Think You’re Getting More for Less?

There’s a situation that I’m sure most photographers bump into while with clients. The moment when a client asks: “Do I get the RAWs?”. Some have the wrong idea when it comes to RAW,  and believe it means unedited, which is in fact, a mistake.

I once read a quote that stated: “Asking a photographer for RAW files, is like asking an author to hand over an unedited manuscript.” I totally agree. The purpose of hiring a photographer, is because the photographer not only knows how to handle RAW images and professionally edit them, but because the photographer has the software necessary to do so… which takes me to my next point.

Most clients think that because they ask for RAW images, they are getting more photos for their money. The term RAW has nothing to do with unedited. RAW and UNEDITED images are two totally different things. Unedited images are, well, unedited. These are exactly how they were shot, with no color correction or anything whatsoever. RAW on the other hand, the client cannot do anything with them. Your computer will not open them unless you have the right professional software to manage these images (and this does not include Microsoft Paint).

In my case, I do basic retouching to all of the images I shoot. I do more aggressive retouching on certain picks or favorites. So when a client asks me if they get the RAWs, I firmly answer: “No. You don’t get the RAWs. You get all the photos that are not rejected from the session, but not RAWs.”

In conclusion, you are not getting more for less, so don’t feel bad when your photographer denies you RAW files. He is doing you a favor. They are really no use to you unless you are also a photographer and have the needed software.

I hope to have explained this in an easy to understand way, and corrected any confusion that some may have as to why some photographers may not appreciate the request for RAWs at all.