Why Your Photographer Won't Give You the RAW Files?

Why Your Photographer Won't Give You the RAW Files?

Photography Masterclass

You are surely familiar with it, Jpeg or PNG types of files, and that gives you a clear idea that we are talking about photographs. But what if we say, CR2, CR3 or NEF or maybe DNG, or ProRAW? Well, the last name must give you an idea that we are talking about RAW image files in this section. But you might be thinking:


Raw files are basically the uncompressed digital image files stored in your device, and since it is uncompressed, it is large in size. When a picture is shot, the data is taken from the camera lens sensors and stored in the original raw format, in the form of RAW files. This file has more depth and data about the picture which has been taken. But generally, when we assign a photographer for ourselves, then what we get is a JPEG or PNG file, and not these detailed raw files which are easily editable and had more image data.

 So, why don’t these photographers give us these RAW image files?

There are a variety of reasons, it might be due to inaccessibility, or maybe to maintain their brand reputation, or might be the concerns of ownership, let’s take a deeper look into it.


Nowadays, most photographers use an enhancement to beautify their photos, to give a mood, and use these editing skills to convey their signature artistic branding. In this case, if RAW files are shared the client can take a spin on editing and reworking those images, and since most of the clients are not the pro in this creative industry, they might do end up with some edits which may hamper the photographers’ brand and reputation, and the prospective clients may judge that photographer on the basis of editing done by someone else.


These Raw files are generally of large sizes, a single file can take up spaces in Gigabytes, and even if they are given to the clients, the raw files are in formats that need advanced software programs to run, like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom CC. Additionally, it is possible that that client may find it difficult to open them, and then the photographer has to invest time and effort to explain to them how to use that software, which might not be feasible for the photographer. Generally, the photographers are commissioned for the final photos and not the Raw files.


Like any other industry, this industry also has the threat of getting their works stolen.  The RAW files, which stay with the photographer, may help them as proof when legally fighting with someone, in case someone plagiarizes their content.

With all these things said, there could be other possible problems, and accessibility issues, which might be faced by the photographer, which stops them from sharing raw files with their clients.

Although these raw files retain more image data and help the photographer a lot in readjusting color tones, brightness, sharpness, and other parameters, to make the images look perfect, the photographers generally face issues regarding the ownership and sharing of Raw files with their clients. So it is always advisable, to set up a clear agreement with the client regarding the commission, the ownership of raw files, and the cost they have to bear in case they want the Raw files, the contract must clearly mention that photographer is not only selling the final images but the raw files as well.

Raw files are of great ease but might be an issue when it comes to the ownership and sharing of raw files, but a little clear communication and setting up clear contacts, in the beginning, will help you go a long way.

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