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  • Writer's pictureChristopher "Sasha" Gousse

3 Reasons Why Giving Out RAW Files is a Bad Idea


Black man with index finger pointing up.
Photo by Monstera

In my journey as a photographer, I've often encountered a question from clients; it goes a little something like this: "Can I have the raw files?" While I can totally understand how this request may seem reasonable from their (the client's) perspective, there are several reasons why it's not typically a good idea, and I'd like to share my thoughts on why I would tend to agree.


1. The Beauty of Post-Processing

When it comes down to it, RAW files are the unedited, "straight out of camera" versions of the photos that I or any other photographer would take during a session. They are like the raw ingredients in a recipe before they've been cooked and seasoned. While they contain all the data captured by the camera and, by all rights, may look alright, they often lack the polish and visual appeal of the final, edited images. Why settle for meh, when you can have amazing!


When you hire a professional photographer, you're not just paying for a guy or gal who takes photos... OK, maybe you are, but you're also paying for our expertise in post-processing, knowledge of lighting, and someone who can deliver an amazing product of your moments. We adjust elements like exposure, color balance, contrast, and sharpness to transform a good photo into a great one. Without these adjustments, the photos may not meet your expectations or represent our best work. Which for you means a lame experience with me or someone else.


2. The Value of Professional Expertise

Photographers like myself spend years honing their skills, not just in capturing images but also in editing them. I wear so many hats just managing my business and doing personal work. We understand how to manipulate light, color, and detail to create a final product that meets our artistic vision and your needs.


Raw files are like a blank canvas. Trying to edit these files without the necessary expertise could lead to pretty unremarkable results. It's like having a box of high-quality paints and brushes but not knowing how to paint, or in some other cases not painting on that canvas altogether. Again this is not always the case but, why risk it?


3. Protecting the Brand

Ah yes... the brand. For me, my style and editing process is part of my expression and my brand. It's my unique vision that sets me apart and that you, as a client, seek when you hire me. It's my secret sauce.


Giving out raw files could lead to versions of the photos that don't align with my brand or image, being circulated. If those images are poorly edited or they have a crazy harsh filter from cousin Jane at the wedding, that doesn't represent my style, it could harm my reputation by having people think that that's how I edit my work.


It's not typically in the best interest of either the client or the photographer. to have RAW files given out. It's always best to have a conversation with your photographer about the photos you want and how you want them to look to make sure they come out meeting or exceeding your expectations.


Remember, when you hire a photographer, you're investing in more than just a set of images. You're investing in our vision, expertise, and

commitment to delivering the best possible results.


Until next time, keep smiling for the camera!


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