Tough Love Tuesday: Stop Asking For RAW Photos


I'm not sure why people ask for every photo taken from a session. I want to return with "When you're in a restaurant, do you have them bring the scraps from your dinner? Have you ever requested to see the first draft of a book? And, I know you absolutely don't want to watch every bit of footage filmed from a movie, no matter how much you enjoyed it." So, why do people ask for all the photos from the photo session?

A quick lesson on RAW files. They are uncompressed images coming straight from the camera. Sometimes you want to see what the photo looks like on the back of the camera and a photographer can be hesitant to show it to you. Not because they're being secretive, or they don't know what they're doing. It is because it's such a flat, uncompressed image and sometimes straight out the camera, it can look kind of boring. The magic and life come into a photo once it's done being edited.

Editing techniques have to be done to bring out the vibrancy and depth in an image and, that's not necessarily something that a person who's not a photographer or retoucher will understand. Thankfully, most smartphones can photograph RAW images, and with the influx of photo editing apps, more and more people have a good understanding of how to edit photos and that a photo isn't done when you press the shutter button.

So, why don't I send all the reject photos? The short answer is you don't need them. Why do you want to see unedited photos of you blinking, or your mouth is wide open because you were telling a story, or it's out of focus? As someone who isn't the biggest fan of getting her photo taken herself, I know I only want to see the excellent photos so feel free to delete all the bad ones and pretend they never happened.

I have had a few instances when I feel like people think that I'm holding out on the best photos. Let me tell you that it would be a disservice to not just you but to me as well. That means I would have to go back and edit more photos. Some photographers give the client a link to pick out their own selects to be edited. Keep in mind that this is still a culled down selection of the best ones from the session. Trust me, the photographer went through the thousand photos from the photo shoot so you don't have to. My process is I take it even a step further, and I go through and pick out all the final edits myself. Every photographer is different, but I'm pretty guaranteed in saying that none of us is holding out on anything and we only want to deliver nothing but the best to our clients.

Another reason why I don't show all the pictures to the clients is that it's very easy to get in our own heads and focus on the negative than positive. We could be flicking through the images on the camera, and there are 50 photos in a row where you look absolutely fantastic, but if you see a few that don't look that great, you're going to be fixated on those not so great photos and kill your confidence. That's not the point of our photo shoot. You're here in front of my camera for me to capture you and your amazingness. Don't worry about the reject photos. Focus on what was delivered to you that shows you as your best, more fabulous self.

📍Warren, Rhode Island // Willa Kammerer