09/07/2021 às 10:43 Photography tips

Why photographers don't give away Raw files?

5min de leitura

This will be a controversial one, which you know by now I love all about it. So let's dive in.

RAW and JPG are the most common file types that people use. Think about *.doc or *Docx for Word. Similar but not quite.

Photographers, in general, deliver pictures in three different file types (oh! and this is already too much information, but let's do it): JPG, TIFF, PNG, and DNG. The most compressed form is JPG, and also the one that saves the least amount of information, which by no means tells about Resolution (should I do a post about understanding resolution? Yikes!). Be aware. I didn't mention RAW between the options.

In the end, JPG is the most used image format because it shows us millions of colors with the less data possible. This means a JPG is a final image, and it does not do well in all the cases with alterations. Alterations can be using a preset on top of it, trying to correct the light, fixing the White Balance (why does the picture show my skin in a different color?),or recovering an area that was lost with sub exposing. 

We all know the good JPG because all cameras have JPG, all smartphones have JPG. But do we really understand what a RAW file is?

Let's make things simple, ok? 

RAW is not the image you see in the back of your camera.

RAW is not an unedited version of your photo.

RAW is totally different, but I know it is a misunderstood kid in the image world.

As photographers, we have the option of taking the pictures in different formats. Not all photographers take RAW files, and taking pictures in JPG doesn't make you an amateur or a bad photographer. On the contrary, the good ones have mastered lighting perfectly without needing too much editing afterward. My total admiration for those who have master light. Also, some of us take JPG pictures in some context. Think about the party at the wedding. If you are working with Off-Camera Flash (OFC), or lighting will not change in a period of time, assuming you achieve the correct exposure, you will most likely have all covered, and you will not need to recover underexposed areas. Using JPG on this specific case helps to be faster while taken pictures, as like the guests at my weddings always say, "you are everywhere." JPG is commonly used for Press, and documentary work, like images, should not be intensively edited to show reality as it is.

Now, for us whom primary photograph in RAW, this means: 

What you see in the back of your camera is not what you have in the file.

You will have a spectrum of options to choose from. The archive keeps until seven steps of light, which means you can recover areas that are too dark, unfortunately. Not in all cases is it possible to recover overexposed images, but some software helps to do it. Unfortunately, JPG only has the one that is shown.

It would help if you had photography software to read those images. 

RAW files are massive. For example, one of my RAW files is 32MB on average. 

When you have the RAW file, you also have the copyright of the images, and you can change the complete information of the file and the power of reselling. Changing the ownership of the copyright is a vital asset in photography.

So, there are three questions to answer here:

First, do you give all RAW Files?

I would answer with a question: Do you mean unedited files? Or RAW files?

If the answer is unedited files, I will say yes, and I will give Unedited files of the selection. There will be an additional page to sign that all unedited files are provided with €X price making it clear I prefer not to be tagged on social media to not confuse my clients about work that I have not finished. 

Suppose the answer is RAW Files. Yes, I will send my pricing for RAW files, as they were not included on the package initially, including the image's total copyright price. This means the picture will no longer be mine, and I will not post them on my social media or website unless the new owner allows me to do it. As you can see, this will be pricey, but it is what "giving the RAW files" means. It's a complete sell of the image. I did a post before about why photographers actually don't sell images, only sell usage of them. Selling the copyright is usually a practice in commercial photography and nothing new to the industry, but unfortunately not understood in the social media world. 

Now that you own the RAW files, you can edit them as you like, and of course, I gave you the ownership, so you don't need to tag me. However, not all portrait or event photographers are comfortable with this, mainly if they need the pictures to put on their social media or website as Proof of Work. Also, if you still want them meaning you know how to deal with RAW files, ask for a DNG instead. They are 15% less heavy than RAW, still uncompressed, and most readable for all devices. Also, the image preview will be the edited version, which makes the photographer a bit more comfortable, which makes the price of the file lower. 

Ask about the situation individually. We are all different persons :).

Besides this, if what you didn't like was the edit. It is OK to say it. You don't hurt our feelings, we are businesses, and it is OK. Tell you a story. I had a bride that loves the way I compose my pictures and all the emotions in them, but another photographer in another country did all their family pictures, and the photographer tones were blue, and mine is yellow. She addressed this during the consultation, and I agreed to edit them as she wanted with no extra cost because she said it before. So now I edit them again to put them on my blog, only the ones that went into my blog. 

Finally, and I guess this is what you mean with All the pictures. You want more photos than the ones we deliver to you. Right?

We don't hide pictures. We love you to have them all, because what else will we do with the other ones? Storage space has costs. Now, I click more than your selection, and I most likely to have at least ten that look the same as the one I gave to you, only not as good as it. Photography is painting with light and training the eye to choose the correct combination of Light, Emotion & Moment. That is what turns a click into an image. I am giving all the final images.

Oh, this was long, and thank you for having reached until here. I am thrilled you wanted to learn more about this subject and hope this was helpful. Wondering if you more questions about this. Just let me know,

Have a fantastic weekend and see you next week. 

Joanna, your Amsterdam photographer


(For now, only in English for a better understanding of all your wishes)

KvK: 76809935

09 Jul 2021

Why photographers don't give away Raw files?

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