I answered a LinkedIn Group question today regarding showing work-in-progress. My answer was does not apply, not because it’s fully accurate, but becasue the breadth of the issues weren’t explained in the available options:
On showing works in progress, I think many of the answers above show the complexity and problems of showing a client work-in-progress and they take me to a point of summation, in that a client hires you for vision and part of that vision is to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff of decision-making, if you will.
I remember hearing Georgia O’Keefe say something like it’s the artists’ role to choose and I feel like that’s utterly important here in developing client work. Yes, good contracts, yes explaining scratch work, yes showing work as “progress” and progress payments, but the other thing is that, dependent on the relationship (I have a long-standing relationship where WIP is great, for example), it’s often difficult to foresee the degree to which the client can visualize that it truly is a process and the degree to which the process can be proportionally fruitful farther in (i.e. once you really lock in on a concept–inspiration isn’t always a straight-line ascending line graph).
So, I tend not to because if anything goes wrong, wouldn’t you rather be that person who did admirable work, as exhibited through process, that they just didn’t like or the moron who scribbled on napkins and you hated it?