In a commercial shoot, the client is in effect an uncredited collaborator. Either you're changing the way you work or see to try to please them, or they (or their representative) are there telling you what to do, or they reject your picks and pick one of your rejects.
(And does [or can] the same hold true for art intended for sale?)
Mike (hat tip to Seth Glassman)
Featured Comment by Mike Peters: "My best clients are the ones that give me some loose parameters in the range of needing a shot of a person, here's the story, do your thing. I always pre-edit the images and give them the best.
"Some clients were way more specific, having layouts and concepts that needed to be illustrated to make sense in the context of where it was going. Then it's best to understand your place in the process where your job is to make the designers ideas make sense photographically. You do your best, give your input, but you're not the boss in this situation, that's why you get paid so much.
However, when it comes to personal work, it's with the idea that it's only for me and to satisfy my point of view. I don't consider that anyone will ever buy it or want to hang it on their wall. My professional work pays for me to do this and frees me from having to make art that appeals to a mass audience so I can pay the rent. My art is done for an audience of one, me. If others like it, then that's a bonus. If they buy it, it's a bigger bonus, but it has no correlation on what or how I shoot when I shoot for myself.
About ten years ago I was able to draw a very strong line between what I do for others and what I do for myself. My commercial work immediately got better as did my personal work. I will never confuse or try to combine the two again.