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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Asking Photographer For All Raw Files...Should I?
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01/18/2007 07:05:05 PM · #1
Hi everyone,

I would like for you to weigh in on this, especially if you are in business as a photographer.

I'm getting married soon, and I'm consulting with a photographer that I really like. I don't know him personally or professionally, and although I like his work, frankly, I can do my own post-processing and send the files to my lab for printing. I'm a photographer also, and I would take my own pictures if I could, lol, but since it's my wedding, people say I should let others handle as much as they can.

I really want him to shoot my wedding and give me the raw files so that I can process them myself. Is this an unreasonable request? Of course, we can negotiate a hourly price for his time, but I really want control over this since it is my wedding!

How should I approach this? Have any of you done this for your clients or have any of you requested this from your photographer?

Thanks!
01/18/2007 07:07:23 PM · #2
I think you'll have a tough finding a photographer willing to shoot a wedding as "work for hire" and in any case they will likely charge you a small fortune if you want the originals.
01/18/2007 07:08:35 PM · #3
If you paid me 3 times my normal fee, @ $5,000, maybe. Other than that no way.
01/18/2007 07:10:57 PM · #4
I concur with that last reply.

I've turned down a similar request...actually it was more like this: I told them uh-uh forget it, no way no how, I have a reputation to uphold .. to which they said buh-bye.

Worked out well for both parties.
01/18/2007 07:11:07 PM · #5
Nothing wrong and nothing to lose by asking. Worse case scenario is they say no...Be prepared to pay more though...
01/18/2007 07:12:42 PM · #6
Just ask him/her. Explain the situation like you just did to us. The worst he could do is say no.

Personally, I would turn the work down, not because I wouldn't want you to process your own shots, but because I take a pride in my work and my reputation and I want to protect that. To me it would be like signing my name to a canvas, then letting someone else do the painting.
01/18/2007 07:13:51 PM · #7
I negotiated exactly that with my photographer for both my kids Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. The photographer was very good, and reasonable in both cases. It saved him all the postprocessing work.

Not exactly the same as a wedding, but same principle.
01/18/2007 07:21:57 PM · #8
As a photographer, and the roles were reversed, would you do that for him?
01/18/2007 08:08:41 PM · #9
All of these "not on your life" responses confuse me, and I don't think I'd work with someone who said that.

I've never seen a professional wedding photographer that didn't say "You get the negatives." Copies of the RAW files is just like negatives, except that both you AND the photographer can keep them.

You are paying for more than just their time... you're paying for the negatives as well.
01/18/2007 08:24:57 PM · #10
Originally posted by chimericvisions:

All of these "not on your life" responses confuse me, and I don't think I'd work with someone who said that.

I've never seen a professional wedding photographer that didn't say "You get the negatives." Copies of the RAW files is just like negatives, except that both you AND the photographer can keep them.

You are paying for more than just their time... you're paying for the negatives as well.


Sorry and no offense meant but I it sounds to me like you don´t really know what you are talking about, when you pay a pro to photograph your wedding you are NOT paying for the negatives as well unless you specifically make a deal with that photographer for the negatives.

To answer the original poster, I personally would part with the raw files but it would definately take some "encouragement" as in $$. I mean it´s work and I would never turn that if it was lucrative but that´s just me. The reason for the added fee would be that the photographer is of course not able to charge for further print´s in the future so... Just ask and the worst thing that´ll happen is the photographer says no :)

Message edited by author 2007-01-18 20:26:25.
01/18/2007 08:27:41 PM · #11
Originally posted by chimericvisions:



I've never seen a professional wedding photographer that didn't say "You get the negatives." Copies of the RAW files is just like negatives, except that both you AND the photographer can keep them


I know professional wedding photographers, ones that charge $5000+ for their services, and they would NEVER give away the negatives.

That's like telling a writer to give up his copyright and send you .doc files, you get to edit them however you want, and then he gets no profit for any reprints ever.

How is this a reasonable request?

It's the difference between buying a signed lithograph of a painting, and buying the original work, completely different classes product bought.
01/18/2007 08:30:28 PM · #12
Originally posted by Larus:


Sorry and no offense meant but I it sounds to me like you don´t really know what you are talking about, when you pay a pro to photograph your wedding you are NOT paying for the negatives as well unless you specifically make a deal with that photographer for the negatives.


I never said you don't pay for them - it's one of the things you pay for (and in most cases I've seen, it's built-in to the price). However, as I said, I have yet to meet a professional wedding photographer who did not present that as an option, and I wouldn't work with someone who didn't.

It's my event, and "I" want the ability to get reprints 20 years from now when the photographer's out of business, dead, or living in Zimbabwe...
01/18/2007 08:47:02 PM · #13
FWIW, I worked in a pro studio a while back, and they charged $250 an image to release the image to the client.
01/18/2007 08:51:18 PM · #14
FWIW, you're not going to find many pro wedding photogs that will hand over RAW files for cheap. I'll hand over hi-res jpegs for a price, but RAW files?

There is IMO, way too much latitude for screwing up and my name being attached to it. Nah, I'd pass.
01/18/2007 08:58:31 PM · #15
Some coworkers of mine recently got married and in both cases the deal they negotiated was that the photographer would deliver them the original files after a certain period of time - 1 year in one case, 2 years in the other.

The majority of print sales happen in the first year or two anyway, and then the client gets to keep the photos forever no matter what happens to the photographer.
01/18/2007 09:01:21 PM · #16
Heck, I've shot many weddings, bridals etc. If you looked like a return client I might look at this different. You don't live near me, and you said you don't have money to buy prints. Heck ya, I'de do it for ya, RAW no problem. I'd just need a part of the contract that is a little stonger releasing me from any and all claims and that none of the photos can be used commercially or for sale in any form. Yup, easy money and sounds like a fun event with minimal pressure. Hope you can make it happen. So where do you live?
01/18/2007 09:06:24 PM · #17
I do not understand the exclusiveness here. There are no prewritten rules to which photogs must adhere to. Contracts are contracts and anything can be put in them. It may cost more, it may include the clause "don't mention my name" in which case there is no opportunity for repeat orders, but there is no cost associated with the time it would take the photog to postprocess those files.

All said, it is possible to find a photographer that will do this. It may or may not cost you more, and you will definitively want to put all the details of your deal in a contract.
01/18/2007 09:08:00 PM · #18
Originally posted by srdanz:

I do not understand the exclusiveness here. There are no prewritten rules to which photogs must adhere to. Contracts are contracts and anything can be put in them. It may cost more, it may include the clause "don't mention my name" in which case there is no opportunity for repeat orders, but there is no cost associated with the time it would take the photog to postprocess those files.

All said, it is possible to find a photographer that will do this. It may or may not cost you more, and you will definitively want to put all the details of your deal in a contract.


Yup that's what I was saying too
01/18/2007 09:11:51 PM · #19
Originally posted by wavelength:


That's like telling a writer to give up his copyright and send you .doc files, you get to edit them however you want, and then he gets no profit for any reprints ever.

How is this a reasonable request?


sorry, but don't copywriters and graphic designers do this, like, every day?
01/18/2007 09:13:25 PM · #20
btw, i believe eric limon (a current/former member here) has this kind of pricing structure and his work and clientbase don't seem to be suffering much from it:

//www.blacklightphoto.com/
01/18/2007 09:43:59 PM · #21
You're better off having someone you know, a friend or family member that you know has an eye to do this. Or, like it has been posted, you'll have to shell up quite a bit of change for them.

Personally, I'd do it for a friend, but not a client.
01/18/2007 09:46:52 PM · #22
Originally posted by muckpond:

sorry, but don't copywriters and graphic designers do this, like, every day?


Graphic designers that work for companies sort sold off their right to gain royalties.

Even if you make a web page for someone as a graphic designer, that web page is not likely to be copied thousand times over and potentially sold to other parties. Though, I would guess that it is possible.
01/18/2007 09:48:18 PM · #23
Originally posted by muckpond:

btw, i believe eric limon (a current/former member here) has this kind of pricing structure and his work and clientbase don't seem to be suffering much from it:

//www.blacklightphoto.com/


If I read it right, It looks like he provides full size, already processed jpegs, but not the RAW files.
01/18/2007 09:50:25 PM · #24
Originally posted by wavelength:

Originally posted by muckpond:

sorry, but don't copywriters and graphic designers do this, like, every day?


Graphic designers that work for companies sort sold off their right to gain royalties.

Even if you make a web page for someone as a graphic designer, that web page is not likely to be copied thousand times over and potentially sold to other parties. Though, I would guess that it is possible.


My day job is as a graphic designer - I promise you I receive a nice annual salary for giving away my intellectual property. My photography work is worth no less.
01/18/2007 09:56:08 PM · #25
Originally posted by PhantomEWO:

Originally posted by srdanz:

I do not understand the exclusiveness here. There are no prewritten rules to which photogs must adhere to. Contracts are contracts and anything can be put in them. It may cost more, it may include the clause "don't mention my name" in which case there is no opportunity for repeat orders, but there is no cost associated with the time it would take the photog to postprocess those files.

All said, it is possible to find a photographer that will do this. It may or may not cost you more, and you will definitively want to put all the details of your deal in a contract.


Yup that's what I was saying too


just what i was thinking too. save your post-processing time too, how cool is that? but for the reputation-sake (if you have any) then you may want to add something in the contract to ensure the bad-photos do not get linked back to you, or your business.
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