you!

  64. Kerry James

    October 24th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Really good advice, using the time between outfit changes is a true gem! Thank You for pointing out the simplistic that can be truly over looked.

  65. photographe de mariage - LunaCat Studio

    January 15th, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I sometimes feel this way when I don’t plan enough a session. Therefore, I now always make sure I have everything in hand to make the best out of a session.