Last month, I posted on DPS about whether photogs should sell raw/unedited images to clients. There was quite a fiery discussion started in the comments section and apparently, opinions on this topic are fierce!
I’ve gotten a few reader emails this week asking this very question. So here is why I see a danger in sharing these files with clients.
In the DPS post, I likened handing over SOOC (straight out of camera) images to a chef who plops a plate of raw chicken on your table. There are two elements that go into cooking a beautiful work of visual art: the capturing of the image and the dark room/post production work. The SOOC image isn’t a complete product, only an ingredient.
Now, this is where the DPS readers had a field day with their comparisons to the film photography days and saying that the light and the colours and the subjects are the ingredients and the camera captures the finished product. But I really don’t feel that this is true these days. And in our line of business, where we get paid to produce something that our clients can’t produce on their own, we have to give them something other than SOOC images. Afterall, any client who owns a camera probably believes that they can do that on their own.
Another reason I feel this is a danger: Clients will show these to their friends and you’ll look second rate. I never ever hand over images that I’m not proud for the world to see with my name on them. This is why I don’t solely sell disks like some photographers. I would rather handle every last detail down to the very displaying of my work because this is all part of portraying my business in the best possible light.
With the images I do sell on disk, full-res or web-ready, my image release letter stipulates that clients not remove the watermark or edit/alter the images for public display. Exe: “Please don’t take your painstakingly colour corrected portrait and turn it into a selective colour horror and then tell your friends that this is my work.”
And so these are the reasons I don’t hand over raw chicken to my clients who paid for a roast dinner.