One of the biggest pet peeve for an Indian wedding photographer, is when clients make a regular, yet ill-judged demand — asking for RAW images. Now we know if you are at the other end of the service spectrum you may have asked for RAW images yourself or have every intention to procure them because well, you paid for them. So what’s the big deal anyway?
The deal is that they aren’t what you thought them to be — the solution to all your photography woes. Contrary to popular belief RAW images are not natural images, high-resolution JPEG files or synonymous with all the images your photographer shot on the wedding day. RAW is essentially a format in which wedding photographers shoot. They are just extremely large files that carries the full range of data for a given picture. So they are unedited but allow you to control far more in post-processing than you ever could could shooting JPEG. This is because when shooting in RAW the camera stores the full tonal range for lights, darks, highlights, and shadows, as well as the full range of colors and exposure (brightness).
The problem is that while it may seem on the surface that RAW images give you full-control over your photographs in reality that’s quite a mirage. So to save you from the unnecessary disappointment, Lifeworks Studios decided to bust some common misconceptions about RAW images as well as give you five reasons that will positively convince you why your photographer refusing to give you RAW images, is really the best decision for you.
- Tough Nuts To Crack
You can’t just fire up your I-photo or use VSCO tricks to edit RAW images. You need specialised software like Adobe Lightroom and sometimes even Adobe Photoshop for further processing. Not everyone has these softwares and moreover they are quite expensive. Also if you really want to edit them yourself, you are actually wasting quite a bit of your money. For when you hire a wedding photographer, editing the photographs is part of the service!
If you want the best of both worlds — editing a few photographs yourself and letting your photographer do the rest you are going to lose that consistent aesthetic in your wedding album.
2. They Are Huge
At more than 30MB per photo, those babies will fill up your hard drive real fast. Wedding photographers take an average of 5,000-7,000 images for just three ceremonies. If you can help it, you want to stay away from those kind of numbers.
- Trusting Your Photographer
This is perhaps the key reason why you shouldn’t, wouldn’t and possibly couldn’t need RAW photographs.
You hired your wedding photographer based on their style and portfolio — which reflects itself in not just the photos they shoot but what they present to you after processing and editing RAW files. That is there true finished product. You need to trust your wedding photographer to cull the best photographs from the ones they have shot and edit them to the best of their ability.
If you are still hoping to find some amazing image your photographer missed, then perhaps you should reconsider hiring a photographer you have more faith in, for which we have a guide here.
- They Look Terrible
What most clients expect when they ask for RAW files, is JPEG images images — the kind which are shot from your regular camera. You love these photos because they automatically compress the RAW image file and add basic changes to it in terms of highlights, shadows and contrasts.
On the other hand RAW files come out looking completely flat and dull along with inaccurate colors and extreme highlights or shadows. Though give these images to your photographer and it becomes for him or her the essential building blocks for creating their own artistic style.
- Damaging For The Photographer
RAW images are a complete misrepresentation of a photographer’s skill and style. It’s like asking an artist to give their art before its finished and then judging their talent on that basis.
Moreover, if anyone were to see it and is most likely to have little or no knowledge about RAW images the photographer’s reputation and brand name is completely destroyed. That’s why its global industry standard not to give RAW files to the client.
If your photographer is ready to deliver the RAW images to you there is a fair chance he’s going to price them high and make money off it or he’s fairly new to the field and doesn’t want to lose out on clients.
At Lifeworks Studios we don’t provide RAW images to our clients (its in our contract) because we believe that if they have entrusted us with capturing one of the most special moments of their life, there is no reason why we should give them the unnecessary task of culling RAW files.
Our finished products will surely be worth both their time and resources.
So in our opinion, don’t walk away from the person who could be your ideal wedding photographer just because he or she won’t give you those RAW files — which you don’t need anyway.
There are many renowned photographers and agencies who back this conversation and you can follow these links to their pages to understand their perspective –PetaPixel, Fstoppers, Amy & Jordan and Ricki Hibbert.
Written by – Payal Mohta for Lifeworks Studios
Here’s some of our favourite photographs of our favourite clients!