Do you return ALL your RAW photos to your clients?


graphitee

New Member
Jan 1, 2009
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#1
Hello everyone! Just a question to ask everyone about this (slightly sticky) situation I encountered recently.

Recently, I helped my friend shoot his wedding AD, and everything went pretty well. A week after I gave my friend the photos photos, he told me that he wants "ALL the RAW photos" returned.

While I'm sure I did not shortchange him any photos, I didn't think it's part of the general photog practice to return all the raw (anything unedited) photos to the client.

Sigh, this is when my friend start all the "I got friends told me they got all their raw photos back." and go on to voice about the "lack of photos".

I must admit I'm pretty new to the wedding photog biz, but returning all raw and unedited taken on the actual day to the client? This is against my work ethics. ): I felt rather insulted.

So, I would like to ask all the big brothers out here, do you return all of your RAW photos to your client? And if so, under what circumstances?

Your guidance and enlightenment is much appreciated!
 

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Cowseye

Senior Member
Mar 7, 2010
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#2
I dun think u are oblige to return the raw files. First of all, was this a paid assignment? Was the RAW file return part of the agreement? Was there an agreement on the number of photos to produce at the end of day?
 

sinned79

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2009
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#3
i nvr release the raw files to my clients. i only gave them edited version and original unedited version in jpg format at most.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
4,490
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#4
1st of all, different people have different interpretation of RAW.

Most non-photography people actually meant the "deleted scenes", or the frames that you throw away.

It can also mean the RAW format of files, for example for Nikon; *.NEF or for Canon, *.CR2.

Either case, I do not give them out. My contract covers that, in pre-brief I also discuss that with the client. I have my ways to making them understand easily. Most clients will understand.

A photograph is like a piece of wood carving art, I painstakingly carve it to perfection, but the if the client instead of loving the final piece of art, rather chose to dig the ground for those useless wood chips, then maybe its not the ideal type of client to book next time.

Also, some bridal related magazines or forums might had also advised brides to do that, bad bad advice from the budget ex-brides usually. The bride herself sometimes have no idea whats the whole thing about but just following advise blindly.
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#6
Raw photos can mean those jpg file straight out from camera, unedited version.

why won't people want these?
after your had a meals at a restaurant, do you ask the chief give you all the raw materials like bones, skins, vegetable roots left behind from preparing your dishes?

do you ask your tailor return you all the cloth scrape together with the suit you ordered?


if they ask for raw format file you can just say no, not even with a price.
 

graphitee

New Member
Jan 1, 2009
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#7
Thanks for the replies guys. Paiseh I didn't state earlier, by RAW, I meant unedited and excluded photos in any file format (RAW, NEF, JPG etc).

For a moment, I thought I was an isolated case when my friend said "my friends got their raw files back".

Honestly, I was at fault for not asking for a second briefing with the couple to get a detailed information of what type of photos they really want. He is a friend so I thought we could do without the contract and the serious briefing. (It's obviously a stupid mistake.) Technically, I shot for free (exclude the mandatory angbaos their parents give to helpers).

Pardon my rant, but I'm still feeling sore over the his snooty comment about how he should get all the photos back, despite the fact that I put in 110% for his big day and saved him a few thousand bucks. :(
 

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catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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#8
Thanks for the replies guys. Paiseh I didn't state earlier, by RAW, I meant unedited and excluded photos in any file format (RAW, NEF, JPG etc).

For a moment, I thought I was an isolated case when my friend said "my friends got their raw files back".

Honestly, I was at fault for not asking for a second briefing with the couple to get a detailed information of what type of photos they really want. He is a friend so I thought we could do without the contract and the serious briefing. (It's obviously a stupid mistake.) Technically, I shot for free (exclude the mandatory angbaos their parents give to helpers).

Pardon my rant, but I'm still feeling sore over the his snooty comment about how he should get all the photos back, despite the fact that I put in 110% for his big day and saved him a few thousand bucks. :(
by law, since he is not paying you, you are the rightful owner of the images, so you can give anything that it is fine with you, you can let them use the photos, but the ownership of the photos is still belong to you.

you can ague with him about the angbao is for good luck or your wages, it is between you and him.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
4,490
10
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#9
by law, since he is not paying you, you are the rightful owner of the images, so you can give anything that it is fine with you, you can let them use the photos, but the ownership of the photos is still belong to you.

you can ague with him about the angbao is for good luck or your wages, it is between you and him.
I wouldn't worry. Angbao cannot be treated as a form of payment. Because at time of receiving there is no consideration of specific value nor any specific reference or documentation to say "This angbao contains X amount of money which will apply to the payment for your services". Otherwise anyone receiving free photography services can say the cola drink you drank at his reception which worth $1.20 is your payment already and take away your copyrights, not possible. Furthermore it could just be an empty red packet, or contain just a thank you note, or 4D ticket, or whatever, nobody knows.

Can understand your feelings. That is why a lot of pros don't shoot for close friends, usually a bad idea. Better be a 'brother', get to drink, laugh, party and make merry, and still seen as a hero 'Sibei steady helped me drink a lot on my behalf!'. But be photogr spend money on gear spend energy spend time post processing, but end of the day still become the bad guy. His wife might say 'your photog friend make me look so fat' or 'Why he so late never give us pictures' 'Why he only give us so few pics" 'Why he never take pic of me wearing my shoe like i see in brides magazine have leh' yada yada.

If never manage well, after that no more friend liao.

Been there, done that. Hahaha. Thanx, no more, friend also charge full price and sign agreement, but really prefer to be guest and shoot with my handphone instead.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#10
Technically, I shot for free (exclude the mandatory angbaos their parents give to helpers).

Pardon my rant, but I'm still feeling sore over the his snooty comment about how he should get all the photos back, despite the fact that I put in 110% for his big day and saved him a few thousand bucks. :(
catchlights is totally correct - you are the legitimate owner of all pics. Technically, if you're *really* annoyed at him, you can just not give him any pics at all, but that would be a bit extreme. ;)

Let's say your plan was to give them 30 photos - just give them those. And stand your ground if he says "where are all the other photos?". He has no right to them. Simply say "I saved you a few thousand bucks, this is what I am giving you. If you want all the raw, unedited shots, I can quote you a per-photo price.".

The fact that he is insisting on all photos, giving you attitude, etc, shows that he does not value your friendship at all - so stand your ground, otherwise you will get a reputation as a photog that always gives all photos.
 

Apr 30, 2010
443
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#11
I dun give my clients the raw files.. as most of the seniors have pointed out the reasons why.. but there's one and only advantage.. if you are a really very very good photographer that doesn't need much editing.. you could show to your clients that there's not much difference from your raw file and edited files... I think they will be very very much impressed by your workz.. I haven't reached that stage yet hehee... Mr Edward Cheong one of the trainer in knowledge bowl did that... He is also one of my teacher...
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
12
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#12
you could show to your clients that there's not much difference from your raw file and edited files... I think they will be very very much impressed by your workz..
Nope, NEVER do that. Then they will wonder why you are charging them for post processing, and since you don't need to do much work, you should just give them the raw files...

It's a bad idea to try to brag/impress customers who just want the world for free.
 

sfoto100

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2009
2,092
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#13
ya it is always the case. the subject always want more, the photographer prefer to give only the best. The subject thinks your best is not my best.

sjackal is right, never shoot for friends.... i learn something..
 

fotoudavid

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2005
2,157
3
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#16
You offer free or he wants it free??? Basically, the Ppl here are nice in their reply.

My thoughts: give ur so call friend the middle finger.
 

Apr 30, 2010
443
0
0
#17
Nope, NEVER do that. Then they will wonder why you are charging them for post processing, and since you don't need to do much work, you should just give them the raw files...

It's a bad idea to try to brag/impress customers who just want the world for free.

Oh... Ya you got a point there senior.. I never gave them raw myself cause I really spent alot of time editing the photos to give the best to my clients.. So if I give them the raw, it like wasting all my efforts.. just thought my teacher gave everything back to his clients so I think this would impress the clients... Hmm your point serve a very important factor if there are ever clients request me to give them. One extra factor for me to explain further why I do not return raw files to my clients.. Thks senior! :)
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
12
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#18
just thought my teacher gave everything back to his clients so I think this would impress the clients...

...and that's why he needs to earn extra $$$ by teaching LOL

Sorry, I couldn't resist...
 

Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
4,669
15
38
www.tomato.sg
#19
Hello everyone! Just a question to ask everyone about this (slightly sticky) situation I encountered recently.

Recently, I helped my friend shoot his wedding AD, and everything went pretty well. A week after I gave my friend the photos photos, he told me that he wants "ALL the RAW photos" returned.

While I'm sure I did not shortchange him any photos, I didn't think it's part of the general photog practice to return all the raw (anything unedited) photos to the client.

Sigh, this is when my friend start all the "I got friends told me they got all their raw photos back." and go on to voice about the "lack of photos".

I must admit I'm pretty new to the wedding photog biz, but returning all raw and unedited taken on the actual day to the client? This is against my work ethics. ): I felt rather insulted.

So, I would like to ask all the big brothers out here, do you return all of your RAW photos to your client? And if so, under what circumstances?

Your guidance and enlightenment is much appreciated!
Alamak... just say... can... you can have every single RAW files back for $10k (or any price you want to put in). That generally do bring them back to reality...

I get asked too many times and every time people ask me, how much is the high res images (edited jpg files), I say $2500 (exclude my session fee). Some will pay and get it and some will just tell me, it is too much... anyway, this has been communicated to my clients before they book so they know.

If someone is to blame, that is yourself by skipping steps in the getting the "job".

COMMUNICATION is always the key in managing client's expectation and keeping everything in line of what you want to do.

You are indeed in the sticky situation... as you can win the battle but lose the war... (u keep the files, you lose the friend or you give the files, you lose your work ethics...) ta da.... lack of communication....

Sorry to pour cold water on your face, but you need to wake up when you are thinking of doing anything related to "commercial" photography.

Regards,

Hart
 

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