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client asks for raws...advice?

dear all,

happy solstice to you!

i am working with an NGO client currently who is asking me for the adjust RAWS. is this normal business practice? usually i make my adjustments and save as hi-res TIFFs and send them those.
i am uncomfortable sending anyone my RAWs and wanted to know what people here felt. i am resisting but they are insisting. any thoughts on this? any good arguments for why i shouldn’t send them the RAWs?

thanks in advance,


by Jason Sangster at 2006-12-22 02:05:30 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Colombo , Sri Lanka | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Why not? I can’t think of any reasons? What do you see as the problem? That said, I’m assuming they know what they’re doing. Some clients ask for raw and then can’t figure out what to do with them since they don’t really know what raw is. But assuming they know what they’re doing I can’t see the problem. If they have somebody who knows what they’re doing they should be able to tweak the pictures for the best quality for what use they’re making of the photographs. You’re resisting and they’re insisting. Why can’t you work this out? What resaons do they give? What have you told them as to why you don’t want to give them raw? Questions for them. Are you using Photoshop? What version? Do you have the latest raw plug-in? If they pass those tests then one more. Ask them if they want the xmp files with the raw files. If you are met with silence and an obvious ignorance of sidecar files then you have reason for discussion. Oh, one more thing. It is normal business practice to ask for the raw images. Good luck with your client.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 22 Dec 2006 03:12 | Fort Worth, TX, United States | | Report spam→
Ask them why, maybe it has to do with proving they aren’t manipulated – given the sensitivity regarding that in documentary/photojournalism.
What did they ask for? What’s in the agreement/contract? I have been asked for RAW’s but always before the fact, never after.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 22 Dec 2006 03:12 (ed. Dec 22 2006) | Manhattan, United States | | Report spam→
thanks for the advice! i really appreciate getting others input. it’s good (or scary depending) that it’s standard to ask for RAWs. i’m feeling guarded about my work i think mostly. i just feel uncomfortable with someone, anyone besides myself really, to have that much creative flexibility with my work. obviously i should get over this and trust in their abilities and integrity (not that i don’t in first place really). they say it’s to have the RAWs should the need arise to use them. they want the TIFFs too but the RAWs as kind of a ‘digital negative backup’. they know bridge, raw files and xmp sidecars so i feel confident they know what they’re doing. they asked beforehand too. maybe i’m making mtns out of molehills but anyway, i just wanted some input from others as this is the first time i’ve been asked for RAWs. thanks!

by Jason Sangster | 22 Dec 2006 03:12 | Colombo, Sri Lanka | | Report spam→
Assuming they know what they’re doing with the Raw file, it’s not the Raws but the license terms under which you’re releasing them. It’s considered a ‘negative’ but of course unlike analogue negatives, you also retain a perfect copy.

The only issue to clarify is the ownership of the negative and its usage terms – the license.

by [former member] | 22 Dec 2006 13:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
thanks sion. i’m fine with the terms and have now become more comfortable with the handover.

by Jason Sangster | 22 Dec 2006 14:12 | Colombo, Sri Lanka | | Report spam→
Why give Raw File, do give you negative in the old days no !! it is you stile afther you have develope you Raws so you dont have to give Raw.s Or they don’t believe you, that you don’t manipulated the photo ??

by [former member] | 22 Dec 2006 14:12 | Work at The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
This is a widespread dilemma! For documentary purposes I can see why they would ask for the raw! But for anything else, I would never give the raw!!!! As Robert said, you would not give the negative! Everyone has its way of “printing” an image. This is part of your style. I would never trust a client to do the adjustments of one of my images! It wouldn’t be true to my “style”! Also, the point is they were not there when you took the photo and since the raw is never exactly what the reality is, they cannot know how much contrast/saturation/color balance etc. the image needs! They don’t need a “kind of a digital negative backup” either since it is digital (as long as you have the raw in your archive they can always have it later if there is a problem). They have the “print” (read TIFF) anyway so why ask for the “negative” (read RAW)? Since they are not asking for a proof that the image is not “manipulated” I can’t see why you should give them the RAW! Yannis

by Yannis Dessureault | 23 Dec 2006 16:12 | Québec, Canada | | Report spam→
it seems to me that giving a raw image to a client (with whom i expect there’s a signed contract with clear terms & conditions re ownership, usage, copyright etc) is the same like giving a slide (or dupe) to a client for publishing… clients pretty much publish the image from the slide at their (or their printer’s) discretion. the difference is that the slide (or dupe) is returned to the photographer…so the basic issue is really that of ownership and/or possession rather than printing. if the client is reputable, and the agreement is clear as to the usage/ownership of the raw images, i don’t see why not provide them.

by [former member] | 23 Dec 2006 21:12 | New York, United States | | Report spam→

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Jason Sangster, Jason Sangster
[undisclosed location].
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Indianapolis, In , United States
Angela Cumberbirch, Photographer Angela Cumberbirch
New York , United States
Yannis Dessureault, photographer Yannis Dessureault
Quebec , Canada


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