“Can I have the RAW images of my wedding day?”
This is a question that has been tossed around a lot recently in the wedding photography world, most likely due to a list of questions given by The Knot or Wedding Wire or a list on Pinterest. Many brides are planning their first wedding and haven’t hired a wedding photographer before so they look up these lists to make sure they are well informed. Completely makes sense! You want to cover all of your bases 🙂
However, I wanted to write this blog to educate my brides on why you don’t need your RAW images. (One less thing to worry about, wahoo!)
Here are a couple different ways brides pose this topic to photographers:
- “I just want ALL of my images from my wedding! I don’t want to miss ANYTHING!”
- “I (or a friend) know how to edit images, would it be cheaper if we receive the RAWS and edit ourselves?”
Trust me… you receive EVERYTHING of value in your gallery! I always tell my couples, if the image has a softer focus than my normal photos, but it holds emotion you will receive it!
The images you won’t see… are duplicates or ones where people have their eyes shut.
My number one reason my brides do not receive RAW images from me is because they are unfinished work. You are hiring me for the completed work you see on my website and social media, not the unedited photos.
As photographers, we each have different shooting and editing styles that help set us apart. Most of the time our unedited photos look very similar to the final image, just a few editing tweaks here and there for exposure/contrast/shadows/etc. But some unedited images… you may view and think “holy cannoli, how is that going to work?!” That is all in the magic of photography! Photographers read light. We know the capabilities of our camera gear and understand how it will perform and trust our editing skills to take that image and create the masterpiece we had in mind when we took the shot.
For example, here is a company photo I took for my husband’s work. I knew I wanted the view of the trees and the sky to not be blown out so I had to expose for the sky instead of the people’s faces. That meant that everyone would be dark, but I knew my editing skills and knew what the final image was going to look like when I pressed the shutter button.
Did I show anyone the unedited image at the picnic? Um, that’s a BIG no! Because I knew they would only see the image on the left and not know what the final image would look like! They would most likely walk away thinking “does that girl know what she’s doing?” When they saw the final image they loved it and printed a 24×36 canvas for their office wall!
Another big reason for not delivering RAW images to my client’s is the size of the file. Edited images in your gallery will range from 4MB to 12MB usually. A RAW image… they range from 25MB to 40MB! So it would take numerous USB’s or an external hard drive to deliver those unedited images to you. Here is a recent image sized at 29.6MB.
Reason #3… You can’t open the file unless you have a certain program on your computer. RAW images can’t be opened on your computer or phone like a normal JPEG image. You need Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to even view the file.
Finally, I will restate that receiving RAW images is not why you are hiring your photographer. You are hiring them because you love their work, their style, and their personality! Asking for the RAW images is like finding the baker for your wedding, falling in love with their perfectly moist cake with delicate icing roses, then telling them you only want their ingredients. They deliver the ingredients and you will bake, icing, and decorate the cake how you like. Might be a little extreme, but it gives a great comparison!
Your photographer has studied lighting, posing, and editing and is highly skilled at their profession. Leave the creativity to them and know that you are in good hands!
I hope this helped shed some light on what a RAW image is and why you don’t need them after the wedding. Some photographers will sell you their RAW images, but be prepared for a VERY high price tag! It will give a whole new meaning to sticker shock, let me tell you! If you have any questions, post below or send me a message! 🙂 Happy Planning!!!