Here’s the scenario. You upload your clients photos to a gallery and send them an email, or you mail your client a disc of images. Which by the way, stop doing that..it’s 2016. But that’s a different post for a different day. ANYWAY…. You send out the photos, your client emails you and says
“I love them! My husband dabbles in Photoshop and would love to edit them, can we have the RAWs?”
“Is that all of them? Can we have all of the RAW files?”
OR something along those lines…
And your first thought is ‘WTF. What do I do?’ Generally, within the community, it is a resounding,
I generally have to agree with that. You will hear a million different analogies on why you shouldn’t send your client the RAWs, but here’s my favorite.
You don’t go to a baker, show them a photo of a cake, and then ask them for all the baking supplies, so why would you give your clients the RAWS. Those RAW images are just that, the ingredients to a cake and they haven’t been processed (baked).
This post isn’t about an analogy though, this post is what happens when you get that dreaded question, and how you can prevent it.
First things first, you shouldn’t give your clients the RAWs. Period. MOST of the time, clients have no idea what they’re asking for. There are many websites out there telling your client what they need to ask you (like when a client asks what gear you shoot with…they get that from a site and probably have no idea WHY they’re supposed to ask you that). This is no fault of the client. They just truly have no idea what it means to have a RAW image. Clients generally are also unaware that a RAW image is just that, RAW, unedited and usually in a format that they can’t even open on their computer without photo editing software.
Second, Put that ish in your contract. ‘Studio A does not give RAW images out, ever.’ That way, when they do ask you can direct them to your contract.
Third, SOMETIMES your clients are asking this because they don’t like the photos. I hate to say it, but if you’re adding weird editing to your photos, you’re probably going to get this question. If your photos differ every time you edit, and you aren’t consistent, you are probably going to get this question.
As photographers, this is a weird question. We don’t understand when a client asks and we freak out. It’s an easy fix (especially if it’s in your contract!). It’s a simple answer.
I’m so glad you had a chance to look over your images! Unfortunately, per the terms of my contract, I do not release RAW images. All the images were gone over with a fine-toothed comb and only the absolute best were chosen.
Thanks and have a great day!
It’s a fairly easy email to send. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it. You can always give them the option to buy the RAW files from you. For a hefty, hefty fee. That’s up to you.