Why I Don't Give Out Raw Files

As a photographer, one thing I always have trouble trying to explain to clients is why I don't give out raw files. Clients often say that I won't be needing them, they've paid for them etc, the list goes on. It may not seem like a huge deal; just giving out unedited photos. However, I'll be the first (and probably not the last) to tell you that it's a pretty big deal. Here's why.

It's not my finished work. This is my art form, and the final product is my masterpiece. Giving out a raw file is giving you half of a job. Like giving you a latte at Starbucks without the espresso. That's not what you paid for! I'm a professional, I want you to get the most out of what you're paying for, because I care about you as my client.

I could lose prospective clients. Imagine you're hiring a makeup artist, and you walk in on her halfway through a face, and think "oh, that's all you can do? No thanks" before she's even finished her work! That's what could happen to photographers if potential clients happen to see our raw images; it's not finished therefore is not showing off my full potential. Each photographer has a very specific editing style (that's why some sell their presets) which means when you see a raw file, it's pretty average looking with nothing special to it a lot of the time. 

Allows clients to edit without consent. As is often the case when a client gets a raw file, they decide it'd look better brighter, in black an white etc. They try to do our editing for us! The only problem is they're doing it without the photographers consent. Let me edit it for you!! You'll like it way better, you won't have to play around with it yourself, and then my raw images won't end up all over the internet where it doesn't belong.

Post processing is essential. If you notice in the examples I've included below, there's a huge difference between my raw files and my finished products. Sometimes it's necessary to shoot a certain way with the intention of fixing it up in Photoshop! 

You don't want raw files. I promise you when I say, you do not want my raw files. First of all, it's unlikely you'll even know what to do with it. Secondly, clients are most often displeased with the raw images because they're not what they expect! You may think you want the raw files, but I promise you; you don't.

Check out some before and afters below!