Why I won’t give you ALL of the images….even the unedited ones.
Though it doesn’t happen often, I do get the occasional request for all of the photos I take during a shoot.
That’s right, even the unedited ones.
Believe me, I don’t like saying no to clients, but on this one I’m afraid it’s the only answer I can give. And it’s not because I’m stingy or lazy or anything like that. Here are some very valid reasons why many photographers, including myself, refuse to give clients every single photo:
1. Professional photographers shoot in RAW format.
RAW format is the purest form to shoot in. It captures way more information in an image. So the file sizes are extremely large compared to the JPEG format most people are used to. Not only that, standard photo programs won’t open RAW format. So unless you have a specific program like Lightroom or Photoshop you won’t even be able to view the files.
Even if you’ve invested in expensive software, converting 400 plus RAW images to JPEG would take an insane amount of time on my end. Imagine opening 400 .doc files and resaving each one as a .docx file. Sounds really boring right? I like to think I have more productive ways of spending my time, like editing my client’s best photos so that they look even better.
2. I’m saving you hours of time by sorting through every image.
Think of it as part of the reason you hired me.
You might think that having all 400 photos would be great. You want to see each and every one just to make sure I didn’t miss anything good. But let me tell you, sorting through hundreds of photos – many of which are almost exactly the same because the foreground wasn’t completely in focus or because Grandma seems to blink every time I click – is actually tedious and boring. Trust me, you would be completely over it after the first 50 images.
So to the clients focused on reviewing all the photos themselves I say, “Please, leave this job to me as your photographer.” It is my duty to choose that special one out of the 5 shots I took of you in the same pose that has the best composition, facial expression, light, clarity, etc. I’m a trained professional who knows you don’t want the one with your eyes closed or the one that is out of focus. And personally, I don’t want to attach my name to anything that doesn’t look completely awesome.
Bottom Line: Photographers pinpoint the very best images so that you don’t have to.
3. It’s our artwork.
To photographers, pictures aren’t just little files we take two minutes to go through and burn to a disc. Boom! Done.
We actually spend a lot of time editing and choosing the best ones to give to our clients. We do this not only because we want you to have the best possible images, but also because our photos are an expression of who we are as artists and individuals. To us, releasing unedited outcast images feels like selling our creative soul. I’ve never done it, but when I’m asked, my heart actually physically hurts.
Respectable professionals in any career field want to give people the best of their work. We choose not to give you all those other images for a reason: they’re simply not as good. We’ve built a great reputation by giving our clients impeccable photos…..not giving them unedited ones.
With all that said, I understand this request. I really do. Before I started my photography business, I thought it was a little unfair that photographers wouldn’t just give me all the photos. It seems easy enough. But the truth is, professionally and emotionally, it’s not an easy thing to do.
I know it can be hard to trust your photographer sometimes, but this is a difficult request for us. You hired me because you were drawn to my work. If you’re truly concerned about how your photos will look, perhaps I’m not the photographer for you.