The Value of a Professional Photographer, or: ‘Can I Have All the Unedited Photos?’

24 thoughts on The Value of a Professional Photographer, or: ‘Can I Have All the Unedited Photos?’

  1. Some magazines require raws though? Usually they take both and use my edit but they required the raw be submitted. At least they went with JPEGs at web res to narrow the choices though!

  2. Yes, but…..there are plenty of situations where you are hired as part of a team. I shot a touring urban dance show where I was part of the team. At the end of the show, I provided the raws which they would edit for publication. That was part of the contract.

  3. If your wedding clients actually think their hired photographer would “hold back” the best images, let’s all hope they never breed … just my two cents! 😉

  4. I agree with this article. Read another article that went the exact opposite way and tried to show that giving up unprocessed RAW files was really not a problem.
    If a customer wants all the unprocessed files from a shoot then that needs to be either in an oral or written contract ahead of the time they are shot.

  5. A real pro is not just one who shoots great images but one who does great communication. Spell it out…up front. That being said, an important point to make with the client is that often we shoot with a post process in mind so we may shoot over-exposed or under-exposed, etc to get in post what we envision while shooting. Those RAW images won’t look good (may even look bad) without the rest of our professional process. Clients hire us for our technical expertise AND our vision. No client can see what’s in our heads to make a RAW image into what we planned to shoot.

  6. Even as a photographer who does a lot of editing I would not ask a photographer taking photos of me (whether it be portrait of whenever I get married) for his raws. It’s respect for their work to let them handle their art.

  7. Never mind that I found the article unconvincing, these are just the kind of issues that need to be dealt with upfront, pro-actively and by the photographer. If a potential client doesn’t agree, they’ll move on. That’s how the free market works.

  8. He also shows that he’s not using Photoshop to fix catastrophic mistakes (due to incompetence) or to alter (distort) the subject- he is just clarifying his creative vision. Well put.

  9. When someone hires me they own me for the time I’m being paid, any and all work I create in said time slot is theirs.

    Many disagree with this thinking but I’m a more successful photographer ( businessman) than most photographers I come across.

    I don’t think my work is too special, I’m a realist who understand I am one in literally a billion good photographers.

  10. Another analogy, when you buy a music album do you expect all the raw stem files from a 48 track project file? Of course not you pay for the final polished product that has the overdubs, mixing, effects and production. Then there is the packaging, ludicrous

  11. The last paragraph in the article addresses the real issue. There should always be a discussion about this prior to the shoot. If you don’t convey this to the client before they commit to the work, then you shouldn’t be calling yourself a “professional.”

  12. Just as we didn’t hand over our negatives, we don’t hand over all of our shots. Not because they must all be edited, but we are hired for a job because of our expertise/quality photo-shooting and we deliver a finished product.

  13. Back in the day when I worked on car magazines we did ask our photographers for raws but we were a professional retouching department who knew how to extract the best from them. I agree with the post though for personal work I never give the raw files.

  14. The only thing I have to say about this is, not all pros shoot RAW though. I’ve read articles where pros talk about how stupid it is to think you need RAW to make a “great shot”.

  15. Assuming all photographer that shoot raw know how to post process well. Non photographers don’t have the paler for what we think is good. But in the end a paying client weather a magazine or an individual can request some up ailing things. Not all of us are financially able to just walk away. Magazines request disgusting retouching a lot of the times. If I want to get paid I have to give up my images to the retouchers. The real money is in shooting divas not being divas. Do what works best for you. I go where the money is.

  16. Personally (as a private client, rather than a corporate one), I would want RAW versions of the photographer’s selections as well as their edits. Likely I would never go near the RAW versions, but I have significant photo editing experience myself, and I may want to use the originals to create something new at a later date. Once there is agreement not to use those personal edits publicly without going back to the photographer to discuss any publishing rights/agreements, that shouldn’t be a problem.

  17. I dont care the reason as a client I want to view it all, I may find something that i want to have that professionally a photographer would not include. I definitely agree it needs to be in the contract and as a consumer I will move on to a professional willing to give me what I want.

  18. Editing is an art. It comes from our personal taste and preferences. It is the way we feel beauty within a frame. For me, it is the most important phase of the creative process. It is when you create an image, which should be unique, as each of us are 😉

  19. I started reading this and began thinking that I wasn’t to sure where this was going but then realised that this is really aimed at clients, not togs. By the end, I found myself nodding along in agreement though. The author is absolutely right that this is a tricky subject and his explanations are well written.

    There’s definitely something in here that will assist photographers in dealing with this issue in the future.

    Great article and thanks for sharing!

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