Should You Give Clients Raw Files? 5 Things to Consider Before You Do
We all know that question. Do you give clients Raw files? Some photogs say, “Sure! Whatever makes the client happy.” Others, (myself included), dig deep for some profound metaphor to illustrate how absurd the request is. Do you pay a chef to give you raw meat? Do you buy music before it’s mixed? Nah…
Still, it’s a request that you’ll encounter and you’ll need to know what your answer is, and more importantly, why. Photographer Jamie Windsor has some experience with this very topic and he gives you five things to consider as you decide what you offer your clients.
Reason #1 – People Don’t Know what RAW files are
You’re the professional and they’re the client. As you’d expect, you’re equipped with the tools to make the most of those files. True, some clients may know how to handle RAW files, but the average client probably does not.
Reason #2 – Size
The impact of the megapixel race trickles down to your customers as the market is full of cameras that possess 24MP or higher. The size of these images is a consideration that your client may not have accounted for adequately. You don’t want to burden them unnecessarily.
Reason #3 – The Don’t Look Finished
We know the mayhem that can be found on an SD card after a wedding or event. Missed shots, misfires, creative experiments, and maybe even a bit of “spray and pray” can be found in your bite-size storage. A client may be put off by a poorly captured image without fully understanding what it takes to make magic out of mayhem.
- Your vision of the final images
- What your camera is capable of
- What your editing software is capable of
- They aren’t supposed to see the bad shots
Reason #4 – It Can Damage Your Reputation
When you put the curating of your work in the trust of an untrained eye you are putting your reputation at risk. Images that would otherwise not be posted, find their way into the world without the benefit of your better judgment. Needless to say, this is not ideal.
Reason #5 – People are selfish and they lie
Even when you sign a contract with specific provisions, your client may break it and share images you don’t want the world to see. Furthermore, you may not have the means to enforce your agreement. This is unfortunate but true.