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Author Topic: Deliver RAW files?  (Read 8660 times)
scott_dobry
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« on: March 30, 2007, 01:35:00 AM »
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Greetings from a long time lurker and first time poster at this forum.  I recognize many of you who have migrated here from another forum.

Yesterday I was confronted by a troubling request.  I was asked upfront to deliver RAW files from an upcomming commercial shoot to an ad agency for a client. java script:emoticon(':angry:') Incidentally, I have a long-running relationship with both and get considerable work from both.  

I expressed concern to them for reasons you can imagine:  artistic integrity (the desire to see the whole vision through and provide the best image I can); the fact that I'm calibrated and  they're not; this will take up more of your designers time than you think; my retouching is better than your designers and is something the client has come to enjoy (and expect); it's part of my business model (production costs).

After all that and more, they come back with, "OK.....yeah....well while we respect all that, it all boils down to the client not wanting to have to wait around for an image from a past job when the chips are down.  They usually need it yesterday.  It's not perfect, but this is the way things are heading...." yadda yadda yadda.....

Finally, they announce to me that the other photographer that this client likes to shoot with has no problem with this RAW file delivery protocol.  In fact he prefers it.

So does agreeing to this with one client set a dangerous president?  Has anyone come up against this scenario yet?  Of course, IF one were to agree, there would have to be some sort of per-image turnover fee to compensate for production costs lost.
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photopat
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2007, 02:40:01 AM »
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My thoughts.

Don't hand over raws.. Period

Did you let the client print your BW or color neg images when you used to shoot film ?

Patrick
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Phil Boorman
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2007, 03:51:39 AM »
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I expressed concern to them for reasons you can imagine:  artistic integrity (the desire to see the whole vision through and provide the best image I can); the fact that I'm calibrated and  they're not; this will take up more of your designers time than you think; my retouching is better than your designers and is something the client has come to enjoy (and expect); it's part of my business model (production costs).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Scott,

I have had this with one of my long term clients. The way I approached it was to agree to supply RAW files but only in addition to 'finished' TIFF files. Interestingly, this year they seem to have come round to this way of thinking as they now specify supply of 8-bit TIFF files in addition to RAW's on their briefs - I think they now realise quite how much work is involved in handling raw files!

Phil
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James DeMoss
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2007, 05:10:22 AM »
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Hi Scott,

I have had this with one of my long term clients. The way I approached it was to agree to supply RAW files but only in addition to 'finished' TIFF files. Interestingly, this year they seem to have come round to this way of thinking as they now specify supply of 8-bit TIFF files in addition to RAW's on their briefs - I think they now realise quite how much work is involved in handling raw files!

Phil
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I just do not hand over RAW files to clients either. I told them it's like handing over eggs, flour, baking soda and then they expect a cake to be made as I would have made it.

Now an exported "corrected DNG".... hmmmmm...


Cheers

_
James
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Music Man5
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2007, 07:11:27 AM »
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Now an exported "corrected DNG".... hmmmmm...

That is a brilliant suggestion James. You can tell the client that the new industry standard is (or will be) DNG and that this type of image will have more shelf life than the old RAW file. Plus you can correct it before you give it to them! Brilliant!
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2007, 07:58:55 AM »
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I just do not hand over RAW files to clients either. I told them it's like handing over eggs, flour, baking soda and then they expect a cake to be made as I would have made it.

Now an exported "corrected DNG".... hmmmmm...
Cheers

_
James
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109584\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

James I like your baking analogy and also I'm curious about the corrected DNG suggestion.  Can you elaborate on this?  Do you mean that convert the RAW to a corrected DNG and then hand it over?

This would encompass part of my equation (minus retouching--I shoot people) and would be better than just handing over RAW files.

How do you price (if differently) for this service?  Per image?  Bulk price?  Flat price?
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2007, 08:18:40 AM »
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The way I approached it was to agree to supply RAW files but only in addition to 'finished' TIFF files. Interestingly, this year they seem to have come round to this way of thinking as they now specify supply of 8-bit TIFF files in addition to RAW's on their briefs - I think they now realise quite how much work is involved in handling raw files!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Phil,

This happend with me as well with one of my long term clients quite a while ago and they quickly came to the same conclusion as I expected they would as they are a direct client.  But I'm concerned in this case that this would set a bad trend with the agency involved (domino effect to other clients of theirs).

Supplying finished TIFFS with the RAW would not be practical for me as I shoot people.  I not only CC each image but also retouch.  I think that is my biggest complaint with all this.  My clients expect the people I shoot to look great and I don't want to leave that up to anyone else.  No one cares about this as much as I do.

I can see that in a way I'm telling myself what to do here which is to put my foot down--albiet with the risk of losing that agency / client.....


Is this what you guys would do (PhotoPat, James, and those of you who expressed that you never turn over RAW)?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2007, 08:58:46 AM »
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My thoughts.

Don't hand over raws.. Period

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109568\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Amen to that brother! Bad, bad idea. Lets not start going down that rabbit hole and having clients expect such requests be honored.
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Monito
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2007, 09:08:12 AM »
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Don't hand over raws.. Period  Did you let the client print your BW or color neg images when you used to shoot film ?[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109568\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Agree.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2007, 10:17:10 AM »
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As you have a history with these clients this doesn't really apply to you probably.

While I agree that it is a terrible idea to hand over the raws, the origins of this practice comes from incompetent photographers delivering poorly processed files. Not that ADs are any better equipped, but they think they are.

It is similar to the problem of CMYK conversions. I work for many magazines. Some of which prefer the photographer to do them, some do them in house and some send them out to prepress professionals. I don't like doing them, but in order for my work to reproduce correctly, I oftentimes feel obligated to do it with shoots I am proud of for magazines that I know will do the conversions the down and dirty method.

I think we and our clients are still in a period of transition and confusion when it comes to digital. For myself I have to spend an inordinate amount of time educating my clients. But that is just an integral part of the professional photography playing field right now.

In many ways I lament the days when we simply shot the absolute best transparency we could, got it processed, did a little editing, delivered it and moved on to the next shoot.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 10:18:12 AM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2007, 11:39:28 AM »
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In many ways I lament the days when we simply shot the absolute best transparency we could, got it processed, did a little editing, delivered it and moved on to the next shoot.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109643\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I hear ya.  In those days by turning over trannies, you were (in a sense) handing them a raw file where so many good or bad things could happen in scanning, etc.  Plus, the whole process from the shoot to the lab time (remember clip tests) to editing to selection to scanning could take days.

With digital, we finally have back the control we lost with the scanning process (if you sub- contracted that to a scanning service).  Now everone wants/expects it immediately.  I guess that is to be expected as long as we don't let them try to speed it up so fast that they skip certain important parts of the protocol (like having the photographer due the CC and retouch).
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2007, 11:43:45 AM »
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Amen to that brother! Bad, bad idea. Lets not start going down that rabbit hole and having clients expect such requests be honored.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109619\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Believe me. I agree.  This is a rabbit hole and I don't want to be Alice.  But the trouble is, Cheshire Cat is inside waving a really big check.  Do I take the red pill or the blue pill?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 11:44:29 AM by scott_dobry » Logged

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James DeMoss
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2007, 11:46:26 AM »
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James I like your baking analogy and also I'm curious about the corrected DNG suggestion.  Can you elaborate on this?  Do you mean that convert the RAW to a corrected DNG and then hand it over?

This would encompass part of my equation (minus retouching--I shoot people) and would be better than just handing over RAW files.

How do you price (if differently) for this service?  Per image?  Bulk price?  Flat price?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109607\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In Lightroom you can export your corrected DNG instead of jpg. I don't use that feature much but the coreection are made regardless.

As far as pricing, as much as you can get.. and that won't be enough LOL

_
James
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Phil Boorman
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2007, 12:14:09 PM »
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Believe me. I agree.  This is a rabbit hole and I don't want to be Alice.  But the trouble is, Cheshire Cat is inside waving a really big check.  Do I take the red pill or the blue pill?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109671\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Hi Scott,

I think you have to really think about who you're dealing with. I agonised long and hard over this one - the only redeeming factor which eventually (and relunctantly) swung it for me was that, fortunately, I know the guy pretty well who wanted the raw files and I knew that he was capable of handling the files well. In the end it was a non issue as they used my supplied TIFF's - apparently there was someone higher up the food chain at the agency who was basically demanding that they had raw files for archive purposes.

I have had other clients who have also asked for raw files but after careful explanation of the 'issues' involved, they agreed that it was better for me to handle that side of things!

As usual, it comes down to educating people - unfortunately, some people just can't be taught!

Phil
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2007, 12:36:33 PM »
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So does agreeing to this with one client set a dangerous president?[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hm, I'm sure one can point to another "dangerous president"....  

John
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2007, 12:42:02 PM »
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That is a brilliant suggestion James. You can tell the client that the new industry standard is (or will be) DNG and that this type of image will have more shelf life than the old RAW file. Plus you can correct it before you give it to them! Brilliant!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109600\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The problem with that is they can still make changes and screw stuff up. As someone who used to deliver DNGs (with all settings they way I wanted) when working for hire as an assistant I can guarantee you it's noting but a big mess. Now I had no choice since that's what my boss wanted and so raw is what they got despite my attempts to explain why it would be problematic.

As a professional photographer you have a responsibility to deliver to your clients a finished product. Delivering raw images (DNG or not) is the equivalent of only doing half your job.
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James DeMoss
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2007, 02:07:31 PM »
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The problem with that is they can still make changes and screw stuff up. As someone who used to deliver DNGs (with all settings they way I wanted) when working for hire as an assistant I can guarantee you it's noting but a big mess. Now I had no choice since that's what my boss wanted and so raw is what they got despite my attempts to explain why it would be problematic.

As a professional photographer you have a responsibility to deliver to your clients a finished product. Delivering raw images (DNG or not) is the equivalent of only doing half your job.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109686\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

   Thank you, that is my sentiment as well. The idea of providing "corrected DNG's" was offered only to help the OP. It is an option and one that I do not offer, and will not offer.

Our work, in digital RAW form, could be exploited out of our control and if something were to mis-interpreted, who would be assigned the blame? We all know who.

I am glad this topic came along, I know what to do with my exported DNG's now.

Cheers

_
James
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2007, 02:58:09 PM »
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Our work, in digital RAW form, could be exploited out of our control and if something were to mis-interpreted, who would be assigned the blame? We all know who.

_
James
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109698\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Amen to that.  It is our reputations on the line no matter who processes the files.  I guarantee you that no one cares about my photographs more than me so why leave it the hands of someone else?

I pretty much needed to sound off here and get some other real-world experience from the brother(sister)hood.

Thanks to all and wish me luck in my attempt to retain not only my files but also my client in the process of refusing their request for RAW delivery.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2007, 04:20:36 PM »
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After all that and more, they come back with, "OK.....yeah....well while we respect all that, it all boils down to the client not wanting to have to wait around for an image from a past job when the chips are down. They usually need it yesterday. It's not perfect, but this is the way things are heading...." yadda yadda yadda.....
They should be maintaining proper archive of the work they paid for. You are not obligated to sacrifice the quality of your product for their incompetence or laziness. If this is a new use outside the terms of the original contract, then they will be waiting anyway for new terms to be negotiated.

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Finally, they announce to me that the other photographer that this client likes to shoot with has no problem with this RAW file delivery protocol. In fact he prefers it.
Yeah, everyone is doing it and so should you! Baloney. This statement is exactly the same as someone saying a photographer should work on the cheap because they can get some other unnamed photographer for cheap.

They are hiring you and not someone else. If they want someone else's work, they can hire them. When they realize they are biting off more then they can chew and are getting an inferior product as a result, they will come back to you.

I'm all for listening to a client and offering new services they would enjoy (and charging for it) as long as it is reasonable. Asking for Raw files is not reasonable, nor is it desirable for them.

Good luck.
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Monito
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2007, 04:34:27 PM »
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61Dynamic nails it.  I agree.
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