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Author Topic: Do you provide your raw files to the client?  (Read 16794 times)
Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« on: May 31, 2011, 01:35:52 PM »
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By raw I don't mean necessarily RAW format files but rather files that have not been edited, or files straight out from the camera. Remember that raw files may not represent your final vision as a professional. The pictures might also badly need very basic adjustments like color correction contrast, etc. I am curious if you, as professionals, are willing to provide the files raw. 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 02:18:21 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 01:53:24 PM »
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Generally no-once I guess I gave the raw files on a very lucrative shoot of lighting fixtures. When asked they had no explanation why they wanted them and they ended up using my processed files anyway.
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KLaban
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 03:02:01 AM »
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Never.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 03:43:20 AM »
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Never.

+1 - NEVER.

I tend to be supplying prints only - although occasionally I license images to clients for their purpose; in which case they get a finalised processed TIFF that is my vision.

I see handing a RAW over to a client the equivalent of giving them the ingredients to bake the cake without the recipe (me). Not a good idea.
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 08:08:58 AM »
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Only in special instances. And those don't happen very often.

I don't think most clients really want to screw around processing files.

But for the sake of argument, lets go back in time.

I used to shoot 4x5 chrome by the case load.  I had it processed, picked the brackets and delivered it.

The agency had it scanned and retouched as needed ( not).  One could argue they got the "raws"

As a general rule I was mostly happy with this workflow.  Once in a blue moon something I wanted fixed in post did not get done. Still we made a lot of images and a lot of money.

Enter digital...

Now I shoot with post processing in mind, which allows me to do things that were near impossible with 4x5 chrome.  Not on every shot of course but quite a few.  And I can fix things to my satisfaction before the files leave.

When i have been asked for raws, that's the argument I put forth.

But somedays after staring at the monitor for way too long, delivering a box full of chromes seems like a really good idea Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 08:58:46 AM »
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Had what turned out to be a very bad client ask me for JPEGs straight off-camera after doing a quick available-light shoot at their offices (among other work including publication design). I told them I only shot RAW (which was not true, as I had the camera set to RAW+JPG that day) because there was no way I would give them unprocessed files. Needed to balance flash with fluoros for instance.

The situation here in Australia is much more fluid than in the US where copyright and paid usage is more widespread and accepted. And it may be so for Abdul too. Just noting the *rahman*, Abdul; are you in Malaysia or nearby?
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PeterAit
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 10:23:49 AM »
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This should be spelled out in your agreement with the client.
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 11:43:35 AM »
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When I deliver a print or a digital file to a client it is my best work. The only thing 99% of clients can do to a raw file is make it garbage.
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 01:51:51 PM »
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Generally no

Never.

+1 - NEVER.

Only in special instances. And those don't happen very often.

because there was no way I would give them unprocessed files.



That's what I thought and this is a good summary for the reason:


When I deliver a print or a digital file to a client it is my best work. The only thing 99% of clients can do to a raw file is make it garbage.


THANKS ALL FOR POSTING!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 01:58:03 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 01:56:33 PM »
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The situation here in Australia is much more fluid than in the US where copyright and paid usage is more widespread and accepted. And it may be so for Abdul too. Just noting the *rahman*, Abdul; are you in Malaysia or nearby?


"copyright" what is that, lol? I am in Saudi Arabia man. Customers here demand raws and it seems I am the only one in the business that is saying NO! and I made a habit of saying no and the more I say no the better my work is getting.  


This should be spelled out in your agreement with the client.

I do, along with the fact that I state down payment and full payment terms and clients try to ignore everything. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 02:01:42 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 04:31:01 PM »
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One more point: I've seen newlyweds post ALL their wedding shots onto Facebook, Flickr, etc. You can imagine that they bought all the digital files from the photographer and rather go through the editing and polishing any thinking photographer would do before delivery, they simply plastered the internet with dozens of crappy images along with the all-too-few good ones. And if they were the raw files they'd be doubly bad. I'd cringe with having my name associated with such a hodgepodge.
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Schewe
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 04:56:17 PM »
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Customers here demand raws and it seems I am the only one in the business that is saying NO! and I made a habit of saying no and the more I say no the better my work is getting.

Not to tell you what to do but if you find yourself in a situation where you MUST supply "raws" I would suggest that you go ahead and process the raws for tone and color and embed the settings and IPTC metadata wrapped inside a DNG. At least then, you'll be sure that the image will look "right" at the point you give the file over and your metadata will be intact. I would also suggest burning the files onto DVD so that you can be sure that any changes the client makes to the file will not be reflected in the delivered files-in the event they screw up the images AFTER you've turned them over.

As for giving the unprocessed raw files, you really want to tell them no (nicely) because the raw file is, well the raw file and won't have your special touch and skill applied to them. Really, you want to tell them no in a way that makes you look more professional than the rest of the shooters who are giving unprocessed raws away...
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 09:47:18 PM »
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As for giving the unprocessed raw files, you really want to tell them no (nicely) because the raw file is, well the raw file and won't have your special touch and skill applied to them. Really, you want to tell them no in a way that makes you look more professional than the rest of the shooters who are giving unprocessed raws away...

Nicely the first time, neutrally the second time, and harshly the third time. You might wonder why repeat three times? Because some clients intend to keep asking until you agree, it's a pressure tactic used by some clients who want your professional quality but don't respect your professional guidelines.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 10:50:25 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 10:53:50 PM »
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If I may take the topic to a different path, what about final image selection? Say you have several life-style pictures for one theme, do you choose the final pictures to deliver or is it the client, or maybe 50/50 collaboration?
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 06:08:52 AM »
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If I may take the topic to a different path, what about final image selection? Say you have several life-style pictures for one theme, do you choose the final pictures to deliver or is it the client, or maybe 50/50 collaboration?

This is a difficult one, because the client is [usually] extremely subjective about their work/business, whereas suppliers like us should maintain a disinterested attitude (not uninterested).

I cull bad pix for [lack of] focus, exposure etc., but there have been times (for example) where a person with closed eyes in a group may be clonable from a less-good shot. But I would not deliver the less-good shot to the client; instead I would do the retouching first, or tell the client that I could look for a reject shot that may contain a better version of that person’s mug.

Funniest example of giving the client too much information was when I supplied a client with two (or three) proofs of some artwork—I do print design too. I deliberately made a version that was extremely fugly, and the client loved it! Needless to say, that job did not become part of my portfolio. At least I got paid …
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2011, 09:02:54 AM »
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This is a difficult one, because the client is [usually] extremely subjective about their work/business, whereas suppliers like us should maintain a disinterested attitude (not uninterested).
I tell my clients who are interested in picking the pictures that it is a collaboration between us and that they need to consider that I make my comments from a professional standpoint.   

I cull bad pix for [lack of] focus, exposure etc., but there have been times (for example) where a person with closed eyes in a group may be clonable from a less-good shot. But I would not deliver the less-good shot to the client; instead I would do the retouching first, or tell the client that I could look for a reject shot that may contain a better version of that person’s mug.
your approach makes sense

Funniest example of giving the client too much information was when I supplied a client with two (or three) proofs of some artwork—I do print design too. I deliberately made a version that was extremely fugly, and the client loved it! Needless to say, that job did not become part of my portfolio. At least I got paid …
lol, sad but it does happen sometimes.
[/quote]
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2011, 12:01:15 PM »
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I made a big mistake by not making it clear that I wanted the RAW files from a photographer friend I hired to take a 25 person family group shot last Christmas. I knew he was familiar with the digital work flow and that he had both the lighting setup (for my home) and the experience in shooting group shots. And I told him I wanted only the digital files so that I could work with them and print them myself. He was there for about an hour setting up and getting everything ready for us to line up in our living room. I repeated that I wanted only the digital files so that I could do all the cropping, editing, etc.
  A few days later I pickup up the disk from his studio and wondered if all the files fit on it. He said there was plenty of room as they were all jpgs! I was astounded that he shot only jpgs when he knew I was going to be working on them swapping heads, etc. I was further astounded and dismayed to learn that he didn't even use the highest jpg resolution available for his camera for capture! He replied that the lower resolution was just fine in all the work he usually did for clients.
  Needless to say I spent hours cleaning those images of the artifacts, noise and other sundry problems inherent with all his in-camera settings so that I could print decent quality 11x14s. Don't even get me started with the sharpening problems. Luckily I know enough PS and NIK to work around lots of the problems but I learned my raw lesson the hard way.
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2011, 01:34:05 PM »
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I made a big mistake by not making it clear that I wanted the RAW files from a photographer friend I hired to take a 25 person family group shot last Christmas. I knew he was familiar with the digital work flow and that he had both the lighting setup (for my home) and the experience in shooting group shots. And I told him I wanted only the digital files so that I could work with them and print them myself. He was there for about an hour setting up and getting everything ready for us to line up in our living room. I repeated that I wanted only the digital files so that I could do all the cropping, editing, etc.
  A few days later I pickup up the disk from his studio and wondered if all the files fit on it. He said there was plenty of room as they were all jpgs! I was astounded that he shot only jpgs when he knew I was going to be working on them swapping heads, etc. I was further astounded and dismayed to learn that he didn't even use the highest jpg resolution available for his camera for capture! He replied that the lower resolution was just fine in all the work he usually did for clients.
  Needless to say I spent hours cleaning those images of the artifacts, noise and other sundry problems inherent with all his in-camera settings so that I could print decent quality 11x14s. Don't even get me started with the sharpening problems. Luckily I know enough PS and NIK to work around lots of the problems but I learned my raw lesson the hard way.

There is a large range of photographers in the industry. Its a good rule of thumb to assume that any good to great photographer will not provide his raw files by default unless there is an agreement with a clear intent. 
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2011, 03:05:30 PM »
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My friend said he never had any need to even capture raw files. My mistake was not to require him specifically to take raw files. I assumed that he surely did so every time.
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Kerry L
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2011, 09:40:02 AM »
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No I don't give unedited or unprocessed images to anyone.

I see every project as my most current "portfolio" one that I have no control over.  I'd never take a chance that a CD wouldn't be handed off without an explanation as to what the contents are.

I wouldn't expect an editor to remember that a certain CD was everything including outtakes, while another was the finished project.

I also always add the ITPC and other metadata especially my copyright info.

As for camera RAW files, yes I have allowed certain clients, or more specifically their desk-top publisher, to process files for their own unique requirements. This has always been talked about beforehand.
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