Why I don’t supply RAW or unedited images to Clients

August 30, 2012 · 2 comments

in Business,News,Photoshop,Tutorials

Occasionally, after supplying a disc of beautifully edited images to a client, they ask for the RAW images – and they want all of them. They saw me take hundreds of photos, but I only supplied 30 on the disc.

There are a number of aspects to delivering a beautiful photograph – some of them include: setting up the shot, understanding the light, and capturing the image.

Now my job is half done. The rest of the work is tweaking the images in post-production to create the vision I had in my head at the time I took the photos. The SOOC image (Straight Out Of Camera) isn’t the final product – it’s only an ingredient.

When I deliver work to a client, I want it to be as perfect as humanly possible. The reason they commissioned me to create the images is that they couldn’t do it themselves. This means I take the photographs and then perfect the colour, balance, clarity, contract, etc in post-production so that when they see the photographs, they know why they paid me to do the shoot.

I also believe that a SOOC image only demonstrates half of my talent – unedited images are not an accurate indication of my capabilities. The images I produce are an indication of my skill as a photographer and they illustrate the quality of my work – and, if a client had to show the unedited images to other potential clients, my work could look ‘substandard’.

When a client commissions me, I provide them with ready-to-use edited images. I really don’t want them to take my RAW images, turn them into ghastly mess, and then credit me as the photographer.

Now, the topic of what happened to the other photos. I provide only the best images from the shoot. There are many reasons why I don’t provide all the images I shoot, including camera shake, subjects who have their eyes closed, and over- or under-exposure. When doing commercial photography, I take several shots as the set is being styled, but I only provide the final image where all the styling is perfect.

These are the reasons I don’t serve a bowl of raw eggs to a client who ordered an omelette.

It’s a little hard to see at 72dpi, but notice how the edited version is straightened, brighter, crisper, and has light switches removed.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nadia van der merwe September 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

Thank you for this!Saw this post a while ago and I haven’t had time to read it.I agree!If the client has top quality photographs,why request the remaining?However,what do you reply wheb they request the raw images?Thanks for your posts,love them!

rikkihibbert September 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

Hi Nadia, with RAW images, I explain that they are only half the final product. I don’t give them raw eggs when they ordered an omelette. Almost 100% of the time they understand once I explain this to them. It’s also about managing their expectations, and helping them to understand the process of digital photography.

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