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Giving up your RAW images...

I have seen this topic pop up several times - mostly in wedding groups. I think people think that they're doing you a favour by saving you a job - editing. But, as lovely as the thought is - I just don't think you should give up your RAW images.

Some people will see it as a way to save themselves a little work, and the client will see it as a way to cut some of the cost out, but still - I wouldn't do it, and here's why:

So - what is a RAW image? In this sense, it's the image that comes directly out of your camera, it's not been altered in any way. A lot happens between the RAW image coming off the memory card and the finished product that your client sees. You've chosen a photographer based on the style of their work. Most photographers these days will enhance their images in some way, be it just a simple case of straightening up or cropping an image, right up to the removal of objects in the background or adding an overlay.

Personally, I do all of the above:

This was from a recent shoot that I did - as you can see, most noticeably is the removal of the handler and of course the reins. But if you look closer, I've also removed the shadows created by the human body to give the impression that no one was ever there holding the horse. If I had left the human shadow in, it would totally have given the secret away and would probably stand out as quite a sore.

I zoom right in on the images to tidy them up before they go out to my client - first of all, this is the kind of approach they'd have expected, and the image would have been quite different if these little details were not given attention. But secondly - this is my style, if I gave away my images unedited, the image would have a totally different impact. I want to ensure consistency across every image that goes out. I wouldn't ever do half a job and my clients know that!

Every one of us photogrpahers has our own unique style: one thing that I ask after a client has been presented with their images is that they do not crop or add filters, such as those you find on Instagram as again, this can totally change the whole feel of the image - I have clear visions for each image, be it the crop, the filter overlaid or another aspect that probably hasn't even crossed your mind yet.

Each image that I share tells a story - I take pride in my work and take the time to adjust each one to an exact vision that I have.

I apply the same technique to all of my images - whether it's a private shoot or a commissioned commercial shoot. If I allowed other people to edit my images, there would be no fluidity across my work and the results could end up being unpredictable. Styles of imagery are what people like, and base their choice upon when seeking a photographer. I have a "brand" and name to think about and a reputation to keep up on the styles of images that I create which is why I would not hand out RAW files to a client.

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