If you photograph people, it is quite easy to come up with hundreds or even up to a thousand images depending upon the type of shoot. You painstakingly cull your images down to what you may feel may be a reasonable number. When presenting images to a client, whether it be a model, a bride, portraits, or even another company executive there are some important decisions to make:
In a more formal relationship such as a wedding or working with another business, everything may be spelled out in a contract. Even so, the number of images you show a client does not necessarily mean that you show them everything (even if they say they want all of the images). Problems such as out of focus images, limbs chopped off, exposure issues are relatively easy to eliminate. When considering the number of images that you show, consider your last eye appointment when the optometrist asked you "Does the first lens look better or worse than the second? How about this one..." In general, 25 images per hour of shooting tends to work out for many photographers.
Should you edit everything? Basic editing is almost a must including composition, lighting, retouching etc. A client may certainly say I don't like that image because of (insert reason), which could easily be fixed with a few more minutes behind the keyboard. How much time you spend editing before your client depends on the nature of the shoot. Glamour images for publication may take a little more prep than casual lifestyle images. You will probably want to show details in a wedding gown, whereas another shoot may well be focused on some other aspect of the image. If you have a hectic schedule you may not wish to keep your client waiting too long for the edits or you may loose a potential sale. There are many companies that offer Retouching services; choose one that works well with your brand and produces quality results with a reasonable turn around time.
Displaying the images can certainly take many forms such as moving through images in a Lightoom catalog so as to compare one image to many others. Sending a client several hundred images through a website with the expectation that he/she will get right back to you the next day is probably not going to happen to often. In fact, without guidance from you, the client may not be able to make up their mind at all. If you are selling prints, once you have narrowed down client choices to 10 images or less, service such as Nu-Vu Room View can actually have a client see the image(s) as through they were hanging above their very own couch in their house. The same company offers proofing galleries to make a client session flow even smoother without having to move from application to another.
Delivery usually follows and it goes without saying that if you are providing digital images to a client, make your deadline. Number of revisions should be carefully discussed and adhered to by both parties. If you are selling prints or other products be sure to have samples WITH YOU at your client meeting. Let them see, touch, and experience the products to the extent possible. While you may not have every possible size or color combination at your meeting, the client should have a reasonable idea of the actual physical product, rather than looking at it within a catalog.
Food chefs will sometimes say, "Its all in the presentation" , which is why at some upscale restaurants the food on a plate may look like a piece of artwork. An artful presentation may easily make the difference in working with the client (or not) in the future.