Hannah and I recently got married. It was a beautiful ceremony that we got to share with our family and friends. Now that it’s over the two of us are taking some time out to write Thank You cards, get copies of our wedding photos printed off and mailing them out to people.

It’s the photos I wanted to spend a little time talking about today because finding a photographer to shoot my wedding the way I wanted it shot was one of the most stressful aspects of our wedding. There was no reason for it to have been that way.

In setting out to find a photographer I had some requirements.

  1. I wanted the photographer for 8 hours on the day of our wedding.
  2. I wanted  photos taken the whole time.
  3. I wanted digital copies of all the processed photos.
  4. I wanted digital copies of all the RAW photos.

That’s all.

I have no need for prints. I have no need for them to be posted on a website for family to view. I just wanted their time, a lot of photos taken, and digital copies of everything.

It was my last request. The one for the digital RAW files that hung me up with most “photographers” (and I am using that term very loosely). The general responce I got from “photographers” regarding my desire to have copies of the RAW image was something like this:

As far as photography, I’m sorry, but I do not give out my RAW files to clients.  I am comfortable providing only a finished product of edited JPG files to my clients. I am sure you have reasons you would like RAW files, but I do not work that way.

That was a copy of an actual e-mail I got from a “photographer”! Can you believe it? It says to me that “I am not comfortable with my talent enough to give you the digital RAW images. Only until I have processed and manipulated the photos will I give a digital copy to my clients.” As a result this “photographer” did not get my business. I don’t feel like I lost anything either. It’s not like the photographs this person displayed on their website where any better or worse than any other wedding photographers website I saw. This person just happened to be the first result on my google search, so I e-mailed them. Maybe they should change careers to SEO consulting than stay in photography. At lest they are good at SEO.

Next we have an e-mail where the “Photographer” treats me as if I don’t understand what I am requesting from them. It’s insulting to me and it makes them look stupid. By the way, belittling your possible clients is a great first impression to make! Because nothing says “I am a great photographer” than  insulting the one you are hoping is going to hire you.

I need a bit of clarification on the RAW files you requested.  By RAW do you mean full resolution?  Because RAW is totally unedited and looks worse than a jpg for a point and shoot as the basic adjustments that many cameras do to jpg files, isn’t done.  They aren’t a pretty image.  And honestly, I don’t release RAW files.

This “Photographer”  has already lost my business just for writing me this way. This e-mail is just an insult that feels like a slap in the face. What on earth happen to ‘the customer is always right’? Good luck finding work in the future with that attitude you camera monkey.

Next, we have an e-mail response where the “photographer” is trying to justify their lack of accommodating my request with pure bullshit.

I’m afraid that I cannot accommodate your request for RAW files.  It is akin to handing over undeveloped rolls of film to a client.  Even in the days of film, which lab one chose to develop and print your film made a difference in the image quality.  I don’t honestly see a benefit to the client having them, so if I’m missing something or maybe we are speaking of two different things, please feel free to clarify what benefit you wish to gain from them.

In this e-mail the “photographer” is trying to justify to me why they will not hand over the RAW images. My favorit line is: “I don’t honestly see a benefit to the client having them”. If this person can’t understand why a client would benefit from having the original RAW files, then it astonishes me that they are even still in business. In fact, this person should be required to give up all of their cameras until they do understand how a client could benefit from RAW images. These excuses, in my opinion, just don’t hold water. Based on this email I can only assume that:

  1. This “photographer” does not believe enough in their own talent to hand over the RAW images. So, why would I even bother hiring them in the first place?
  2. They probably don’t even shoot in RAW to begin with.
  3. Their ego is so big that they can’t accept that the customer might know how to use photo editing software better than they do or the customer has someone else in mind to do the photo editing.

The next e-mail came to me as meaningful advice from a friend when I was ready to pull out my own hair in frustration looking for a photographer.

…a word of warning would be that no good photographer will give you the RAW images. It is their art. They will want to be able to edit and perfect the image and doing so will force it to be converted into a JPEG format (or possible other format) making it no longer RAW…

This is just annoying. My friend has only the best intentions for me. That part is clear to see, but the whole thing comes down to my needs. I am requesting the services of a “photographer” to shoot my wedding. These people are not Ansel Adams nor will they be the next Ansel Adams. They just happen (I presume) to own an expensive camera and they think they can shoot better pictures than other people.

I come from a 15 year background of graphic arts and photo manipulation. I am expertly versed in (but not limited to) Aperture, Photoshop, and Lightroom,  I am also an amateur photographer myself. I have no doubt about my ability to work with RAW images. I just didn’t want to take photos at my own wedding. I have had friends and family offer to shoot my wedding free of charge. I would be just as happy with their photos as I would be with someone who claims to be a pro and wants to charge me a couple of grand. I just don’t want my friends and family taking photos when they are supposed to be at our wedding enjoying themselves.

What I have learned from this is that most “photographers” are control freaks who, if they gave me the RAW digital files, they won’t be able to modify them to cover what a shitty job they did in the first place. This is why 99% of all wedding photos have that blur/haze effect.

The real problem is that there are a LOT of really, really bad photographers out there. In today’s world, people think equipment equals skill, but in actuality, better equipment just creates a false sense of one’s own abilities. It seems like weddings attract the worst of the worst in photography.

I did eventually find a very polite photographer who was more than accommodating of my requirements. He even advertised them on his website. He shot my whole wedding and reception. He gave me digital copies of the processed photos and the RAW images. As a result this person will get my repeat business and I will recommend him to anyone looking for a photographer in the future.

Youseph

The host of the YOSHICAST and TRANSMISSIONS Podcast. Transformers enthusiast and comic book collector.

This Post Has 53 Comments
  1. and breath 😉

    for what little its worth I would of given you RAW files either. Not as a result of being a really bad photographer or anything like that, but simply I don’t want to do half a job for any of my clients and giving RAW files would be doing just that.

    For what little its worth there is no question of faith in abilities, just pure pride in doing a job well, and that includes developing the photographs as well as taking them.

    I’m sure you have no difficulties in working with RAW files, but maybe if you’d put your experiences in your initial approach you would of got slightly different responses from the people you approached. As much as you would like to sound off about this, maybe there is a little bit of a two way street going on there.

    Not meant in any way to cause a fight 😉 just pointing out there is always more then one viewpoint

    Hugh

    1. It comes down to what the customer wants. I wanted RAW photos and I wanted the rendered out, touched up JPG files as well. If a photographer was not willing to do that for me then they where not getting my business. I was not about to pay for something I did not want or was not going to get. No one should.

      I imagine if you where doing a photo shoot for a band, a catalog or a magazine your client would expect the RAW images. I could be wrong. I don’t work in those industries, but I would expect that those types of clientele would expect the raw images for their own in house art department to deal with.

      I also feel like your splitting hairs a little with your second to last paragraph. I should not have to justify my requirements to a photographer. I sent out polite e-mails to several photographers stating I was getting married and I wanted them to shoot the event and I also stated my expectations. They could simply accept or deny the job. Rather, they went out of their way to explain to me that I either didn’t know what I was requesting or that they would never give me RAW files and they are insulted that I even would ask such a thing.

      You are right. There are two sides to every story. I have done my best to post the photographers’s side of this by copying their e-mail and posting them here verbatim. I just don’t feel their reasoning holds water. So I am calling them out on it.

  2. I’m gonna have to disagree with you on this one, sir.

    Photographers often choose not to release their RAW images for the same reason that most musicians don’t release a song that hasn’t been properly mixed, or a director doesn’t release a movie that hasn’t been properly edited. Any recorded song has to go through an editing process before it’s ready to be released, in order to get the levels right, blend everything together, etc. Movies go through their editing process too. Ever seen a deleted scene on a DVD that hasn’t gone through all of their processing? It has a totally different appearance than the final cut of the movie. Does this mean that the musician, or the director, are talentless hacks? Not at all. (There may be other reasons why they suck, but that’s beside the point — I’m looking at YOU, Michael Bay!)

    Asking for RAW images from a photographer is similar to asking for the unedited song from a musician, or the uncut movie from a film maker, and saying, “Hey, let me finish that up for you.” Sure, you may be perfectly capable of doing the job, but don’t be surprised if they’d rather do it themselves. If they act like pricks about it, then yeah, screw ’em. But to assume they they lack talent based soley on their declining to provide the RAW images is unfair.

    1. Comparing photographers to musicians is like comparing Apples to Oranges. How many times have you been driving in your car listening to the radio or a CD and wishing you could remove that sound from the song that makes you think your mobile phone ringing or that a police car just pulled up behind you? I HATE when songs have sounds like that in them and I wish I had the ability to remove them.

      I was in a band in Washington State back in the day that payed to have ourselves recorded and mixed. You better believe that sitting on my shelf is a harddrive of the original ProTools masters of our songs. Not being signed to a record label means you actually get to keep your masters should you want someone else to mix the songs for you down the road or if you get signed to a record label they will want to remix the masters.

      Back when I owned a web design company I built clients websites. When I was done with the projects I would hand them disks of everything used to make their website so that if in the future they wanted to work with someone else they could just hand them the disks and say “This is everything”. And it would be everything.

      Wedding photos are personal to people. I get that a majority of the population does not know how to use photo manipulation software so they would want a fully edited and processed photo. I, however do know how to edit photos. So I want the RAW images. It was a requirement for me. I can actually fix something that I might not like that the photographer did in post processing. If I got shitty processed photos back from my photographer at least I could fix them. It’s just to bad I can’t say the same thing for every shit CD I ever bought.

      When I say that they lack talent based solely on their declining to provide the raw images, I think I have some ground to stand on here. If a photographer is hired to shoot for a major magazine; do you think that the magazine is going to want to hand their editors a rendered jpg or a RAW image? I would imagine they would want the RAW image to work with. I am sure the photographer has his own vision of what he wants the photograph to look like but the magazine has their own image of what that one issue needs to look like. Who is going to win that war? I imagine this happens a lot and I imagine that these photographers who just hand over their RAW images have real photographic talent. If this happens with Magazines than it happens with album covers, billboard posters, movie posters, and so on.

      When a band is signed to a major record label and the label pays for them to have a CD made you better believe that the label keeps the masters. They pay for it. They get it. I wanted the RAW images. I payed for that.

      1. I really don’t think it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. If you’re listening to a song and it has one of those annoying sounds, you may not like it, but that’s how the artist wanted their song to be. You’re completely entitled to dislike it, and to never listen to that song, or that artist, ever again. And if you were looking for a band to play at your wedding, you’d probably never consider hiring them for the job, because you know you don’t like the product that they produce. The same goes for photographers. If you’re looking at their portfolio of finished photos and you don’t like their work, because they have funky effects on their photos, or their use of color doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s your choice to not hire them. They obviously aren’t the right photographer for you. But that’s all based on personal opinion. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re good at what they do.

        There are lots of photographers out there who choose not to release their RAW images. They prefer to only release a finished product that they are comfortable putting their name on. That is their call to make. That policy may end up losing potential clients, like you or maybe even a magazine or newspaper. Again, that’s their choice. Whether they’re a talented photographer is a whole different argument.

  3. What re-ignited the fire on the RAW images topic? Just curious 😉

    I have worked with so many photographers in the wedding industry over the years and while not all photographers are equally gifted, I feel as though I must stand up for the ones that I know. I agree with Hugh. Just because a photographer is reluctant to hand over the RAW images doesn’t mean that they are not talented. When you sign a contract with them, you are purchasing their art work. No artist likes to reveal their work in an unfinished state–even if it is just making some minor adjustments to tone or lighting in the pictures. Perhaps some wedding pictures need a bit of a touch up, not because of poor photography, but because of situations that are out of their control. For example, one of your bridesmaids wore a florescent pink hooker dress (when your colors were red and black), you had a huge zit on your forehead that day, or you had your wedding outdoors on a windy/rainy day and everyone looks just a bit too blue and frozen–you never know 🙂

    I also do not feel that the quoted photographers were being intentionally rude to you. The first one is politely letting you know that he/she doesn’t offer the RAW images, the second is confused and thinks he/she might be misunderstanding what you want, and the third states that he/she doesn’t offer them, but wants further clarification as to if it truly is the RAW images you want and why you might want them.

    I do believe if you had explained to them your skill and maybe a bit more about why you wanted the RAW images, they might have been more willing to work with you. However, if they don’t want to give you the RAW images, it is their prerogative and it doesn’t mean that they are trying to hide something or are less of an artist. Did they list it as being included in their packages? If not, they are not required to give it to you. Did you try offering them more money to add the RAW images to the package?Does the guy you hired offer RAW images because he is not afraid to put his unedited work out there? Maybe yes and maybe he offers more for a lower price because he doesn’t quite have the same level of experience that some of the other photographers do. Is he more talented than them? I doubt it.

    This comment is written not to upset you in any way, cauz you know I’ve got nothing but love for you guys, but I do feel the need to stand up for all of my photographer peeps out there. In summary, you guys got a good guy for a steal of a deal who gave you everything you wanted–just don’t be so quick to hate on the others. Unless you have specifically paid for the RAW images, it is still the artist’s property and they can do what they want to with it.

    1. What Re-ignited this topic?

      This is a big deal to me. This is my wedding. Photos are one of the few remembrances of such an important day. I wanted RAW files and the amount of resistance I was faced with in my request astonished me.

      This post has been sitting in my draft for Months. I had to wait till the whole wedding process was over to post it so I would have a complete story. I feel others should also be educated on the subject. (By others I mean the 5 people that actually read my site on a daly basis)

      The first photographers e-mail you sited comes off as polite rejection to you. Interrupt it that way if you want. The e-mail says “I am sure you have reasons you would like RAW files, but I do not work that way”.

      Fine.

      Did this person mention this on their website? No. In fact this person listed no packages at all on their website. Rather a “e-mail or call me” was stated on their website to discuss packages and fees. Nothing was listed. The only way for me to find out that they do not give clients RAW images was to contact them directly. The fact that this person states they don’t feel comfortable providing RAW files leads me to believe they do not believe in their talent with a camera.

      The second e-mail you sited makes you think that the photographer misunderstood me. I can’t help but think that when a photographer is directly asked about providing RAW files to a client; how that could be misunderstood? How many forms of RAW are their in digital photography? To me the e-mail comes off as this person knows perfectly well what I am asking for but is shocked that I would ask for such a thing. They even go on to explain why they would not provide me with the RAW files in the same e-mail. I don’t think their was misunderstanding. Just shock that I would ask them for such a thing. Which is shocking to me that they would be shocked.

      Why didn’t I explain my skill to the photographers?

      I did with the first couple.

      I did send them back an e-mail (that I felt was unnecessary) explaining my skill to them and why I wanted the files. (It felt wrong that I had to justify myself to someone I was going to hire.) After the first couple I quite doing that. Regardless the ones I did e-mail explaining my experience, they still wrote me back saying “No”, but they would still be happy to shot my wedding.

      I don’t think so.

      If the photographer did not list RAW on their website I contacted them and asked them how much more it would cost to include them. To everyone I contacted in this way, providing RAW images was not an option even if I payed more for them.

      Does the guy I hired offer RAW images because he is not afraid to put his unedited work out there?

      I had a nice chat with the photographer we finally went with for the wedding. He told me that he used to do a lot of photography for REI and Nike (among others). That most of his career had been based in advertising photography. When the industry went digital he was always required to submit his RAW image to his clients. They where not interested anything processed. It was not till he retired from that line of work in Seattle that he started to pick up photo editing for the wedding jobs, senior photos, head shots, etc that he was doing because his clients didn’t know how to do that stuff.

      I know you did not write this to upset me. You got to stick up for what you think is right. I understand that and I respect that. This is my blog though. It’s a place where I write about what I want and how I feel to the 5 people who actually visit my site. Do I have a hatred for wedding photographers? ehhhh maybe? I do have a hatred for the wedding industry that is trying to make money off of every single aspect of a wedding which takes a way from the wedding it’s self. I don’t believe it should have been as difficult for me as it was to find a photographer. The process was bullshit and took far to long.

  4. We are both entitled to our opinions. I just think that you are being a bit harsh in your opinion of the photographers’ talents and their “attitudes”. I do agree that the wedding industry is full of bull shit people charging you an arm and a leg for their services. Instead of ranting on photographers, I feel your anger should be focused towards the difficulty you had with venues. That was the real heart-ache in the event planning 🙁

  5. Any photographer that takes their job seriously does not give out RAW files to the general public. You might have the software and knowledge to process it, but most people don’t.

    A photography business cannot be set up around you and the fact that you work within the visual arts industry. Businesses are set up for the general public. All of the responses were polite, they just weren’t what you wanted to hear. The photographer asking for clarification, I believe, was sincere. People often confuse terms when the terms are outside their profession. These photographer do not know you. How can they know your level of expertise?

    It’s your right not to pay money for a service you don’t want. It’s their right not to take a job they don’t want.

  6. Ingrid,

    A photograph who takes their job seriously and does not give out RAW files to their clients is not the kind of person I want to hire. The reality is that since I am the one who is doing the hiring and paying the bills I am going to win this argument with photographers. Multiple photographers lost my paying gig and I am happy because I ended up with great wedding photos shot in RAW.

    I assume by your statement that you feel the photographer I hired is not serious about his craft since he provided me with the RAW images. How do you know if a photographer is serious about their craft? The gentlemen I hired had an impressive resume, tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment and an assistant. So
    let me ask you Ingrid; can you site one example where a photographers career was negatively effected because they gave their RAW files to a client? Just one?

    I think someone who is shooting wedding photos is not well off in the photography industry in the first place. Lets be honest with ourselves here. Next to birthday parties, weddings are the lowest wrung on the photographer’s gig ladder. The photographers that shoot for magazines, record labels, name brand products, etc. don’t do weddings (unless they are doing a favor for someone).

    You are right, the responses I got from photographers where not at all what I wanted to hear. Had the photographers who wrote me back simply said “I can not supply you with RAW files. I hope you have a wonderful wedding and best of luck.” I would have been perfectly happy. But that is not what happen. They all presumed my ignorants. Frankly, that is not someone I would want at my wedding anyway.

    There was no way any of the photographers I contacted could know my level of expertise. I can accept that I am in the minority of people who actually knows what they are doing with images files, but does that mean they should presume my ignorance multiple times?

    Most wedding photographers are not part of an elite group of photographers. They simply are people who bought an expensive camera that had a good rating on Amazon.com at the time of their purchase.

  7. You found a photographer that was selling what you wanted. The others did not sell what you wanted. Easy as that.

    Yes, there are many, many wedding photographers that have little experience and don’t know what they are doing, but there are some amazing ones who makes incredibly good money. They make more off a wedding than 98% of photographers do off a one day commercial job. It’s like all jobs, if you’re at the top, you are making great money and are pretty darn talented. At the bottom, you are making crap money and might be talented, might not be. (There are some great artist that are horrible at business.)

    I know a photographer that will give out CDs of any kind of image anytime. He works harder and makes less than anyone else I know. So, yes, working this way, giving out the files, is definitely hurting him. He has diminished his brand where in a field where your brand is everything.

    1. What I need help understanding is the correlation you see between giving the customer what he or she wants (in my case RAWs) and how that is diminishing his brand.

  8. Branding is about offing a consistant product. When you see something and you know right away what brand it is associated with. For retail companies this is in the logo and packaging. Coca-Cola, the Tiffany box, Louis Vuitton’s LV print. For creative brands it’s more the look of their creation. You can look at a page out of the Jcrew catalog and know it’s Jcrew even without being told. They have a strong brand identity. It is also easy to recognize a DVF wrap dress. When you see art by Jeff Koons, you know it’s Jeff Koons. Companies with a strong brand make more money. Is that purse with all the little LVs all over it really worth a few thousand dollars? Is Jeff Koons work worth anything?? They have a strong brand. People buy into it and want to be a part of it.

    When someone gives out their product unfinished and allows someone else to finish it, they are diluting their brand because of the inconsistency of the finished product. No matter how amazing of a job you do, it isn’t going to be theirs. They’ve given up control of their product. They are no longer a brand that develops a strong product. They are a cog in the wheel and much easier to replace.

    How did Lady Gaga become the top earning entertainer for the year? Branding. Her music, her clothing, everything about her is branded her artistic vision.

    If a photographer goes to an agent about being represented and everything in their book doesn’t have the same feel and processing, they are going to be told to work on their vision, aka brand. The agent can’t sell them. They are a cog in a wheel. Hard to sell that.

    When you look at the Disney ads that Annie Leibovitz shot you know right away it is her work. That is what Disney wanted. I promise you that they didn’t ask her for RAW files! They wanted her complete vision. That is why they hired her and why she is able to charge a high rate.

    This guy
    http://jeffascough.com/#!info/Bio
    is quite famous. I’m sure he doesn’t not give out RAW files. He is the artist. Hire him because you love his vision. You want that vision. He is not a cog in a wheel. It’s his vision from beginning to end. Having a strong brand and sticking to it is what has made him successful.

    You could argue that the people you contacted weren’t very artistic or talented. They didn’t even have a strong brand! They should have been happy just to make a few bucks. This could very well be true. I don’t know, but the question was how does giving out RAW files diminish a brand. It does by giving up control of the final product. The look, the quality, the presentation, is no longer up to you. All the strong brands I’ve mentioned to not do that, they offer a consistant product, and that is why they are so successful. That is why people what them even at a higher price.

    Now, you could have a wedding photographer set up shop and build an entire brand around the fact they do not finish work, they give you the RAW files. This would be a branding strategy. Like unfinished furniture.

    But how much business would they get? A lot of people wouldn’t know what to do with the files, but more and more people are learning the programs… This could be a very viable wedding business strategy in a few years. How they keep the brand strong is by never doing finishing. After all, consistency is how a brand stays strong. You could have a list of designers and retouchers to recommend if the person decided they bit off too much, but their packages never include it and that is the niche their brand fills. (They’d never make as much money off a wedding as a strong full service brand, but maybe volume would make up for it.) The only risk is if too many people don’t know what to do or are overwhelmed when they get the files the word of mouth for them would be abysmal.

    So to wrap up, a wedding photographer giving you RAW files diminishes their brand. Their brand allows them to charge a premium and is part of their marketing. A diminished brand means a weaker business with weaker profits. They are “wedding” photographers. If you asked them to shoot a portrait of your dog on the side and give you the RAW files, they might be down with that as it doesn’t touch their brand. Just as a photographer who never does weddings, and could give a crap about them, would be much more likely to give you the files from your wedding. That photographer has nothing invested in weddings.

  9. Honestly this article is just a bunch of lame excuses to get a RAW from the photographer. First of all they’re the artist, they’re the one that took the image. Its their property and when you pay for a photo to be taken of you unless specified otherwise you’re paying for a copy of that image not the actual RAW file itself. What are you planning to do with a RAW? Edit it yourself and tarnish the work that the photographer did? Then you produce a POS edit of the photo print it thinking it looks amazing and when someone sees it they’ll ask “who took that photo?” an you’ll respond “oh (insert photographer’s name) took it.” And that photographer lost a potential client because you felt like messing around with something you don’t know how to mess around with. And before you parade about being an expert in the photo editing business if you were so good at it you wouldn’t be paying a photographer for a finished product. So now that that point has been shot down you might want to bring up how long lasting RAW’s are and how they are “digital negatives” and it would make sense to keep them to preserve the image. Well truly professional photographers do not delete RAWs. I have About 1.5 TB’s of images that cover the entire spectrum of my career as a photographer. I never delete and I’ve had clients call me 4, 5, 6 years later asking for a copy of their photo because the original got destroyed and within minutes i locate it and send it out to print. This article is really about disgruntled, spoiled customers that feel like once they start paying a triple digit number they’re entitled to the photo’s, the time, the RAWs, the camera, and the photographers house. There is no reason why you need a RAW other than to defile the work that has gone into producing the image and no because I wouldn’t give you the RAW does not mean I’m a bad photographer that doesn’t get it right in the camera. I’m a good one, but the camera can’t take away your blemishes, wrinkles, double chin, lazy eye, grey hairs etc. For all these reasons and many more the correct thing for photographers to do is to explain to spoiled would be customers the above points (Not as rash as i did of course!).

    1. I might regret this later since you’re clearly not operating with a full deck, but what the hell.

      Honestly, you sound like the worst wedding photographer in the universe, and that’s saying a lot considering wedding photographers enjoy a very low status in the industry (one step above unemployment).

      I laughed out loud when you said “defile” like your work is worthy of the same praise as high art. It’s wedding photography for christ’s sake. You should be lucky to get work in the first place. If a customer wants RAW and is paying you, you give him RAW and thank God you’ve even been allowed near a camera for another day.

      Get over yourself.

      1. I studied and worked very hard to get where I am now. I am sure that every photographer is proud of their work and consider it art as i do. Am i the best in the world? no i have humility unlike yourself “the self proclaimed expert of photography”. But i know for a fact that i can take and edit photos better that 99% of my clients and their friends that rip off a copy a of photoshop. Why is that? because they asked me to take the pictures in the first place and they asked me to edit them. Again you come off as a spoiled immature self entitled brat that can’t deal with the opinion of a photographer. I laughed out loud at you as well.

        1. I take it back, you’re not the worst photographer in the world. Judging by the tone of your comments, it’s very unlikely you’re a photographer at all. No one could have such disdain for their customers and refer to themselves has having “humility” in the same paragraph. My bet is that you’re a kid with a point-and-shoot and your uncle paid you for some real estate photos one time.

    2. Point 1. Its their property and when you pay for a photo to be taken of you unless specified otherwise you’re paying for a copy of that image not the actual RAW file itself.

      I did specify other wise.

      Point 2. I have About 1.5 TB’s of images that cover the entire spectrum of my career as a photographer.

      If your spectrum of work is only 1.5 TBs, I question your ability to make a living off your “photography” and your AOL e-mail address.

      1. don’t be so full of yourself i put in my personal email and secondly the fact that you could only contest my validity as a photographer based on the amount data i have is really sad. And for ansel adams up there they clearly did not understand what i said. When you give out a RAW you are giving the customer a digital to with it as they please. I thank you both for acknowledging the dangers of this. Oh and Mr. Adams if the customer is paying me they’re paying me for full resolution renditions of the RAW nothing more and nothing less. Its wayyy too easy to get a fast one pulled on you when you are handing out RAW’s and later on they defile it, print it but your name is still attached to the print. and lastly I’m not a wedding photographer and i find it funny that you would assume i am one. This is exactly why I’m not one, because of spoiled customers that act like yourself and believe they are entitled to absolutely everything. They think “oh its my special day, this means i get special treatment and i can ask for whatever i want and get it”. Its time to grow up and smell the coffee. Go to any professional photographer or large studio and ask for the RAW they’ll laugh in your face. Just my two cents no need to get so defensive about it. to the both of you.

        1. I think the definition of “defensive” is going to a random blog, finding a post made months ago, and posting a rabid and incoherent defense of an industry that you’re clearly not even a part of. If ANY photographer “laughed in the face” of any customer, no matter how ridiculous the request, they wouldn’t be a photographer for very long.

          So here is my 10 cent psychological profile of Emmanuel: He’s clearly not good enough to be a part of an industry that he has put up on a pedestal, so he trolls around the internet all day looking for the slightest criticism of it. He so covets an invitation into the exclusive club of “wedding photographers” he will do almost anything to join them, including embarrassing himself on random websites.

          1. Look I’m not commenting on this to fight with some clown that calls himself ansel adams on blogs. I’m sorry I hurt your feeling about providing raw files. I had no idea you were so mentally and emotionally unstable that my opinions were going to launch you into an offensive tirade. You’re clearly not a photographer because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Again sorry I hurt your feelings I really gotta be more careful when commenting on blogs and forums because I always forget about the drama queens like yourself.

  10. I do not release the unedited RAW images on CD or any other medium just as most film photographers do not usually release the negatives from a shoot unless prior arrangements are made. If a client requires more images edited, content sets, or a disc full of images please I set up a meeting so that we can discuss it. Face to face interaction is much better then emailing back and forward.

    Why would you want the RAW images anyway? They are of lower quality than a JPG from your basic Point and shoot. I never let any other person “tamper” and attempt to PS my work.(which is really why anyone would want the RAW files) because it it looks terrible *due to inexperience) it makes me, as a professional, look terrible and my business rests on me talent and reputation.

    Good luck finding a talented, reputable photographer who is willing to release their RAWS. I sure wouldn’t.

    1. Amber, I want to thank you for your comments and taking the time to write on my little known blog. As a business owner, such as yourself, you have the right to run a business anyway you want. If it is your policy to not release RAW images, than stick to it.

      In my search for looking for a wedding photographer I saw several websites that stated just what yours states: ” I do not release the unedited (RAW) images on CD or any other medium…”. Those photographers where scratch off my list of people to hire right from the start. What my wife and I were left with were a handful of photographs that did not state anywhere on their websites that they don’t give clients RAW images. So I started contacting them one-by-one. And one-by-one I was politely or rudely informed, depending on the photographer, that they do not give clients their RAW images. This went on till I did find someone with years of industry experience who was more than happy to full my request of supplying me with the RAW images along with his post processed images.

      I wanted the RAW images because I wanted the ability to edit the original file or allow someone else to work on the original file if I was not happy with the post processing work of the original photographer.

      You also stated that RAW images “…are of lower quality than a JPG from your basic Point and shoot.” This statement makes me think you truly don’t understand photography and that scares me. If you are out there taking wedding photos for people who are depending on you to do a top notch job and you don’t understand why people shoot in RAW in the first place. These photos are the only thing they are going to have to look back on their wedding years down the line. Thats a pretty big responsibility to have on your shoulders and to think you might be doing a subpar job because you can understand the benefits of shooting in RAW. Good luck with that.

  11. Would you walk in a restaurant, sit down at the table…. order something off the menu and ask to speak to the Chef.

    “Excuse me sir… this creation sounds amazing and I’ve been told by others that your food really is very delicious but could I ask you “please don’t wash anything, prepare it or cook it… can you just pop all the ingredient into a carrier bag and i’ll do it all myself when I get home…

    SECURITY… GET THESE PEOPLE OUT OF HERE…. is probably their reaction.. and you wonder why there are fewer true professional photographers around anymore… I’ve think i’ve heard enough.

  12. Oh and 1 more thing – the definition of a RAW file is below for those who don’t know.

    PS: RAW files are much poorer quality as they are UNPROCESSED – which means they are not necessarily the sharpest as the camera is not choosing settings for you on pressing the shutter, you are expected to do it in post production…therefore giving the photographer much more control on the ouput of the said image.

    People must understand that most photographers shoot in RAW during ceremonies because of the nature of what they are shooting. We get little or no time to grey card for a natural white balance or read the correct colour temp when things happen so quickly so we need to relying on post production … and using the cameras presets is not the way forward as Auto White Balance can’t be trusted for such and important shot. We also what natural colour definition and clarity (nobody wants a yellow wedding dress). RAW files no matter how talented the photographer from the offset is will always look poor due to the nature of the file as it’s UNPROCESSED… that means in post production you have full control of White Balance, Sharpness and Colour Temporature… the camera hasn’t chosen for you… so for someone to view a RAW file… it would look unprocessed as that’s the nature of the file and that goes for ever RAW file in the World… it’s not lack of talent by the photographer it’s lack of knowledge by the client.

    Also remeber that until that RAW file is processed the photographer hasn’t actually pressed down the shutter… the images is only complete once it is processed to JPEG…

    Definition of a RAW FILE

    A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner. Raw files are so named because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. Normally, the image is processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colorspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a “positive” file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation, which often encodes the image in a device-dependent colorspace. These images are often described as “RAW image files”, although there is not actually one single raw file format. In fact there are dozens if not hundreds of such formats in use by different models of digital equipment (like cameras or film scanners).[1]

    Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image. Likewise, the process of converting a raw image file into a viewable format is sometimes called developing a raw image, by analogy with the film development process used to convert photographic film into viewable prints. The selection of the final choice of image rendering is part of the process of white balancing and color grading.

    Like a photographic negative, a raw digital image may have a wider dynamic range or color gamut than the eventual final image format, and it preserves most of the information of the captured image. The purpose of raw image formats is to save, with minimum loss of information, data obtained from the sensor, and the conditions surrounding the capturing of the image (the metadata).

    1. I agree with what you said mostly however you are wrong about RAW file sharpness. The reason RAW files are sharper than jpegs is because no post processing has been applied to the image such as noise reduction etc. one of the reasons I shoot raw is for sharpness. I do agree there are too many wannabe photo editors that wanna ruin ones work with shoddy editing skills but your name is still attached to the photo because you took it.

      1. I’m sorry Emmanuel but I agree with Joanne’s comment that RAW files are NOT as sharp as JPEG she is quite correct on this. RAW files record the data in it’s “RAW” state as it was recorded at the sensor plate. In front of the sensor plate on a digital camera is an Infra red filter that the light must pass through to reach the sensor. his extra layer actually “softens” the image recorded on the sensor. This is then later rectified either in the post processing stage in the case of RAW or in camera in the case of JPG

    2. Lets say I have a friend named Amanda Hugginkiss. She goes out and hires a wedding photographer to document her special day. Now this means a lot to Amanda. Its not like she plans to ever get married ever again. (Well, maybe. With a last name like ‘Hugginkiss’ she might just want to get married to lose her last name and will divorce the guy once someone better comes along. But I digress) So, Amanda gets married and the wedding photographer is snapping pictures like a Japanese tourist. A few weeks pass by and Amanda gets a package in the mail containing the processed images in a nice photo album and on DVD-Rom. When Amanda goes through the photo album she is mortified! The pictures of her wedding look horrible. All the effects and color correction that the photographer did just destroyed the only evidence of what was the happiest day of her life. What is she to do? What can she do? The photograph does not agree with Amanda that the photos are bad. The photographer is so upset that someone does not like the “Art” they produced that they only way he will even think about redoing his work is if Amanda pays the photograph for his time to work on them. Well Amanda does not like that idea because the work done the first time around was so piss poor. If only she had some way to take the original RAW files to another photo editor. Better yet! Because Amanda has a background in photo editing, thanks to her job, she could fix the photos to look how she wants. You know? Like in a way that does not make your eyes bleed. But she can’t because she does not have the RAW files and the photographer is refusing to give them up. So now Amanda goes to a lawyer. After talking with a lawyer and discussing what all this she learns what litigation would cast to get the digital RAW files from the photographer. In the she ends up hiring a hit man for far less. Some hobo named Jim Bob. Amanda is happy because now she has respectable wedding photos to show off and Jim Bob is happy because tonight he will not be cold and might even eat a sandwich from Quiznos for dinner rather than dumpster diving for scraps.

      1. Sorry Youseph but that does seem a rather childish and immature comment.

        Lets put that statement into the “real world”…

        Here’s what we know from what you’ve just said…

        “Amanda” in this scenario in skilled at image manipulation.
        “Amanda” would therefore know hat she is looking for in her style of photography, and is aware of the importance of good images.

        So in the real world,”Amanda” would spend time looking for a reputable photographer who’s portfolio she can examine to make sure their style of photography is what she is looking for. Not a decision based on price but based on the images she can see. She would then meet with them to discuss her requirements and they form a plan of what they can achieve and how the images will be presented. Here is where the photographer receives their “brief”. “Amanda” also has the opportunity to ask any questions of the photographer that she wishes.

        So far she has had an opportunity to see real images taken by that photographer, and multiple albums of different weddings to show consistency of standard of work.

        After the event you say in this scenario that “Amanda” is horrified.
        Okay, if the above steps have been followed this should almost never happen. I say “almost” as with any profession there are always a tiny minority of unreliable vendors but the majority are in fact trustworthy and take pride in their work and rely on reputation. Remember the first bit about hiring a “reputable” photographer. Reputation means a lot in this line of work and any customer should consider this when hiring anyone.

        However lets say that despite choosing her photographer carefully based on reputation, recommendation, seeing their portfolio and meeting with them to discuss her requirements, there is an issue with the quality of the images and “Amanda” is heartbroken.

        In the first instance she would simply contact the photographer and explain that she is unhappy with the pictures and would like to discuss her concerns. Most photographers would be very keen to make her experience a happy one and would bend over backwards to help make her memories perfect again. At the meeting she could then describe how the images did not fit with the brief she outlined prior to the wedding. She can then re-outline how she wanted the images and can use examples of images from the photographers portfolio to illustrate this. The photographer would then revisit the images and reprocess them according to the revised brief and re-present them to “Amanda”. This process could easily resolve the issue and is in fact what should happen in the real world.

        If as you say the photographer disagrees despite all the above and says the images area fine, then there is now a break in communication of client need and service provided. “Amanda” could approach a small claims court for resolution. It is likely that they would in the first instance ask another “reputable” and independent photographer to examine the images and make comment on any technical aspect of exposure, color balance, focus etc…to ascertain if the images were obtained in a technically correct way. They would also ask for comment as to whether the revised brief is something achievable from the images if they were re-processed.

        If so the court would then look to resolve the issue by giving the original photographer the options of…

        1. re-process the images according to the revised brief

        2. release the RAW images to an appointed 3rd party for processing

        There would probably be some financial compensation too.

        “Amanda” would obtain her images and would be compensated for her trouble. The photographer would be out of pocket and their reputation would be blemished which means they’d now struggle to get work based on reputation.

        Further than that, your comments re a hit man simply show your own immaturity.

        1. You talk as if the leaches of the photography world, the wedding photographer, deserves to have their work hanging up in the Louvre. Please come to grips with what I was requesting. My post’s simplest form, it was my journey to find a wedding photographer who could meet my needs and the trouble I encounter trying to fill my needs.

          If a “Photographer” does not want to sell their RAW images. Not a problem. I wouldn’t have hired that person because of that anyway.

          You think selling the RAW images to a client destroys them? Cite me three real world examples of this happening to any wedding photographer.

          Take a step down off of your imaginary high thrown and observe the world as the reset of us see it. It’s called reality. People pay for what they want and wont pay for something less than what they are asking for. “Photographers” should feel free to continue giving clients every excuse that can be thought up for not give them RAW files. Im sure photographers just bill that as “consulting” time anyway.

          1. Youseph I have never mentioned anything like hanging works in the Louvre. The accusations you make are unfounded and frankly immature. What you wanted was not available by so many photographers for good reason. They were not rude to you, nor are they scared of their own talent, and it’s nothing to do with ego. It is simply that we are employed on our reputation. If we supplied RAW images for editing by anyone out of our control and they do a bad job. Others when seeing the results of that bad job will still be told we took those images which would without doubt damage our reputation and our business. You may be very good at image manipulation (but there is no evidence of it on this blog) but others undoubtedly will not be and it would only be a matter of time before bad image manipulation started to cost a good photographer their business.

            The only person on a high throne here is in fact you. Your needs were refused because they are potentially damaging to any photographers reputation who gives you their RAW files.

            As for living in the real world, you received some good explanations from many photographers, and you have made many accusations and called us many things including “leaches”. You have inferred that the only way to rectify the problem is a “hit man” when in fact most photographers are nice people who do a very good job and if ever there were to be a problem would bend over backwards to help their clients.

            I’m afraid you are just to immature and ignorant to ever see that the common denominator in this issue is you. You are blind to the fact that you are in fact having a tantrum like an infant and refusing to see anyone’s view but your own.

            I have tried to explain why you received the (frankly polite) replies that you did, but now I wont post further as your own ego is quite simply blind.

            By this you are simply showing

      2. When Amanda goes through the photo album she is mortified! The pictures of her wedding look horrible. All the effects and color correction that the photographer did just destroyed the only evidence of what was the happiest day of her life. What is she to do? What can she do?

        So then you contact the photographer and have THEM fix it you idiot if your “mortified” then I’m sure the reputable photographer will fix it for you (I doubt they would mess up in the first place) … You are always saying OH WHAT IF THE PHOTOGRAPHER MESSES IT UP you just sound like a paranoid person honestly LET THEM DO THEIR JOB … Look on their website if they have good work hire them.. I highly doubt they are just going to mess up yours … Get over yourself. No photographer wants YOU editing their work. Such a stupid blog post honestly. Your never going to get it. Think about you claim to be this great editor.. would you want some random person editing half your work then showing people and people thinking you did everything? No.

  13. You are a groomzilla. Would you ask Ansel Adams for his negative? If he gave you it you wouldn’t have made a decent print from it because he took the picture with the print in mind, his mind, not yours. You will also find that musicians don’t provide their demos included with the finished product, BECAUSE IT ISN”T FINISHED. As for control freaks, I think you might be one yourself, no?

    1. A Gromzilla? Hardly. Everyone but me was involved with the detailed planning of the wedding. The only thing I asked to be in charge of was the wedding photographer. And he kicked ass too!

      The musicians example is a bad one. Most of the time (not all of the time) a record label sends a band into the studio to record their music. The label (who payed for the studio time) keeps the master recording tapes or hard drives and all the rights to them. The band (who wrote the songs) gets a copy of the CD (no where near the quality of the master recordings) and a small monetary percentage of every CD/MP3 sold by the label.

      Control Freak? Good God no. My direction to the photographer was that I wanted to do family photos right after the wedding. Other than than I just asked him to walk around and take random shots of the goings on at the wedding and the reception. I don’t think I talked to him again till I got back to Alaska and he was ready to mail me the files.

      I have been accused of a lot of things in my life. But a control freak or a micromanager? Never.

  14. In the time it took me to read all these hilariously insecure comments from ostensible wedding photographers, thousands more were born simply from being able to click “add to cart” on a shiny new 5d3. Just think how many unemployment checks one would have to save to afford your prosumer ticket to wedding “photography” riches! No skill required!

    Honestly, you should all be ashamed of this spectacle. Your industry is filled with charlatans and thieves yet you come to a tiny blog to attack a paying customer.

  15. I think that a lot of photographers wouldn’t give out RAW files to a lot of people as they are useless to 90% of people. Some people wouldnt even have the software to open them.

    I think a lot of your fuss would of been avoided if you had’ve mentioned your background. I normally would not give customers the RAW files, as i see it pointless. But if i knew the person had a background in graphic design/photography and knew how to use photoshop/lightroom, then i would be open to giving them the raw files. But I would not assume everyone who asks for RAW files to know what they are talking about, and before releasing the RAW files i would want to see evidence they know what they are doing so they don’t butcher my work.

    As for your earlier scenario with Amanda, i think like someone else has said, if you choose carefully and not based on price, and if she has training in editing, you would think they would chose someone who shoots the style they like. A lot of people i know who are disapointed with their photos is because they get what they paid for, and its your one (for some people they have a few) big day and you skimp out on cost you pay for it. Some people are just happy with any old snaps, but if you are going to be picky, do your research.

    “They just happen (I presume) to own an expensive camera and they think they can shoot better pictures than other people.” this is an unfair comment unless you are looking at cheap photographers. high quality study and practice and learn skills, just like you and your graphics.
    Thats like saying a graphic designer is just someone who has photoshop and a computer and can do a few fancy things. When i know that its a lot more then that (i too am a grapgic designer by trade)

    This reply has got a bit long, but I agree some photographers treated you like a person with no idea and not very professionally, but at the same time i can only assume you did not tell them of your background which with most photographers may of given a different response.

    You wouldn’t like giving someone a flyer design in photoshop and giving them the psd, only to see later on the flyer had been changed and made to look terrible, it would make you feel like you wasted your time, even though you still got paid, its a kick in the guts to all your hard work. And this is why photographers are wary about giving RAW files out to untrained people.

  16. Photographers just aren’t used to customers wanting RAWs (most of their customers have never heard the term) and generally don’t like giving out unfinished work, which is what a RAW is, unfinished work, I’m sure that’s been well established by now.

    If in the email you’d explained that you have 15 years experience a a graphic designer working with various programs and you want artistic control over the final look/theme/colour scheme of the photo set they may have been more receptive and agreed.

    I’m only an amateur and not yet beyond shooting family/friends weddings (complete lack of pro equipment) but if in the future someone like you explained the situation and asked for RAW’s, I’d totally agree.

    … I’d just delete a bunch of the inevitable bad photos caused by uncontrollable conditions the photographer faces. Only ones I know you wouldn’t use either.

    1. Mate, you’re an arrogant tool. I’m a well established photographer, I am internationally published and I’ve been in the business for more than a few years.

      By your own admission you are an amitutre photographer (ie YOU are the talentless hack). You say your more than capable of editing your own images, but I wouldn’t trust you with my work, nor would any self respecting artist (hell I wouldn’t trust you even if I were a talentless hack with nothing to lose).

      You speak of things you obviously have no experience in and what’s worse is you dropped Adams name in the context of comparing him to a wedding photographer you dick!!! Adams never shot a wedding commercially in his life.

      You sir are a moron. I don’t care if that offends you. I don’t care if I don’t get your cheap $2000 wedding. You can keep your money and your indignant, puerile attitude because who needs a client like you? Answer… Nobody… Which is exactly who ended up shooting your wedding.

      PS: you edit with the finesse of a 6 year old.

  17. Hi Youseph, my name is john fick and I am a wedding photographer. Thought Id share a quick thought on this matter. In any industry good customer service what brings in businesses but you also need to understand every industry have their own ways and would do to protect the industry. I believe RAW files is one of them, as you know its not only what the client would demand but it is also how, we, photographers protect ourselves as professional photographers. Giving away RAW files can also mean a lot of things, it can lead to poor execution to photoretouching, not saying you are but there are things in life that you just need to RESPECT the way the industry works. The same way I would respect how you would perhaps run your business. But in saying that, I dont think any of the photographers refuse to give you RAW files are arogant, boastful, or too much pride. Shame you judged them harshly I believe, I dont think if photographers do not give any RAW files they suck at what they do, I actually dont give RAW myself perhaps you can check my work http://www.johnfick.com and shesgorgeous.com.au It doesnt make me any less of a photographer if I do not give my RAW files away. So yea I just thought you were a bit harsh and perhaps disrespectful of some sort. But good on you you were able to find a photographer who gave you the RAW. Goodluck to you. Cheers mate!

  18. This topic on RAW files is just a facade. What you’re really after is the huge audience who would surely read and react to your blog. You did manage to get the attention that you want. Good luck to that!;-)

  19. That photographer who would not give you their RAW images were very right in doing so. To say that they are “not comfortable with their talent enough to give you the digital RAW images, only until they have processed and manipulated the photos” is VERY offensive and rude. Every photograph you see on a daily basis used professionally has been edited. It’s part of the process. In my opinion this photographer was better off not working with such a bitter client.

  20. Anyone has any right to want to request a particular product from a contractor. If RAW files is what you want, you have every reasonable right to request it. Once you find a photographer that is willing to give you RAW files, you set the terms in a contract and done. There you go.

    What you do NOT have a right to do is attack an entire is Industry of professionals who arent willing to do so, and whom you can simply just not hire, with ad hominem arguments and insulting comments about their abilities or their way of conducting THEIR business. Your arguments are snobby.

  21. Why do many photographers feel like they own your wedding pictures when in fact you have paid them for it. I am talking here not only about getting your raw images, at a cost of course, but about photographers who insist also, that they are not giving you either digital copies on a cd, or even high resolution ones. They come up with the silly excuse that it is their art and reputation, which needs to be protected. B.S!

    Ultimately, and as pointed out by the author of the blog, an upfront agreement on what the expectations are on both sides is necessary, yet on the other hand, personally, I do believe that during the wedding, even if an agreement of expectations was never discuss, all photos taken, belongs to the paying party. Here’s why…

    Consider a person spending $30,000/year in college cost to get an engineering degree. He has developed the initial skills and has gained the qualification in order, to say, design a building. With years of gathered experience from situations and other engineers, he gets really skillful at what he does. Out of college he gets a job at an engineering firm, and they pay him to design a beautiful four(4) stories apartment complex. He does a decent job, and at the end of it all he’s paid all along the way. Now he does NOT have the rights to the design or the building. He was paid for his time and expertise, or ART if you want to call it that. OF course his name will always be on the design. It’s the same with photographers. Yes you worked hard and invested a lot of money into acquiring the knowledge and equipment of your field, but when a customer seeks to hire you, they are hiring you for your time and expertise and the production of photos consisting of themselves or an event. Of course, it also depends upon what was agreed to by both parties. But to bold-facedly insist that a customer CAN NOT EVER have the raw image (if they request it) or even copies of high quality digital images, is just plain stupid and greedy. You may be an artist at what you do, but if I pay you for you time, skill and my photos, you should give it without attitude (at what ever cost was agreed on). It all smells of greed as far as I am concerned.

    It the customer’s wedding, what’s in the photos is NOT YOU, it’s them, it’s the event, it’s family, it’s that portion of time that they have created and taken part of. They have already spend so much money, on average, to create the environment and event, plus your fees, to then be told that you, the photographer, owns the rights to the photos. B.S, B.S, B.S!!!! How can you own the rights to that if you were paid for your services. YOU WERE PAID APPROPRIATELY FOR YOUR ACQUIRED TALENT AND SKILL. That’s it!!!!!!!!!!!!! It often seems like they are holding YOUR photos hostage.

    Sensibly, it is the customer who really own the rights to those photos. ALL of it, whatever format, and whether good or bad. Think about it for a moment. If I am a painter and paints landscapes. Then fine, this is my artwork done by my hands and as long as I keep it, the copyright belongs to me. I can show it to whomever I please and do whatever I want with it. If I sell it to someone else, then yes, my name will always be associated with that painting, but the new owner would have the right to show it to family, display it in art shows to make money, or sell it back to whomever and at whatever cost they wish. It’s their right. The artist gave up that right when they WILLINGLY and of their OWN ACCORD sold it for a price. They sold their work, which consisted of their time and expertise, that’s it! The picture no longer belongs to them.

    Now lets say the painter wishes to paint some people. There’s two scenarios: 1) He can hire some person(s) to pose and paint them. Key word here is hire. He PAYS them, and so they, the person(s), gives up any right to any portion of the painting. Though the painting has the image(s) of the person(s), because the painter paid them, he now owns the right to the painting, as long as he does not sell it.
    or 2) Some person(s) can hire the painter to paint their portraits. In this case when the painter is finished, he relinquishes all rights to the painting to the person(s). They, now having the right, can do with it whatever pleases their mind. THEY PAID HIM!

    This second case is what the author of the blog wanted, and most people these days want. This is 2013, not the 50’s or 60’s. This is the digital age, where people want to upload their photos to Facebook and share it with family and friends. Tangible prints don’t do much for people in these times. As for the first case scenario, it can be one where a photographer wishes to not release the raw images to the customer, and to keep the rights, then they (the photographer) should be paying the customer for that privilege.

    I think also, if raw images are given to customers, then there should be an agreement, that the customer should state explicitly if personal editing was done afterwards by an individual or others, and NOT by the photographer himself. So that the reputation and image of the photographer is not tarnished in anyway.

    1. “Sensibly, it is the customer who really own the rights to those photos. ”

      Photographers don’t “FEEL” they own the images. They do, in fact, own the images. Because according to US Copyright law Title 17 a photographer owns the copyright to any and all works he/she creates. You are granted LICENSE to use the images as you like based upon whatever terms are agreed on in the contract. If you don’t like it, hire your uncle.

      It’s not up to YOU to decide what the appropriate pay is for any person in a business to make a living. THEY are the ones running their business and THEY have to be the ones to decide what is appropriate after having done a CODB analysis. I don’t know what you do for a living, but how would you like it if I come along and told YOU how to run YOUR business or work or how much I think is appropriate for you to get paid?

      No photographer-or any business person for that matter-will insist ANYTHING that isn’t in the contract. That’s up to you and the business to decide upon.

      Your engineering professional is a false argument in that that engineer is EMPLOYED by another business owner. Photographers own their own business and as such dictate the terms of their own contracts. There are companies that employ photographers on a salaried basis and in those cases the company owns the copyright to the images.

      The fact is, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Your use of the word “greed” is lazy and obvious.

    2. My wife and I just got done demanding our RAW files from our wedding photographer. After going back and forth with him and ME having to go and physically show HIM how to do certain edits he eventually handed the files over. Just because the client isn’t a wedding photographer himself/herself that does not mean they lack any sort of artistic ability. Bottom line is the customer is always right. That is the basis of all GOOD companies. I worked as a freelance cameraman for over 10 years. Mostly sporting events, never weddings, whatever the hiring crew wanted I gave them. That’s what kept me in demand. In this day and age children can use Final Cut, Photoshop, Pro Tools and etc. Just point the camera and make sure it’s in focus I can handle the rest. It’s not hard.

      1. “Nick”, Im going to break down your comment, one by one.

        1.”…having to go and physically show HIM how to do certain edits”

        -Did you have a right to demand something from someone who wasn’t delivering what they promised? Absolutly. I would probably do the same exact thing. However, might I suggest that it is your fault for hiring someone that wasn’t qualified or experienced enough to shoot your wedding? In photography, you very much get what you pay for. There is no doubt that if you had gone with an established photographer with a great reputation and awesome photos that is known to delivering on what is shown in their portfolio, you would not have had this issue in the first place. Were you bargain shopping? That would seem to be the only answere

        2.”Just because the client isn’t a wedding photographer himself/herself that does not mean they lack any sort of artistic ability”

        -Professional photographers business reasons for not handing over RAW files are not predicated upon a clients artistic ability, or lack thereof. Photographers don’t care about your PS skills. The reason professional photographers do not hand over RAW files, as a matter of course, is because it is part and partial how they control their brand. Specific editing styles lend a brand look to a photographers business. Allowing someone else to edit their work changes that brand. Unfortunately, for the worse, more often than not. That, of course, is bad business.

        3. “Bottom line is the customer is always right. That is the basis of all GOOD companies. ”
        -That age old myth has been so debunked and proven as bullshit that it is hardly worth any effort to comment on. The basis of good business is great customer service, which includes managing customer expectations and delivering on promised contractual obligations. Exceeding those expectations is certainly an excellent way to foster great client relations.

        4.”In this day and age children can use Final Cut, Photoshop, Pro Tools and etc. Just point the camera and make sure it’s in focus I can handle the rest. It’s not hard”

        -You are essentially saying that all a good photo needs is to be in focus and the rest is handled in post? Is that really your assertion?
        A good photograph is about so much more than a single aspect. Composition, line quality, pattern, decisive moment, etc.

        If you think you are capable of telling a story with a single photograph that was only in focus and the rest was handled in post, then I understand you to be someone with zero artistic ability and taste; someone who has no opinion based in experience or fact.

  22. I own a professional photo lab and have been catering to wedding and portrait photographers for the last 30 years. In the film days wedding photographers needed to know the technical aspects of photography as well as artistic aspects. However the digital age made photography easier and more accessible to everyone and anyone. The WPPI photographers convention attendance has increased from 3000 attendants in 2002 to almost 9000 attendants in 2013.
    Today we have far more wedding photographers on the market than ever. Many of these photographers came into the industry because of losing their previous jobs in the bad economy. Frankly, becoming a wedding photographer doesn’t require much. Buy a used DSLR off eBay, print up some business cards, a flashy website with wedding images that you can buy off stock agencies, and good selling skills. And change your name into a more artistic two first names. You need no licensing or certification and very little investment. That’s why the business of wedding photography has changed from a service to commodity. I don’t see the art in today’s photographers work and I see a lot in my business. Basically they all look the same because they all follow the same trend. If you are starting out in this business, just go on line and look at many photographers websites and pick up and learn some posing technics. This wasn’t available years ago and photographers had to develop their own look and style. As far as technical skills, I remember once a wedding photographer told me that “P” on the camera was a setting for Professional. In the film days the photographer didn’t see the image right away on the camera, and he needed to know and control exposure (shutter, aperture) as well as depth of field, color temperature, reciprocity failure, background luminescence and Etc… not to mention using a totally manual medium format camera. Furthermore, there was no Photoshop to rescue you from disaster. Now its all justified as candid or journalistic BS. I remember once a bride complained to me about her photographer that she shot 25 images of the brides toes and shoes, but forgot to photograph her grandma.
    Face it, wedding photography is basically documenting and event. The images that are created are absolutely worthless to any one else on the planet except the people that are in it. Other categories of photography (Photojournalism, landscape, sports, Etc..) have artistic values since the images are valuable and can be sold globally. Wedding photographers have the worst reputation among photo labs as well. Why? In the film days labs offered terms to the photographers because they had the benefit of keeping the films hostage until they got paid. Today with digital images the collateral has disappeared. Accounts Receivables is the biggest problem many vendors have today dealing with wedding photographers.
    Of course not all wedding photographers are as such, There are many photographers which are honest and believe in and honor their profession and they take pride in their work.

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