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  • Writer's pictureJordan Wade

A chef wouldn't give you Raw meat a photographer wouldn't give you raw files. Here's why.

Photographers often get asked by clients if they can have the raw files from their photo shoot. However, many photographers refuse to give out raw files and instead only provide edited JPEGs or other image formats. This can be frustrating for clients who feel like they are entitled to the raw files they paid for, so why do photographers withhold them?


The main reason is that raw files are unfinished products. They are like an unprocessed negative from a film camera. They require special software to open and edit, and they often require a lot of editing in order to look good. Raw files are also much larger than JPEGs, which makes them difficult to share or print without proper software.


When a photographer takes a photo, they typically shoot in raw format so that they have the most flexibility when it comes to editing. They then go through the raw files and select the best ones to edit into a finished product. This editing process involves adjusting things like exposure, color balance, contrast, and sharpness. It can take hours to edit a single photo, and photographers take great pride in their editing skills.

By giving out the raw files, photographers are essentially giving away their unfinished work. They are also giving up control of how their work is presented. Clients who are not familiar with editing raw files may make changes that the photographer does not agree with, which can damage the photographer's reputation.


Another reason photographers withhold raw files is that they may contain sensitive information. Raw files often include metadata that can reveal things like the camera's serial number, the date and time the photo was taken, and the photographer's location. This information can be used to track the photographer's movements and potentially steal their equipment.


Finally, photographers may withhold raw files simply because they want to maintain control over their work. They have spent years honing their skills and developing their style, and they want to ensure that their work is presented in the best possible light. By only providing edited JPEGs, photographers can ensure that their work is seen the way they intended it to be.


In conclusion, photographers have many valid reasons for withholding raw files from clients. While it can be frustrating for clients who want complete control over their photos, it is important to understand that raw files are unfinished products that require special software and skill to edit. By trusting their photographers to provide edited JPEGs, clients can ensure that their photos look their best and that the photographer's reputation remains intact.

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