Raw vs. Final Edit

Every once in awhile, I get asked if I can deliver the Raw images to a client. To put it simply, my answer will always be no. Yet, this simple answer cannot adequately explain why I have chosen to do this. Yes, I am a photographer and yes my job is to take pictures. However, I actually do so much more than that.

My job is to create an experience. I capture moments and convey feelings. Whether it is a portrait session or someone's wedding my job is to make my clients look and feel their best. To my clients: Believe me when I say that your photographs matter as much to me, as much as they do to you. You deserve the best experience and the best images I can provide. Believe me when I say that I am going to deliver all of the important images. Furthermore that I will use my best judgement in the selection of your images and I will never chose anything where it looks like your pooping, or where you have lettuce in your teeth. Then after I have selected the best images, I will edit naturally and I will never make you look fake. I will only enhance photographs so that you get the images you deserve. Culling, Editing and Photoshop are all part of this artistic process.

Below is the same image. The first is the RAW image straight off my camera. The second is what I delivered to my client. The next few paragraphs will walk you through how I work as a photographer and give you an in-depth perspective of my process.

Like most wedding days, we were running a little behind schedule and I had far too many photographs to shoot and not enough daylight left. In the best interest of effective time management, I sent my second shooter off to photograph some detail shots. I had no one available to help me hold a reflector and off camera flash was not the look I wanted for this Bohemian bride. This image was shot with Natural light only. Knowing that I could achieve the look I wanted in my post process. The RAW image is far too dark, has unflattering shadows and the bride was standing in such a way that was not the best representation of her body.

After some adjustments in lighting, a few minor changes to this brides posture and a tiny bit of smoothing to her skin. I was able to produce this image.

10 minutes of my love and attention in post process allowed me to convey how this bride actually looked on her wedding day. More importantly, the minor adjustments conveyed how she was feeling. The final product is an image that represents my brand well and it is an image that my clients would prefer to have. When everything works in my favor, I can produce a perfect image "in camera". However, when they don't my clients can expect that I will deliver a consistent and stunning product.