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Photographer
Robert Randall
Posts: 13,842
Chicago, Illinois, US


The majority opinion of the photographers on MM is that giving away raw files is akin to suicide, and I'm curious why so many of you feel that way. When people put a ton of post process on their images for a signature look, I can understand the hesitancy. For the most part, the majority of the folks on MM are the get it right in camera crowd, so what's the difference between giving out a raw file or giving out a tif or jpeg? If you're worried about someone stepping all over your files, they can just as easily to that to a jpeg as they can a raw.

Just curious.
Aug 29 13 02:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
JadeDRed
Posts: 5,300
London, England, United Kingdom


That's forum talk. The ones that feel strongly are the ones that shout loudest. It's not necessarily representative.
Aug 29 13 02:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Laura Bello
Posts: 1,180
Rochester, New York, US


Honestly for me when I do paid shoots I only give out jpegs for this reason: uploading the 100 shots in raw to dropbox or whatever would take FOREVER and it simply saves time since most people I do paid shoots with don't even know what raw is or can't even read them on their computers.

If a girl REALLY needs a raw for something she can ask, however if it's to have the image retouched by someone else for free instead of paying me and having it done right than I may be hesitant in giving them to her but again, they could always just use the jpeg anyways so whatever.
Aug 29 13 02:27 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Anna Adrielle
Posts: 18,762
Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


I wouldn't even want raws. I want edited images, websized (and preferably also some in a size big enough that can be printed, for my agency book).
Aug 29 13 02:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
JadeDRed
Posts: 5,300
London, England, United Kingdom


Anna Adrielle wrote:
I wouldn't even want raws.

I don't think most models would.

Aug 29 13 02:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jerry Nemeth
Posts: 26,723
Dearborn, Michigan, US


I have never had a model request RAW files.  I have given a paid model some JPEG files.
Aug 29 13 02:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rik Williams
Posts: 3,204
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


It's like giving away the negatives

Unless someone is buying them from you, it seems a little pointless.
Then again I guess the question raised in saying this is, what are they worth to you?

Batch processing in shop will quickly transform RAW files into any format you want while adding watermarks if you wish.

I can't understand the point of simply giving away your hard work to just anyone.
Aug 29 13 02:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
T-D-L
Posts: 10,105
Los Angeles, California, US


Used to give clients (clothing lines) raws for them to make their selects from, but got too many "How do I open this?" or "Can they fit on a dvd?" questions....so I just save raw&jpg in cam and just give them the unedited jpgs.  I've also found that most people think "raw" means "unedited/unretouched" so 9 times out of 10 they just want some jpgs that haven't been processed yet.  If a client does their retouching in house then of course I'd give them raws, but most of the time they prefer jpgs due to ease of access and size. 

For models?  I've done it on rare occasions.  I'm not so full of myself that I think I'm the be all, end all of retouching...I've actually met a couple models who are very skilled at retouching.  For most though, it's not likely to happen.
Aug 29 13 02:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Managing Light
Posts: 1,811
Salem, Virginia, US


Another factor is that there is bound to be confusion between RAWs and large edited files vs. web-sized files.  A little conversation can clear that up, but going nuclear at the outset will shut that off.
Aug 29 13 02:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,106
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


I think That Italian Guy (Stefano) pretty much gives out raw files.... un-retouched straight out of the camera.
Aug 29 13 02:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,957
Costa Mesa, California, US


Robert Randall wrote:
The majority opinion of the photographers on MM is that giving away raw files is akin to suicide, and I'm curious why so many of you feel that way. When people put a ton of post process on their images for a signature look, I can understand the hesitancy. For the most part, the majority of the folks on MM are the get it right in camera crowd, so what's the difference between giving out a raw file or giving out a tif or jpeg? If you're worried about someone stepping all over your files, they can just as easily to that to a jpeg as they can a raw.

Just curious.

I never gave away my negs back in the film days. Never duped them to give away either. For clients I shot chromes and those they got. But when I was planing on prints not reproductions in print MY style of printing is as important to the final image as my style of shooting. Today I've added post work as another step in my process and it's important to the final look as well. Like AA said, the negative is the score, the print the performance.

Aug 29 13 02:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matt Knowles
Posts: 3,551
Ferndale, California, US


Robert Randall wrote:
The majority opinion of the photographers on MM is that giving away raw files is akin to suicide, and I'm curious why so many of you feel that way. When people put a ton of post process on their images for a signature look, I can understand the hesitancy. For the most part, the majority of the folks on MM are the get it right in camera crowd, so what's the difference between giving out a raw file or giving out a tif or jpeg? If you're worried about someone stepping all over your files, they can just as easily to that to a jpeg as they can a raw.

Just curious.

Read Ken Marcus' interview here on MM for a few examples of what can go wrong when you give out raw files.

Even if you get it totally right to how you want it in camera, you still need to tweak the raw settings somehow to get the image you want.

Open a  raw image in two different programs and you could get two radically different images based on what defaults the user has set.

Yes with a Tif or JPG they COULD change it. But with a raw file they WILL change it.

Aug 29 13 02:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Abbitt Photography
Posts: 11,334
Oakland Acres, Iowa, US


I do some of my editing with Tiff files, so the RAW files would not include the final editing.

Jpegs are much smaller and easier to transfer than RAW files are.

The parties I sometimes sell images to or through only accept jpegs.


To me, my original RAW images are much like the raw food a restaurant buys - It's not their final product, and they won't sell it to a customer until it's been processed into a final meal.  Similarly, my RAW files are not my final product.   Some businesses or people are happy to provide unfinished product, some prefer to only offer finished product to their clients - The later is the business model I prefer.
Aug 29 13 02:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Antediluvian Design
Posts: 1,137
Scranton, Pennsylvania, US


When I actually get good then I will stop handing out RAW files. Right now, I have to find incentives to get people to work for me. I don't watermark the shite and there is always plausible deniability once I get better and see my old legacy...smile Prolly going to change the name of the practice too.
Aug 29 13 03:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,106
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


Robert Randall wrote:
get it right in camera

I get it right but all that camera and computer technology gets it wrong.

Aug 29 13 03:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brian Diaz
Posts: 62,263
Danbury, Connecticut, US


I've given a full set of raw images to a model who is also a photographer (and a better one than I).

Otherwise, I don't know that raw images really benefit models much. Half the work isn't finished.  I hope they would have chosen to work with me due to the finished product, rather than the intermediary stage work.
Aug 29 13 03:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


c_h_r_i_s wrote:
I think That Italian Guy (Stefano) pretty much gives out raw files.... un-retouched straight out of the camera.

I generally give models JPG files that have been converted and minimally cleaned up in Lightroom with occasional exceptions that made it into Photoshop smile

I occasionally give actual RAW files to models who are also photographers/retouchers and who I know will do a decent job with them.

I would have no trouble giving RAW files to a client who was using a retoucher I respected. If my name wasn't going to be on the photos then I'd give RAW files to anybody who was paying me enough.

There's no hard and fast rule - for me every case is judged on its merits. As a general rule of thumb though it's probably better to keep the RAW files to yourself if you're not sure what's going to be done with them!



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

Aug 29 13 03:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


I have several clients that request Raw files.
I also have a retoucher that requests Raw files to work on.

No issues from me.

Some clients buy finished products, while other clients buy unfinished products.
Aug 29 13 03:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MPM Photography
Posts: 16
Homewood, Illinois, US


My personal opinion is "getting it right in camera" is a myth. In the film days it meant "get the exposure/framing/dynamic range/etc good enough for a lab to make it look right."  If you are shooting jpegs you can do the same thing and substitute the word "camera processor" for "lab". But if you are shooting RAW, then you are the lab technician.

If a model is asking for RAW images, then I figure they must want to send them to a different lab. (i.e. a retoucher). It is up to you whether or not your ego can accept this.
Aug 29 13 03:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Randall
Posts: 13,842
Chicago, Illinois, US


MPM Photography wrote:
My personal opinion is "getting it right in camera" is a myth. In the film days it meant "get the exposure/framing/dynamic range/etc good enough for a lab to make it look right."  If you are shooting jpegs you can do the same thing and substitute the word "camera processor" for "lab".

I'm not sure what your experience is, but in the time before digital, at least in my end of the pool, if you didn't get it right in camera, you didn't get hired again. Whether I was shooting food, product, or people, a huge amount of time was taken to insure everything was as perfect as possible. It didn't matter if you were shooting chrome or neg, no manner of lab entered into the equation.

Aug 29 13 03:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,106
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


If you shot 10x8 - 5x4 tranys esp.  still life you would get it right in the camera. Unless there were some after effect that were added by the client/agency.

The days when photographers were living in stress but also got very well paid.
Aug 29 13 03:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MPM Photography
Posts: 16
Homewood, Illinois, US


Robert Randall wrote:
I'm not sure what your experience is, but in the time before digital, at least in my end of the pool, if you didn't get it right in camera, you didn't get hired again. Whether I was shooting food, product, or people, a huge amount of time was taken to insure everything was as perfect as possible. It didn't matter if you were shooting chrome or neg, no manner of lab entered into the equation.

So you shot film that didn't need to be processed? I suspect you mean to say that you gave your client the unprocessed film and let them deal with the second part of the process of creating an image. Nothing wrong with that, but it is not a common workflow anymore.

Aug 29 13 03:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photo Bill
Posts: 275
Baltimore, Maryland, US


Robert Randall wrote:
The majority opinion of the photographers on MM is that giving away raw files is akin to suicide, and I'm curious why so many of you feel that way. When people put a ton of post process on their images for a signature look, I can understand the hesitancy. For the most part, the majority of the folks on MM are the get it right in camera crowd, so what's the difference between giving out a raw file or giving out a tif or jpeg? If you're worried about someone stepping all over your files, they can just as easily to that to a jpeg as they can a raw.

Just curious.

I almost always offer the raw files - I have only had one person actually want them.  It was an "activity" escort I shot with.  Since she was paying me well, the files were all hers!

Aug 29 13 03:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darren Brade
Posts: 2,746
London, England, United Kingdom


Robert Randall wrote:
The majority opinion of the photographers on MM is that giving away raw files is akin to suicide, and I'm curious why so many of you feel that way. When people put a ton of post process on their images for a signature look, I can understand the hesitancy. For the most part, the majority of the folks on MM are the get it right in camera crowd, so what's the difference between giving out a raw file or giving out a tif or jpeg? If you're worried about someone stepping all over your files, they can just as easily to that to a jpeg as they can a raw.

Just curious.

I can understand people not giving out raws so so someone else can edit them, but I agree, half the people don't retouch here so not sure what the difference is.

Myself, I do my own retouching and have never been asked. Even publications seem happy with full-res jpgs, I can't shift TIFs for love or money.

Aug 29 13 04:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Randall
Posts: 13,842
Chicago, Illinois, US


MPM Photography wrote:

So you shot film that didn't need to be processed? I suspect you mean to say that you gave your client the unprocessed film and let them deal with the second part of the process of creating an image. Nothing wrong with that, but it is not a common workflow anymore.

I assumed from your statement that you inferred somehow something magical happened at the lab, beyond simple processing. I was basically stating that while a tight lab was in order, it was also expected to be in order, as most all of them were, and they were an insignificant part of the process. No manner of lab processing was ever going to get rid of dust on the product, or wilted lettuce, or smudged makeup.

Aug 29 13 04:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darren Brade
Posts: 2,746
London, England, United Kingdom


Most people dont know how to process raw files, hell, I recently had to show a client insist on hires only to get upset they couldn't work out how to downsize them for their website
Aug 29 13 04:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MPM Photography
Posts: 16
Homewood, Illinois, US


Robert Randall wrote:
I assumed from your statement that you inferred somehow something magical happened at the lab, beyond simple processing. I was basically stating that while a tight lab was in order, it was also expected to be in order, as most all of them were, and they were an insignificant part of the process. No manner of lab processing was ever going to get rid of dust on the product, or wilted lettuce, or smudged makeup.

No, nothing magical. But the lab did have quite a lot of control over things like color and contrast of the final image. Unless you sent them a test shot with a color checker, they were kind of left to their own devices on the those issues - just as we are in LR/Photoshop if we don't use some sort of color checker.

I definitely agree with you that the lab was much more limited in what they could do compared to a photoshop wizard of today. I think even the greatest photoshop wizard would agree that it is best to have as much possible correct up front.

Digital allows us to be both the guy behind the camera and the guy in the darkroom. In the film days, many photographers didn't have the means or time to do both. Now I think it's the norm for a photographer to process his or her own images.

Aug 29 13 04:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,249
Seattle, Washington, US


i will be happy to give them my new toy, Canon 6D RAW files. I don't have the latest LR 5, and PS CS6. I am using Adobe DNG converter. It's a pain in the butt. I figure if they can't open the RAW and come back to me for another cd, then I should charge them additional money for the extra work.  What say you???
Aug 29 13 04:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


i rarely provide files in RAW format but i do give the model a session gallery of jpegs after the shoot. so i provide "unedited" files but only at mayhem resolution. really it's intended to be a proofing gallery so they can choose the ones they want retouched but of course some of those proofs wind up on facebook.

for studio work we shoot live into a TV and have had models say things like "i can use those shots just like that" (one reason i shoot raw+jpeg) although generally at least some improvement can be gained through post-processing and then there's the whole thing about styling the photos through actions, filters, curves, etc.
Aug 29 13 04:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,106
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


MPM Photography wrote:
No, nothing magical. But the lab did have quite a lot of control over things like color and contrast of the final image. Unless you sent them a test shot with a color checker,

Could you explain this process the lab gave in regards to contrast, colour ect. as Bob was referring to film processing.
Only control a lab had on E-6 and this was the photographers request being +- stops, which would on the + push up the contrast a bit.

Process instructions;
5 sheets.
1 @+1/2
1@ - 1/2
Hold rest.
Usual type of lab instructions given.

Roll film was clip test.

Aug 29 13 04:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,636
El Segundo, California, US


MPM Photography wrote:
No, nothing magical. But the lab did have quite a lot of control over things like color and contrast of the final image. Unless you sent them a test shot with a color checker, they were kind of left to their own devices on the those issues - just as we are in LR/Photoshop if we don't use some sort of color checker.

it sounds like you're looking at it from the retail photographer's view, where the work was shot on negative film. Robert's references were for commercial photography, where the deliverable was a transparency, with 'cooked in' color balance, contrast, and a much more obvious exposure level. The lab didn't-usually couldn't-do much about the color, and 'fixing' contrast generally messed up exposure unless that was planned in-camera.

Aug 29 13 05:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Helm Photography
Posts: 18,090
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US


Every situation is different and I consider the situation, client need etc. I have never had a model request a RAW file yet.

Getting it right in the camera is a given, but most do require some post processing.
Aug 29 13 05:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Randall
Posts: 13,842
Chicago, Illinois, US


c_h_r_i_s wrote:

Could you explain this process the lab gave in regards to contrast, colour ect. as Bob was referring to film processing.
Only control a lab had on E-6 and this was the photographers request being +- stops, which would on the + push up the contrast a bit.

Process instructions;
5 sheets.
1 @+1/2
1@ - 1/2
Hold rest.
Usual type of lab instructions given.

Roll film was clip test.

It sounds like he was referring to color prints. Again, in my area of work, c prints were an anomaly, chrome was the most widely used film.

Aug 29 13 05:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
cwwmbm
Posts: 388
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


1. RAW files are first thing that matters when there's a copyright issue. If two parties have RAW files it becomes complicated.
2. After "getting it right" in camera I don't think I spend less than 30 minutes per photo, often more than an hour, to get the final look.
3. I do work with clients who use their own retouchers though and in this case the understanding is that they get RAW files they pick in the end.
Aug 29 13 06:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Randall
Posts: 13,842
Chicago, Illinois, US


cwwmbm wrote:
1. RAW files are first thing that matters when there's a copyright issue. If two parties have RAW files it becomes complicated.
2. After "getting it right" in camera I don't think I spend less than 30 minutes per photo, often more than an hour, to get the final look.
3. I do work with clients who use their own retouchers though and in this case the understanding is that they get RAW files they pick in the end.

I've never heard the copyright argument before, that's an interesting point.

Aug 29 13 06:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MPM Photography
Posts: 16
Homewood, Illinois, US


Robert Randall wrote:
It sounds like he was referring to color prints. Again, in my area of work, c prints were an anomaly, chrome was the most widely used film.

Yes, I was much more familiar with prints (both b&w and color) as prints were the desired final product. With slides, you really don't have too much control past film selection and camera work. Although I have to imagine that with product photography the slides are translated to a print (in a magazine or catalog) at some point, so the second step was there - just out of the photographers control.

I think shooting for a catalog or magazine meant that you had a very sophisticated client who wasn't expecting a final product. It's a fascinatingly different perspective from that of a hobbyist, retail portrait or fine art photographer.

Aug 29 13 06:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
heekun
Posts: 5
London, Ontario, Canada


Ownership/copyright for me is the primary reason I don't give out raws. In case the model/client requests raws I give them a selection of the raws converted to DNG. This works for me since my camera does not output DNG, so I still poses the only copies of the original raw files. Another bonus is the DNG file is a few megabytes smaller than the raw file(in my case NEF files).
Aug 29 13 06:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
cwwmbm
Posts: 388
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


I mean it's an unlikely scenario, but still.
It's all relative - you two parties have certain RAW files you probably still have the camera that produced them, and any technical expertise will determine it. If you don't have a camera you probably still have other RAW files from that camera which will prove similar thing. But it's more complicated than just whooping out the raw file and settling it right there and then.
Copyright laws are not understood well enough but a lot of people in this industry, I mean even on MM threads with "Photographer says I can't sell pictures of myself, wtf" and "Model says I can't sell pictures of her without some model release, wtf" subjects pop up every other day. More often than not you can resolve these issues by waving your finger and asking to take shit down. But once in a blue moon someone will be a difficult case and you may need to prove a copyright
Aug 29 13 06:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
cwwmbm
Posts: 388
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


heekun wrote:
Ownership/copyright for me is the primary reason I don't give out raws. In case the model/client requests raws I give them a selection of the raws converted to DNG. This works for me since my camera does not output DNG, so I still poses the only copies of the original raw files. Another bonus is the DNG file is a few megabytes smaller than the raw file(in my case NEF files).

What would happen if say Nike approaches you and asks to shoot their new sneakers? But only they would prefer their retouchers to work on the photos. Would you turn them down because you don't give away RAW?

I always think giving RAW files is something you exercise your judgement for. If a famous client asks you for them - you give it to them; they are not interested in claiming a copyright, they just want the best result possible. If noname model or agency asks for RAW then you might want to ask why they need it.

Aug 29 13 06:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael DBA Expressions
Posts: 3,120
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


cwwmbm wrote:
1. RAW files are first thing that matters when there's a copyright issue. If two parties have RAW files it becomes complicated.
2. After "getting it right" in camera I don't think I spend less than 30 minutes per photo, often more than an hour, to get the final look.
3. I do work with clients who use their own retouchers though and in this case the understanding is that they get RAW files they pick in the end.

re #1: perhaps in Canada this is so, but not in the US, and I suspect not in Canada either because the RAW file contains the serial number of the camera and the lens used to shoot it. So we both have RAW files -- but I'm the guy whose camera is shown taking the photos, so who ya gonna believe?

In the US, the copyright belongs to whoever* registered it -- and that is me. Nobody cares who's got a RAW file or not.

re #2: Good for you. I, too, came of age when a great deal of attention and effort was put into getting it right in the camera. And I gotta tell you that while I spend very little time "fixing what ain't right" in post, I spend a great deal of time making modifications that were not possible before computers came into the picture.

re #3: clients with their own retouchers buy RAW files, no problem. But clients who do not have competent retouchers do not get RAW files to screw up, thank you very much.

I generally do not work with clients who would know what to do with a RAW file. What's more, every experienced model I've ever worked with wanted fully finished files, not RAWs, saying something like "100 mediocre files and one great one is NOT better than just one great one." Only the inexperienced ones had any interest in seeing them all, or having them all, or even having anything but the best of the finished edits.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* See, I register everything I shoot in a timely fashion. So for the most part, you the client can't beat me to registration; it's already done. I got the certificate to prove it, and if you want to try to break my copyright, good luck to ya, that is really hard to do.

Aug 29 13 06:27 pm  Link  Quote 
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