Can I have all the digital files?
More often then not, clients ask for all the digital files to download. Photographers, on the other hand, don't like to give it away, specially if you don't pay the price for it. Why is that? It's very simply!
Good photographers shoot in RAW format. RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo.When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.
These type of files need to be edited. So even though the deal with the photographer is to have "unedited" photos, this is technically not true. A good photographer ALWAYS edit his/her photos.
A good photographer, also, is very proud of his/her product. From the very basic photo session at your living-room, to the high notch model session at the most expensive location, the eye of the photographer try to see your soul, your true you, through the camera viewer. Anyone can shoot a camera, but not everyone can take pictures.
So here are some of the reasons we don't want to give you the digital files:
COPYRIGHT. Even the casual photo taken at the park, or the free photo that your friend took for you, belongs to the photographer. It doesn't matter if you pay for it or not. At least you agreed with the artist to get the copyright and payed the fee for it, the photographer owns the copyright for the picture. And this includes every edition, print, retouch, and everything in between.
PROUD. As I mentioned before, we take good pride of our work. That is why most of the pictures we take NEVER EVER see the daylight. We take 500 photos and only 25 make it trough, and we are very satisfied with (maybe) 2 of them. When we give you the files, we are giving you hours of work and our best product.
ACCESS TO EDITION. And here is the most critical issue that most of the photographers suffer from, and won't tell you. Since everyone have access to some kind of "photo edition" on their phones, laptops and tablets, everyone is editing photos like crazy. And since the photographer have the COPYRIGHT, and the take PROUD of his/her work , it's heartbreaking (and against the law) seeing your piece of art edited in Instagram, with cheese filters.
Let's put it this way. What would Leonardo Davinci say if he sees his portrait online like this?:
And what would he say if the person who posted online try to "give him credit"?
Nope. Believe me. Nobody want to be credited for your bad edited photos.
So, next time you book a photo session with your photographer, don't ask for the files. But most importantly, if you get it, please don't edit them! Ask your photographer to do it. He/she will do a great job!