Weddings and RAW Files for Clients

Started Mar 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP elavoie Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Weddings and RAW Files for Clients

Okay, but what qualifies as 'personal use'? Does 'personal use' mean display on Facebook? Does it mean display in your home? Does it mean display anywhere that people besides you and your fiance might see it? If so, that may be your personal use but it has the potential to affect the future work of the original photographer because other potential clients might see it. They see your 'personal' edit of the original photographer's uncompleted work and if they don't like it they will attribute it to the photographer, not you. See the risk?

I better understand a wedding photographer's concern about giving the RAW files, but if one customer comes along every 5 years asking for the RAWs along with the final files, how much risk is the wedding photographer REALLY sacrificing???

  • I could cause just as much damage with a jpeg file as a RAW file.

  • The chances the wedding photographer will miss an opportunity for profit seem VERY low.

I have found very good photographers with very good references, but while interviewing wedding photographers and reading their contracts in parallel to this conversation, I have learned that they typically do "minimal" processing to the files they intend to provide me and do more processing for their portfolios, contest submissions, publications, and of couse if I want to hire them for retouching, albums etc. In other words, the "aristic vision" in post processing that some people have emphasized in this discussion is probably minimal to the client and only significant to the weding photographer if my wedding presents an interesting image opportunity.

Which leads me to another point, my fiance and I will be paying a wedding photographer to be a key participant in the most significant day of our life. All these contracts seem to be worded so that if my wedding presents an interesting photo opportunity (I actually doubt anything THAT interesting will happen), the wedding photographer can use the image any way s/he wants.

So is it not hypocritical for a wedding photographer to complain that a RAW file could be used to harm his reputation when I may be paying that same person to take a photo that he may use in a way that harms the reputation of one of my guests???

elavoie wrote:

I can only guess that there will be some small percent of images that my fiance or I have interest in editing.

So as an alternative why don't you negotiate with the photographer the ability to purchase RAW files individually after the fact? I wouldn't sell a full set of RAW files for virtually any price, but I would definitely be willing to sell them on an individual basis. If you only want a select few anyway, ask the photographer what the cost for an individual RAW file would be and then go from there. You get all the benefit of the photographer's talent and the photographer gets a little kickback for a little extra risk without having to worry about hundreds of unfinished photos floating about.

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