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Why your photographers don't give out RAWs + other FAQs

As a photographer myself, I have been asked so many of the same questions by others who are not in this industry. I can't blame them! This world is a mystery to those who aren't connected to it on an everyday basis. I'm so excited to provide some clarification and hopefully remove the mystery. Hopefully this can build trust with your local professional photographers!

Why photographers don't give out RAWs?

This is probably the most popular question I've seen. The best way to answer it: Professional chefs don't serve raw chicken for the same reasons photographers don't give you RAW files.

Reason #1 You need professional software to even view the files. #2 your photographer is the artist that was hired. The RAWs (images straight of the camera) are 10% of the work. They're an unfinished product that doesn't reflect the work of the artist. #3 most of the RAWs are the ones where you're blinking or spitting out your hair, or falling... Trusting that your photographer used their professional instincts + methods to deliver the best images from your session is the best thing you could do!

Why don't we have every pose in our gallery?

This question is similar to the one above, but the answer is different. Your photographer should deliver every pose/shot that was asked for if you specifically requested it during or before the session. You might've seen them prompt a couple poses that they thought of themselves, but they're missing from the gallery. Here's why: Not every pose works out! The photographer used creative freedom and they didn't finalize those images due to them not working out like they thought they would. There are two things that make an image a success.

Eye catching, emotion provoking, or both.

If a pose wasn't specifically asked for, they don't love the image or it doesn't fit the two traits above according to their professional opinion, they won't finalize and deliver it.

Why can't I crop/edit/alter my images?

The short answer: They're not your images.

The copyright belongs to the person who created them. You are paying to use them, not own them. In the contract you signed there's probably printing rights and a social media license that legally allows you to use them. I've never met a photographer who sold copyright to their images, which is what would be needed to legally alter images that are not currently yours (according to most contracts.) Now, you might've done this or seen someone else do this in the past and nothing was ever said, but it truly is so heartbreaking to your photographer when they see their images with boarders added, filters, cropping, etc. They believed you were hiring them because you trusted them, and you liked their work. This is why it's SO important to hire your photographer because you like their style, not their price. You can find more about how to find your dream photographer in my last blog post!

Why hasn't my photographer used any of my images on their socials or website?

There are so many reasons! They may be scheduled to post at a later date, they could be trying to market towards something different (maternity sessions, weddings) at this time, They could be pushing specific locations ( mountains in Tennessee, hiking trails in Ohio) to get more sessions at their desired places, the colors could be outside of their branding ideals (I could go on about following your photographers style advice, but I'll save that for another blog ;) The best advice I have for this is to never take it personally. I have NEVER not shared a session because of someone's personal traits, and I don't know one photographer who has.

Why do I have to pay before my session is booked?

I remember the days where I didn't require a non-refundable retainer. Never again. Countless no call no shows, cancellations minutes before after I've already travelled to the location, cancellation after someone else has inquired about that date, who was willing and ready to pay. The non-refundable retainer is insurance that each client is taking this as seriously as we are. Once we book a date, that date isn't available to other clients and without insurance or incentive for you to show up and keep your end of the deal, that date will stay open.

Why is photographer exclusivity a thing?

This is most commonly related to weddings but is relevant to all of my sessions. Some brides have family members that dabble in photography who want to shoot alongside of the professional photographer on their wedding day but that is very disruptive to our job. The direction of the lead photographer and how they compose their subjects is best uninterrupted. Our processes are constructed to be accompanied by the lead photographer (The photographer hired by the client) and their assistant (someone who has experience being an assistant. Someone the lead photographer hired and trusts.) Please advise your guests that you have hired a professional wedding photographer who is very capable of doing their job that they LOVE. Having a great experience with your photographer requires internal trust and actions that display your trust.

I hope this cleared some things up about our intentions as photographers. Most of us really love what we do just as much as we love our clients!

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