Why Your Photographer Won't Hand Over the RAW Files
Apr 23, 2020 | By: Adriana Escalante
RAW FILES ARE... R. A. W.
I am sure you have wondered sometimes why your photographer won't hand over the raw files of your photo session. Just like with me, almost every photographer has been asked for RAW files by their customers at one point or another. For some, it can be hard to understand why their photographer has refused to part ways with their RAW files but know that the photographer is not trying to be difficult.
What Are Raw Files
Think of the digital raw files like the old-days negatives roll of photos that have not been developed yet in the darkroom. In digital photography, we don't have negatives but raw files so basically raw files are like our digital negatives. In the old days, the photographer would not give out their negatives because it was not only their property but also the hook to potential future sales by the same clients. If they did sell them, it was quite expensive. It is the same today. The raw files are the property of the photographer. However, digital raw files do contain important metadata that is very useful for the photographer during post-processing of the photos in a photo editing software.
Reasons Why Your Photographer Won't Give Out the RAW Files
There are several good reasons why we don’t just hand over all the photos that were taken during your shoot.
When you’re working with a photographer during a shoot, you’ll notice that they’re constantly snapping away. This is because not all of the images come out perfectly. Sometimes a specific pose or scenario needs to be shot multiple times just to get one good shot. A professional photographer like me spends a lot of time sorting through all of the images that were taken during a shoot to select the best shots.
Once the best photos have been chosen, they are brought to life through post-process editing with professional editing software. This stage takes a lot of time and results in the beautiful end product that is handed over to you. A photographer is not just good at using the technical aspects of the camera. They are visual artists, composers, curators, editors, and retouchers. All of these roles correspond to a step in the revelation process of the photos you will receive. If the photographer were to give you the RAW files you wouldn’t be seeing the end result, the artistic and creative work of the photographer -- what you actually paid for.
You would also be surprised at how many people want the RAW files in order to alter the photos themselves. If that individual then chose to share those photos after making their own adjustments, the integrity of your photographer’s work is put at risk. I have a page on my website about what is good photo etiquette. I invite you to read it as well.
A Small Detail to Remember About Raw Files
Something else to keep in mind is that RAW files are huge and you need a lot of memory to store them. Plus, each camera maker produces a different raw file format. So, you might also find that you don’t have the proper software available at home to view this type of file so again you would be sitting with megabytes of files that you can’t do anything with.
When you hire a professional photographer you’re putting your trust in their abilities. You need to trust that the photos they hand over to you are a result of their hard work, experience, and eye for the perfect shot.
I hope that after reading this post, you are convinced by why your photographer won't hand over the raw files. Raw files are just that raw files.
Next time you hire a photographer you will understand the deal with the raw files! Call me or text me for your next photo session. It will be an awesome experience and you will love your photos.