What Are RAW Files?
It seems that a lot of brides are being advised by friends, family or wedding information sites that they should be asking their photographer for the RAW files from which their wedding photos are produced. Requests of this nature are on the rise, and many wedding photographers are less than thrilled about that development. However, it seems that many making these requests don’t really understand what these files are. Once they explain themselves further, what they really want is what most photographers give to clients anyway, digital copies of their finished and edited photos, which are typically given to clients in the form of JPEG files.
If you are one of those brides who has been wondering whether you should ask your photographer for RAW files, an explanation of exactly what they are may just clear the matter up for you. RAW files are the basic, unprocessed data from your photographer’s digital camera. In this form, images cannot be viewed on most home computers without purchasing and installing special software, nor can they be printed. In effect, they are not yet pictures. These files will need to be processed by your photographer with specialized post-production software and put through an editing process before they become the moving and artistic wedding photos you want for your wedding album. So, chances are, even if your photographer was willing to turn over his RAW files, you really wouldn’t be able to do much with them but put them on a shelf to collect dust.
Why JPEG Is Preferred
JPEG files are what you need if it is digital copies of your photos that you are looking for, a backup copy of your pictures like the negatives that you might keep from film photos. JPEG files that are given to the client by the wedding photographer are the finished product. They have been processed into those lovely wedding photos that you paid your photographer to create for you. They are typically delivered in the form of an image DVD and can be viewed on your home computer and prints can be made from them.
Now that you know the difference between RAW and JPEG files, the other thing you need to know is that most professional photographers are reluctant to give out their RAW files. While some might if pressed, you may find yourself charged a substantial fee for them. Many simply will not give them out at all, and there are some very good reasons for that. Fact is, those are not the photos you paid for, they are the equivalent of a rough draft. Many photographers will not release anything but the finished product, the images that he has used his talent and skill to transform into the images you will be proud to display in your wedding album.
Some toronto wedding photographers feel that they can do every aspect of the job (shooting and PP) better than lay people (they also happen to think that anyone who isn’t them is a lay person) so much so that it isn’t even worth their time to make the RAW files available to you. Some are just of the mindset that they want to have complete control of the activity despite the wishes of the client, this comes to play on how to communicate with your photographer. While others are completely terrified that you will take those raw files and use them as your own in ad campaigns, mounted prints on exhibit at multiple museums and all other manor of ways not expressly permitted by contract and thus cheat them out of tens of thousands of dollars in royalties. Be sure to ask your photographer is RAW is provided, on your wedding interview checklist.