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Customer request for copy of ALL RAW files from Wedding

karloznzkarloznz Registered Users Posts: 126 Major grins
edited March 16, 2013 in Mind Your Own Business
Hi

I have just completed a Wedding and given as originally outlined a DVD with 200 odd JPG images of wedding.

I have supplied the best images and where in doubt 2 images of same shot if too difficult to decide.

The client has requested the RAW files and [ALL other images - which I don't have a full set of because obviously lots were deleted as they were definitely not worth keeping so that leaves about an additional 250 images not supplied which I will most probable delete shortly.

The main issues I have is that the RAW file in most cases are not a good reflection of the final product and not happy to supply as I will have no control of what is done with them and not happy for this to be representative of my work.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Carl Lea Wedding and event photographer - Wellington - Web Site

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    slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,198 Major grins
    edited February 10, 2013
    What did you agree to provide before the wedding?

    I would not hand over the RAW files unless you agreed to it beforehand. I would just say no.

    Good luck.

    Sherry
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    cbbrcbbr Registered Users Posts: 755 Major grins
    edited February 11, 2013
    I don't give RAW files to anyone. Processing is part of the final shot. As for "all" of the shots, the first thing that I do is delete the bad ones, then I rank and delete duplicates so "all" of the shots are the eons that are processed in most cases.
    Chad - www.brberrys.com
    If I post it, please tell me how to make it better. My fragile ego can take it.
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    jwcoffeejwcoffee Registered Users Posts: 18 Big grins
    edited February 11, 2013
    You need to do what you agreed to do. If you did not agree specifically to provide RAW copies, you should not. The RAW files are your negatives...not finished images. It's hard thinking about saying "No". But after those two little letters come out of your mouth things get much easier.
    Jim Coffee
    Photographer, Panographer
    James Coffee Studios
    Escondido, CA
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    johngjohng Registered Users Posts: 1,658 Major grins
    edited February 11, 2013
    What does the contract you both signed read with regard to:
    1) what types of files will be provided
    2) How many images will be provided?

    At this point in time, it's about what is in your contract
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    AngeloAngelo Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited February 12, 2013
    karloznz wrote: »
    Hi

    I have just completed a Wedding and given as originally outlined a DVD with 200 odd JPG images of wedding.

    I think you were clear in your opening sentence.

    Simply explain to the client you did not make the RAW files part of the agreement and never do.

    You might help them understand the similarity between these files and film negatives of yore which photographer's never (or very rarely) released.

    .
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    karloznzkarloznz Registered Users Posts: 126 Major grins
    edited February 13, 2013
    Thanks all for your assistance
    Carl Lea Wedding and event photographer - Wellington - Web Site
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    GerryDavidGerryDavid Registered Users Posts: 439 Major grins
    edited February 20, 2013
    What are the raw files worth to you? If someone offered you $10 for it, no?, how about $100? No? What about $1000?

    Everyone has a price tag, just have to find out what it is, and toss it in the contract or price guide for future weddings. Most may gauf *right spelling?* at it, but if someone is willing to pay $25k for all the raw files would you say no?
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    JovesJoves Registered Users Posts: 200 Major grins
    edited February 21, 2013
    I personally would say sure, then give them a price per image that they would never accept, and if they did I would consider it a great pay day. You fulfilled your end so there is nothing else to discuss but the price for the over and above service they think they deserve.
    I shoot therefore Iam.
    http://joves.smugmug.com/
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    johngjohng Registered Users Posts: 1,658 Major grins
    edited February 21, 2013
    Joves wrote: »
    You fulfilled your end so there is nothing else to discuss but the price for the over and above service they think they deserve.

    Actually, that's still up for debate. We don't know what the contract stipulates. And that's what matters. If the contract isn't clear - a photographer's interpretation of what constitutes "fulfilling your end" and a client's interpretation may be very different.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited February 22, 2013
    GerryDavid wrote: »
    What are the raw files worth to you? If someone offered you $10 for it, no?, how about $100? No? What about $1000?

    Everyone has a price tag, just have to find out what it is, and toss it in the contract or price guide for future weddings. Most may gauf *right spelling?* at it, but if someone is willing to pay $25k for all the raw files would you say no?

    As far as I'm concerned all this talk of not letting files out and damaging your reputation is pure and utter crap. I have been including the original images in coverages or as an option for years and never had a problem and am yet to hear of a first hand experience of someone that has.

    I learned my mistake with film. Mantra was the same then, Don't give out your negs, they are your heart, your soul your pain in the arse trying to store them and substantial missed profits.
    Yeah, I kept them all and regret it. I could have got Damn good money for them when the clients emotions were high and they were still all giddy but even 2 years later when I rang a lot of them, They couldn't be bothered coming by to pick them up for free.

    I don't make the same mistake now. I put them in as a value added incentive to my packages that allows me to bump the price and get a lot more ROI for NO extra effort. I have many times got an extra $1000 on top of my coverage fee just for a couple or 3 Disks with images I have a copy of and can use anyway.

    The thing about bad prints being made and ruining your reputation is utter malarkey. You have given them an album full of beautiful images. Does anyone really believe that the clients are then going to have a crap print made, most likely of a shot in the album, and when it comes back crap blame the photographer instead of the lab?
    If anyone really does, you seriously need to find more intelligent clients or take a good dose of reality pills yourself. It's like your car. If it's running fine and has been for years and you fill it up and the thing suddenly runs bad, Do you start saying the manufacturer made a crap vehicle or do you first suspect the fuel you just bought being bad?

    The other thing is that some shooters perpetuate the notion that any reprints the clients get made will be with pure and complete certainty, garbage. Yeah, I read some places are like that but here at least the automation and functions of the machines allow even a half trained operator to make very good images. Where I am, the odds are that the print even from the places that do 6x4's for 10C knock out very satisfactory prints. There are 10 labs in every shopping centre now. All I have tried were good. IF the customer gets a print that differs hugely form the standard they are used to in the album, they don't have far to go to try somewhere else and that's exactly what they do.

    What I have had is a couple of people over the years ring me and say they didn't like the reprints they had made and can I recommend a good lab or they just order them through me which I make a reasonable mark up on despite being at a lesser price than ordinary reprints... which I never sold much of anyway.


    Seems to me a lot of shooters are either mis informed and badly influenced with what they read or are a bit ( lot) too precious about their work and don't understand the limited value it really has to basically 2 possible clients.


    The files are only valuable to one lot of people and only valueable for a very limited time. Once the stars and shiny lights fade cause they turned them off to save money on the power bill so they can pay the mortgage and they realise they haven't even looked at their wedding album in 2 years, the pics are worth nothing.

    Be smart, realise you are in a supply and demand industry and supply the product the people want while it is in demand and has some worth.
    If you miss the boat all you have is Files taking up space on a hard drive and they are worth absolutely nothing at all to anyone.
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited February 22, 2013
    I agree with much about what Glort is saying but I also don't think that handing out the RAW files is a good idea at all. Unless its for a really good price tag. And at that point, you're doing less work for more money. But in this specific case, it all boils down to what the contract specifically says will be delivered.

    The reason I say do not give out the RAW file is simply because it is not a finished product. Are you IKEA, selling most-assembly-required type of furniture? Or are you selling a finished, premium product ready to sit on and enjoy?

    But Glort is dead-spot-on about the unjustified fears of "giving away the negatives", or the files (even the fear of selling full-res fully edited JPGs). This is not the old days. People see little value in additional print copies. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO COME BACK TO YOU TO BUY ADDITIONAL PRINTS. I will not take my family to a photographer who will not sell a CD of hi-res edited photos. Period. Will I pay a decent price for that though? Heck yeah.

    So how do you solve the delima of the client making a poor print and blaming you? Its so simply obvious that I cannot believe photographers use this excuse still. You do what our photographer out of Georgetown did for us last year. You deliever the CD along with a professional 5x7 print of each image on the CD. I now have a golden image to compare against. If I do my own print and it looks bad, I compare it to the print I got from Teri, and quickly realize that its not the file that is bad.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited February 23, 2013
    mercphoto wrote: »
    So how do you solve the delima of the client making a poor print and blaming you? Its so simply obvious that I cannot believe photographers use this excuse still. You do what our photographer out of Georgetown did for us last year. You deliever the CD along with a professional 5x7 print of each image on the CD. I now have a golden image to compare against. If I do my own print and it looks bad, I compare it to the print I got from Teri, and quickly realize that its not the file that is bad.

    Exactly!

    Some shooters seem so hell bent on perpetuating illogical rubbish they read on forums instead of thinking for themselves it astounds me.
    They seem to make up or believe parroted illogical here-say even when it flies in the face of the normal behaviour of people and themselves.

    It beggars logical belief that someone would have an album full of images they are happy with, have another print reproduced by a 3rd party and then blame the shooter because the secondary image didn't look the same as the ones they had seen and liked.
    Would anyone here do that with any product or service they purchased? If you wouldn't, why would a person assume everyone one else would act in an illogical manner in the same circumstance?

    As for giving out RAW files, I'm not sure if there is a worthwhile concern there or not. I usually shoot and sell Jpgs. If I have shot RAW wedding images, I convert them to Jpgs and sell/ include them to the client. I can see where selling actual RAW file format images could lead to client complaints because I don't believe a great many people know what RAW files actually are, let alone what to do with them.
    I think when they ask for the raw files, they are generally parroting something from a magazine that said they should get them but what they really want is a copy of the images to hold onto and maybe get some prints of themselves.

    They want digital files rather than a specific format I believe.

    If asked, I'd be clarifying that the clients actually want a copy of all the Original Images and then give them Jpgs or at least a set of Jpgs and Raw files to cover my own butt.
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    smurfysmurfy Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited February 24, 2013
    Not to play devils advocate, but I really think the responses here are assuming that the clients are actually happy with their wedding photos. But, based on their request for the RAWS, it's highly unlikely that is true.

    If someone is asking for all the files, that likely indicates that they feel something is missing in their wedding coverage; and it's probable that there is much more to the request than happiness and wanting to buy more files based on positive emotions.

    I think that calling, asking if they are happy with their photos, and if there is a specific reason for wanting the RAWS; then listening carefully and non defensively to the answer, is a smarter customer service decision than assuming all is well, and telling them either no, or that there is a specific price for them.

    I've never been asked for RAWS after the jpegs were delivered, but if I were, it would be my first thought that perhaps they are looking for specific photos that were not delivered and that they feel are missing. I'd be guessing that they are at least, on some level, not satisfied with my services.

    I would not treat it as an opportunity to sell the RAWS, or to reiterate what was in the contract about what file format would be delivered. Instead, it could be viewed as an opportunity to get valuable feedback, and try to make whatever the problem is right, if possible.
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    GerryDavidGerryDavid Registered Users Posts: 439 Major grins
    edited February 24, 2013
    smurfy wrote: »
    If someone is asking for all the files, that likely indicates that they feel something is missing in their wedding coverage

    I wouldn't have taken it that way, I would have assumed they wanted control over the files and to see more from their big day.

    Another concern is they could use the pictures for commercial purposes and you wont get a paycheck from it, since the raw file is the proof you own the copyright, unless you registered them with the government, I'm actually curious how many portrait photogs do that. :)

    I'm not saying that is likely, but its a possibility.
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    smurfysmurfy Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited February 24, 2013
    I've been shooting weddings for a long time, and my response is based on real world wedding experience with scores of couples. They just don't make these kinds of requests when they are happy with a photographer, 99.999 percent of the time.

    Gerry, I'm not sure where you are from, but Having a RAW file is most definitely not proof of copyright in the US, where I live. Any legit commercial use, such as a ring company using a real wedding photo for an ad campaign, needs to make sure the creator of the image releases it for their use in order for that use to be legal and to avoid legal action being taken against them down the road.
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    GerryDavidGerryDavid Registered Users Posts: 439 Major grins
    edited February 24, 2013
    Its my understanding the us copyright office comes first and proves you own the copyright, but if its not registered and one person has a low res jpg and the other person has a high res jpg, the person with the high res jpg proves they own it, and if someone has a jpg and the other person has a raw file, the raw file trumps the jpg. :)

    And its not uncommon for someone not to verify they have the official copyright owner before they do something with the file, from what I've read on these forums a lot of times the companies using the image just assume the person with the file owns it. For example the client could upload the image to istock and claims they own the copyright. istock doesnt verify this until there is a complaint. then the image gets sold to 100 different businesses for their advertising needs.
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    johngjohng Registered Users Posts: 1,658 Major grins
    edited February 25, 2013
    I'm sorry but the whole "they might use the image for commercial purposes" is a complete red herring. That is such a miniscule probability it's not worth discussing.

    Again, there are 2 important questions:
    1) What does the contract state regarding what is to be delivered
    2) As suggested, having a conversation with the client to determine whey they want the additional files.

    There really are no ABSOLUTE answers to anything. Determining whether or not to provide additional images should be done on a case-by-case basis. The two questions above are the important drivers and we don't know the answer to either of them.
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    joshhuntnmjoshhuntnm Registered Users Posts: 1,924 Major grins
    edited February 25, 2013
    I'd give them to them. better to have a happy customer. people talk.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited February 25, 2013
    mercphoto wrote: »
    smurfy wrote: »
    I've been shooting weddings for a long time, and my response is based on real world wedding experience with scores of couples. They just don't make these kinds of requests when they are happy with a photographer, 99.999 percent of the time.

    I have ( regrettably) been shooting weddings for Nigh on 30 years now and my experience has been that they absolutely make the these requests when they are happy with the pics. Even 20 years ago they wanted the negs, 1, because they saw it as a security to replacing the pics if anything happened to them, 2, to be able to get more prints, especially enlargements further down the track when they got into their own home, a bigger home etc and 3, there was a lot of " advise" from magazines and friends etc that it was wise to get the Neg for the reasons above amongst others.

    Certainly some of my most profitable and happy clients have purchased Files or Negs and lots more people want them even before the pics are done. It's something I leverage as a benefit in using me over the competition who stick to these notions of fear and misinformation as to why they won't let them out of their possession. Hope my competition isn't reading this because I hope to hell they stick to what they are doing right now and giving me a huge marketing advantage.

    I will concede I have had difficult and unhappy clients that have also wanted the negs or files but being the very minimal cases that has been over the years and given their request is no different to the very happy clients, personally I can't any support of the supposition that only unhappy clients ask for files.


    As for them asking for RAW files specifically, I would agree in asking them about this, merely out of Curiosity. I'd bet $1000 the reason they have asked for RAW files specifically is some shutterbug friend told them they should get them or they read it in a bridal mag somewhere. I'd go double or nothing that if asked, the clients wouldn't really know or understand what the real differences was between Raw and Jpgs and if you asked them " Do you just want to take the RAW files to the local Minilab and have reprints made?" they would say yes thinking that's all you had to do with them.


    Again, if it were me, I'd be putting a price on them and saying they are available for $xxx and hoping to hell they took them.
    Money for Jam.

    As for commercial usage, yep, .001% chance. In any case state in a release or agreement the client signs they are only allowed to be used for domestic, non commercial usage.
    Potential problem solved and if they break the contract it's to your benefit as well.
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    smurfysmurfy Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited February 26, 2013
    Glort: Agreed.
    I include the edited jpeg digital files, about 400 to 700 per wedding, depending on the length and size. Every single couple I shoot gets their digital 'negatives' ( a term I don't like, because they are all edited and the portraits are retouched).
    About nine in ten couples also opt for a 10 by 10 or larger flushmount album, as well.

    So my comments were regarding, not the delivery of digital files, but about a bride wanting every single photo taken in RAW format after the jpeg files have been delivered, as the OP stated had happened.
    I don't believe that happy brides ask for those things specifically. They might say, " My Mom can't find her brother in the pics, as he was late and missed the family formals... Do you have any more reception photos that maybe he might be in?" Yes, I've had that sort of thing happen a couple of times.
    But to say, "Please give me every single shot you took that day, and in RAW format!", I just absolutely believe that this request is from a dissapointed client who hopes to make something better out of what they are not currently happy with. Could be wrong, but that's how I see it. That opinion is also based on the OP saying that he gave them 200 or so photos. Even in film days, that would have been a pretty small amount of images for a full day wedding, if that is what the OP was paid to cover. To deliver that few from a whole wedding, they had better be incredibly strong images.
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    Creative BoudoirCreative Boudoir Registered Users Posts: 12 Big grins
    edited February 28, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    It's like your car. If it's running fine and has been for years and you fill it up and the thing suddenly runs bad, Do you start saying the manufacturer made a crap vehicle or do you first suspect the fuel you just bought being bad?

    Sorry to get off subject but I work for a major dealership and can say yes people will blaim the manufactor and us even if the car has 100K+ miles on it.
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    VayCayMomVayCayMom Registered Users Posts: 1,870 Major grins
    edited March 13, 2013
    Ha, they probably don't even have software to open RAW images, the joke might be on them. Clients misunderstand what a RAW image is.
    Trudy
    www.CottageInk.smugmug.com

    NIKON D700
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    Gary752Gary752 Registered Users Posts: 934 Major grins
    edited March 16, 2013
    OR...They have a friend that told them to ask for the RAW files, because they are either a photographer, or they think they can do better at processing them.

    GaryB
    GaryB
    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” - Ansel Adams
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