"You wouldn't go into a restaurant and ask for the raw ingredients. The same concept applies to photography. You pay not just for the product but the artist's vision" - Walid Azami
Peter House, a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada recently shared this article that also included another photographer's thoughts on the topic of giving unedited photos to clients. Let us know what you think or your experiences in the comment section below.
"If you ran a poll to find out what are some of the biggest pet peeves that a photographer experiences when dealing with clients, undoubtedly, requests for all raw files from a photoshoot would be up there on the list. Many newer photographers cave in to the pressure of trying to appease their clients but the reality is that this is, in most circumstances, an unfair request that could do more harm than good. Fellow photographer Jessica Kobeissi explains why in this video.
There was a point where I myself would cater to my clients request for all the raw files. After a while I noticed a few interesting things:
a) Clients were not quite as happy. When they received all the files they were privy to all the failed attempts and all the distractions which are later edited. Its a bit like watching a magic trick. If you don't know how its done you leave in awe. As soon as you see the steps though, you are not quite as impressed. The same holds true for photography.
b) Clients pay you as a professional so that you are able to discern what is good and what is not. If you can't cull a good group of selects then you are not doing your job. I found that when I provided raw files, some clients were hoping they would find images that I glossed over and missed during the culling process. A funny thing happened though, they always agreed that I had already chosen the best out takes. Make sure your clients have that level of faith and trust in you to know that you choose the best.
c) Loss of brand control. This really is the BIG issue. As a photographer, everything you put out into the world should be a representation of your style and brand. If you are releasing raw files there is always the chance that they will get posted as is, or edited in a manner you wouldn't. That kind of inconsistency can be damaging to your brand and can cost you future business.
There are circumstances where releasing raw files is the norm, but for most photographers, it's not a particularly good idea. Kobeissi touches on the above points and more in her video, so I suggest giving it a watch. If anything, it may hep you explain to clients why as an artist it is important for you to release a finalized product."
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