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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 30 Jul 2016 (Saturday) 06:10
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Wedding client asked to have all raw images -advice?

 
mars1954
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Jul 30, 2016 06:10 |  #1

I have been shooting about 7 or 8 weddings a year for the last few years not a lot by any means but for the first time at a wedding consult for a future wedding the couple asked me to include all raw files in there wedding package, I had never been asked that before so I said that I retain the raw files and that there flash drive would only have edited jpegs on it. They said they would like to have full editing capability with the raw images as well .I respectfully declined the request and they said they would get back to me. I now hope that they don't because it seems they may be difficult to deal with anyways. So has this been asked of any one else ? did I do the right thing ? I am just seeing how others on the forum feel about this request, Thank you for any input




  
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MalVeauX
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Jul 30, 2016 06:19 |  #2

Hrm,

Giving over the RAWs would in my book be asking for a full copyright license with a contract and/or purchase of the copyright and thus command a much higher price.

Very best,


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hidroela
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Jul 30, 2016 07:39 |  #3

I would put a price per raw file that would make then to reconsider their request.


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Jul 30, 2016 08:21 |  #4

mars1954 wrote in post #18081718 (external link)
I now hope that they don't because it seems they may be difficult to deal with anyways.

yup

So has this been asked of any one else ?

yup

did I do the right thing ?

yup

I am just seeing how others on the forum feel about this request, Thank you for any input

you built your business with certain things in mind, letting one customer dictate how you should run your business is a terrible idea. This shouldn't become some big argument or debate, so don't let yourself get suckered into one. A polite no is all it should take, and if they won't take it, politely decline the job.


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tim
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Jul 30, 2016 14:52 |  #5

I asked for all the raw files for my own wedding after the fact, because I wasn't happy with the processing. The photographer gave them to me, but asked me not to tell anyone, though situation may be different as I've known of him for a few years, chatted a bit, and I'm a professional photographer.

I would generally decline this, but first I would ask "why"? If it's just the ability to edit with more latitude I'd offer 16 bit tiff files, with a small fee to account for extra time, storage space, and larger media. If I really wanted the wedding, I'd give them the raw files. Once I get paid it's pretty irrelevant to me - I'm not precious about my work.


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bigVinnie
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Jul 30, 2016 22:07 |  #6

As a photographer you have to decide if you are providing a professional finished product or doing work for hire.

Pick one and stick with it.


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absplastic
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Jul 31, 2016 05:05 |  #7

bigVinnie wrote in post #18082270 (external link)
As a photographer you have to decide if you are providing a professional finished product or doing work for hire.

I can understand not making it standard business practice, but if the client is willing to pay extra, I don't see these two things as being mutually exclusive. Wedding photographs of non-celebrities are personal, and generally not of much interest or value to anyone besides the families. If they are willing to pay extra, I don't see how this is anything but extra cash in the pocket of the photographer. They're not likely to do anything but store the files "just in case", and in the event they do use them for something, it will likely be personal use only. Handing over RAW format files of course does not change anything about the ownership of the rights to reproduce the files for any non-personal use; a request for a copyright buyout would be a different issue.

If the concern is that they would reprocess the photos poorly and associate them with your business... they can do that with JPEG too, and many clients will. I've even had models use their iphones to take photos of my photos displayed on their computer, to share them on Instagram (where they naturally look blurry and awful), and then tag me. I've given models unedited photos as proofs, and seen those end up on social media too. But none of this bothers me, as my own feeds and website have only finished images I'm happy with. People understand nowadays that clients take certain liberties with photos, and are often unaware of copyright status in general, some believing that they own copyright on any photos of themselves, and others believing that they own the rights because they paid me to take the photos. Casual misuse isn't normally an issue, and if someone truly rips you off by selling your work, there is legal recourse and it often works out in favor of the photographer (ones with proper contract paperwork anyways).


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 31, 2016 07:33 |  #8

I'm happy to sell the raws. My SOOC is close to the finished article anyway.


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texkam
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Jul 31, 2016 08:06 |  #9

The request is for an unfinished product. No different than asking an architect, attorney or other professional for an unfinished product. As stated, if you're comfortable with it, price accordingly.




  
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absplastic
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Jul 31, 2016 10:56 |  #10

texkam wrote in post #18082528 (external link)
The request is for an unfinished product. No different than asking an architect, attorney or other professional for an unfinished product. As stated, if you're comfortable with it, price accordingly.

True. I understand that many wedding photographers, like portrait, landscape and fine art photographers, often do produce full finished products, even doing the editing and retouching themselves in their signature style. In other areas of commercial photography though (notably photojournalism and catalog work), this can be an impractical workload for one or two people and it's pretty common for photographers to just shoot and hand over RAW files to their employer with little say (or care) regarding who gets to work on them or what gets done. It's definitely a personal comfort thing as you say, and mostly a matter of where a particular wedding photographer considers themselves on the photojournalist-to-fine-artist continuum, and how much the photographer cares about the possibility of their RAW files being handed over to someone else to edit and retouch.


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tim
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Jul 31, 2016 15:16 |  #11

DNG with your edits is pretty close to a finished product. RAW without that less so.


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Wilt
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Jul 31, 2016 19:17 |  #12

I know what used to be true may not be the case in the present, but I offer this information to contrast the client expectations and the professional photographer's policy of yesteryear (25 years ago) to contrast the attitudes.

Client: May sometimes like to have negatives (as well as the usual final album prints and additional photos to be given to friends/relatives)
Professional photographer:

  1. Never give away negatives...perhaps SELL them to client, or
  2. if you ever sell negatives, never sell them before about 3+ years have passed and the client is never expected to come back for a re-order of any prints


...the above assumed that the negatives were the key to future income from re-orders, and that if you did not get re-orders within a reasonable period of time, giving them to the client was better than the burden of long term storage of said negatives


It seems today's client expects to receive the RAW files, and the 'pro' often bends over and gives them away


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Jul 31, 2016 20:14 |  #13

Not sure how this is in the rest of the world but in Australia the copyright of commissioned photographs taken for private or domestic purposes (like weddings, christenings and private portraits) automatically belongs to the commissioner - unless otherwise agreed.
It is debatable whether "copyright" (the legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution) includes the physical RAW files created by the photographer. In this definition it does. But when the law of a country invests the copyright in the commissioner instead of the creator - unless otherwise agreed - it could be argued that the creator only delivers the end product (with the copyright attached).

This demonstrates the necessity of clearly worded contracts in all situations.

Personally I would have no problems with delivering the RAWs for private and domestic jobs but I would remove my name as "author" from the EXIF. That way badly manipulated copies can no longer be attributed to me.


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absplastic
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Jul 31, 2016 20:32 |  #14

vk2gwk wrote in post #18083091 (external link)
Not sure how this is in the rest of the world but in Australia the copyright of commissioned photographs taken for private or domestic purposes (like weddings, christenings and private portraits) automatically belongs to the commissioner - unless otherwise agreed.

It defaults to the photographer owning the copyright in many countries, including the USA. But you are absolutely correct that no photographer's contract should be sloppy or incomplete enough to let it default, because that's just asking for a headache later on when a client thought they owned (or were buying) the copyright, but do not. Best to be upfront and explicit, regardless of which way the law defaults.

In all countries, copyright is totally separate from the delivery of files terms. It should be in the contract how many files are to be delivered, and specific shots mentioned explicitly if the couple has requirements. But even in a country where the client owns the copyright, or where the photographer has sold it to the client, there is no requirement for the photographer to deliver a specific format of files, or all the files, if this was not also in the contract. It simply means that they own the copyright on what does get delivered.


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Jul 31, 2016 20:34 |  #15

For my own wedding, I also asked for all the negatives (film). It was negotiated in the pricing, with a reasonable amount of time for the photographer to take print orders.

It doesn't mean the client is going to be difficult to work with, or (badly) reprocess all the images or anything else... This is the couple's special day. Ultimately, they would like to have the best possible source in the event of loss in the long run. Keep in mind that they will (hopefully) be married for many years and those images may not be available in the event of the photographer going out of business, moving, etc. Really, what is the harm to the photographer? It's not likely that the photographer is going to generate income after a reasonable amount of time has passed and the guests have ordered all their prints. Just negotiate the value into the contract.

In my case, the photographer has long since been out of business, but 23+ years later, I have the source images to work with for personal use or otherwise. They would be lost to me otherwise.

Of course if you personally don't feel comfortable doing this, that is entirely up to you. But I would say you should think through the reasons you don't feel comfortable with hit rather than just falling back on the general adage that a photographer should never part with the source files.

Just my 2 cents...


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Wedding client asked to have all raw images -advice?
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