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Question for wedding photo pros

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Armanius, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I was told by a wedding photo pro that it is policy for her not to give her clients the RAW files for artistic reasons. I asked, begged, and she still said no.

    Is this common policy amongst most or all wedding photo pro's?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes it is. Clients get finished products, not works in progress.

    At least consumer clients. Commercial clients are different, because they have image editing and graphics departments which are supposedly qualified to handle unfinished files. Your average bride does not fall into that category.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    So most consumer clients want only the finished product. But if a client wants the RAW like me, why not give it to him? I do want the finished product. But I also want the RAW in the event I want to edit the photo more. The way I see it, there's no risk or additional cost by giving the RAW to me -- other than having to burn an extra DVD or two.
     
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    I have given Raw files to a client. I am sure they had no idea what to do with them. I do know most wedding shooters are terrified of giving away raw files, but I'm not sure why. Maybe they're worried that you'll do some dodgy processing and pass it off as their work.

    If you've got full sized jpegs then there's still a lot you can do if they're processed normally.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Aaargh ... not sure if I should ditch this photographer or not simply because she won't give me the RAW files ...
     
  6. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you get me mate I'll give the raw files to you for half price:smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Thanks! Unfortunately, you are an ocean away!
     
  8. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    Before ditching I would explain to her that as far as you are concerned it would be crucial to the contract - then it's up to her to either keep a client or lose one.

    Personally, I would want the files. Not so that I could fiddle around but so that I had them for an archive.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    My wedding photographer gave me our RAWs, but I asked specifically. However, the release that came with the photos specified that they could not be altered in any way apart from cropping, so really they are of little use if I intend on adhering to the agreement.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    What good is a raw file if it cannot be altered in ANY way? Any basic processing alters them somewhat, no?

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    In fact wouldn't rendering a RAW file be on itself an alteration?

    Either way, I am sure that as long as one is not profiting from it (and these are personal wedding photos we are talking about), there shouldn't be any problems.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    When I shoot a wedding, the couple gets all the RAW files to do with as they wish.

    Some wedding photogs back in the film days also gave away the negs too, if they weren't going to make money from prints.

    Your wedding photog might be concerned that you do some horrible things with the images when her name is still attached as the photog.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    The last person I knew dealing with a wedding photographer straight up offered RAWs during the first time they met.

    I guess it's a matter of what they feel they want to give up.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I did explain to her, but she said it was a non-negotiable. I guess business is good nowadays and losing a client over RAWs isn't a big deal.
     
  15. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Personally I can see both ways on this issue. As a client with the RAW files, and I PP'd them in a way that better represented what I was looking for, I'd question the photographers PP skills, especially if my PP version turns out significantly better than the JPEG the photographer had as a finished photo. This isn't good for the photographer. On the other hand, I can see where it would be ok for the photographer to give the RAW files to a) someone who doesn't have a clue what to do with them or b)used soley for archiving.

    Is it possible she knows you are an accomplished photographer and worried about the quality of the finished product? Maybe.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    The majority of the time, people asking for raw don't know what they're asking for. Then come back complaining why it looks bad, how to open it, etc, etc. This is one reason I've heard in addition to what has been mentioned. It piggy backs on the idea photographers don't want their work manipulated to a different vision and being misrepresented as their own.

    Part of it might be feeling like you're giving up rights to images, which it's not. Just have to have it in the contract.

    I'm personally torn. I don't do many weddings, but I don't give RAW either. The couple of times I've been asked, I explained they're getting full JPEG quality, not just tiny web images that are watermarked (not that i watermarked) and they go "oh, yeah, that's what I wanted." I was not pushed further, nor did I push the issue myself. My concerns mirror the fact I don't want to support the handling of RAW. I was primarily paid for my style of shooting and processing.

    If I were, I think I'd probably have to re-write my contract to reflect what exactly RAW was so. I'm not opposed to it, it just doesn't come up much. And I usually shoot secondary so I always hand the RAWs to the primary, heh.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I didn't think of getting the RAWs until after I'd already met her. I did tell her that I really like photography during our person to person meeting. It was when I'd already decided she was my top choice later on that I first mentioned getting the RAW. Mentioned RAW via email, and that's when I was told "no." So we then spoke on the phone, and she was very nice about it, but was resolute with the "no." So I finally told her that I needed more time to mull over it.
     
  18. CUB

    CUB Mu-43 Veteran

    275
    Apr 19, 2012

    This is a throwback to the days when a wedding photographer offered low price deals with a small number of prints knowing that the client, their family and the guests would want additional prints. Selling these additional prints was where the real money was made.

    There was also the issue of not giving the negatives to the client because they might lose them or store them badly, so that prints could not be made from them later if required.

    In the digital age, there is no need to work this way. I no longer shoot weddings but when I did, I supplied the agreed number of prints in the sizes in the original deal plus a CD with JPEG images. I gave the copyright to the client and kept the RAW files and a copy of the JPEGs on his/her/their behalf. I would also release the RAW files if requested but no-one ever asked me for them.

    You are the client. If you want the RAW files you are entitled to ask for them because you are the one who is paying. If the photographer refuses because they want to stick to an outmoded business model, or for any other reason, you should find another photographer. But make your requirements absolutely clear from the outset.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    I would walk away (unless it's Annie Leibovitz or someone that you reeeeeealy want) but I would also explain why to her in an email. It's not like you were asking for the original camera negatives from Star Wars is it?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. slith

    slith Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Apr 4, 2012
    Dublin, Ireland
    Alfonso
    If I were you and had paid nothing for the job (and assuming I have time enough to try and find a suitable alternative), I'd thank her for her time, state clearly that RAW files are non-negotiable for you, and walk away from the deal.

    She might have the style you like, but you are always going to feel sorry you didn't get what you wanted. You are the customer after all.
     
    • Like Like x 1