Uncurated RAW Files
If you'd like to own your original images, you can purchase your RAW files.
I'm one of the few photographers worldwide who offers RAW files.
When you purchase RAW files, you own everything. You'll never feel like you're missing out. And as editing styles change, you'll have my original classic capture—a capture that can be edited endlessly without a creative penalty.
What Is RAW
RAW files are the uncorrected data files created by modern cameras. For an analog comparison, think of RAW files as digital versions of film negatives.
If you were a writer, RAW files would be the incomplete rough draft of your article or novel. Or, if you were a painter, RAW files would be your sketches or unfinished canvases before your final artistic strokes are applied.
Most modern cameras can capture images in JPG or RAW format. Most professionals select RAW format over JPG capture because RAW image data is uncompressed.
With uncompressed RAW files, photographers can perform non-destructive editing. Non-destructive editing means that any adjustments or corrections aren't permanent and don't affect the original file properties. With JPG files, you can't revert to the original capture.
When RAW file data is manipulated using software like Adobe Photoshop, the photograph's original characteristics can be changed countless times without affecting quality.
For example, the RAW file format supports changing color, white balance, exposure, and hundreds of other settings without negatively impacting image quality. With other file formats, every modification can negatively impact image quality.
When you purchase uncurated RAW files, you'll realize several benefits including:
- you can have every photograph captured
- you'll own the original image data
- when editing fads change, you can adjust your original photos
- as software like Photoshop improves, you can improve edits
- artificial intelligence will eventually offer improved RAW processing
- you own the original digital negatives—forever
Your Complete Collection
When I deliver RAW files, I include every photograph captured—except for any images deleted in-camera. This means you receive everything. The great photos, the not so great photos, the out of focus photos, and the images you might want to forget.
These RAW photos are all your images—both selected photographs and discarded photographs.
Since I provide everything captured, I offer no warranty as to the quality or quantity of discarded photos not included in your original collection. Additionally, the collection won't include images that were deleted in-camera.
RAW photographs have a NEF, CR2, ARF, SRF, SR2, RW2, or RAF filename extension and can only be viewed and edited in special software.
Professional RAW-capable software programs include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Capture One. Free RAW file viewers and converters are also available for download; they all have varying capabilities. Some free software options include:
RAW files likely require correction and file format conversion before public display. Corrections, conversions, and technical support aren't included with your RAW file collection.
RAW file sizes are 20MB to 30MB each. RAW file collections are usually delivered on a 128GB USB flash drives.
Most professional photographers won't share RAW files. If you ask for those files, you'll probably receive stiff opposition. Their reasons are well-documented.
When we share uncurated RAW photos, some images will be unflattering, out of focus, poorly composed, have exposure issues, and some photographs will be near duplicates. Some photographers fear sharing that side of our work.
But all photographers take poor photographs. It's no great secret. If my imperfect captures are exposed, that doesn't make me less skilled. It makes me authentic. I'll be judged on my final delivered work and not on the underexposed subjects and unflattering expressions photographed along the way.
Most photographers include a selection and correction service. We pick the best photos and then adjust them using our creative vision.
Clients don’t have to slog through hundreds or thousands of imperfect photographs. They also aren't burdened by the sometimes agonizing choice of choosing one similar photo over another photo. And that's is a good thing.
But what if we reject a photo that you'd love but we didn't. It's unlikely but it happens. Unless you saw the entire uncurated RAW collection, you'd never see that photograph. And some photographers fear that if you find a rejected photo you love, you'd think the photographer somehow didn't do his or her job.
But I don't see it that way.
I'm confident that the selected and corrected photos I deliver meet my promise of excellent photography. That's why you hired me. But if you find a gem that I overlooked, I think that's great. Your discovery doesn't take away from the images I delivered or the service I provided. That just means our subjective selection preferences differ.
Some photographers fear that clients will edit and display discarded RAW photos and that those photos will reflect negatively on the photographer's brand. In other words, they fear that potential clients and fans will see that discarded photo and negatively judge that photographer's work.
But I don't think photographer brands are that fragile—or if they are that fragile, that photographer has bigger problems than RAW file release.
When we release RAW files, we also release our creative control. Many photographers feel that their photographic creativity is closely tied to their corrected, retouched, and processed images. And that's certainly true. But editing preferences are a moving target.
For example, 10 years ago my editing skills and correction preferences were night-and-day different. Although clients loved what I delivered then, software advances and skill improvements mean that if I corrected those decades-old RAW files today, the output would be different and much improved.
However, if I only had access to the JPG files I originally delivered, the quality improvements I could realize would be limited compared to what's possible with original RAW files.
Besides, clients can perform a poor edit and add unattractive filters to JPGs even more easily than the original RAW files.
Some photographers worry that clients won't come back for follow-on editing work if the client owns original RAW files.
I'd prefer that you come back because you want to come back—not because you're forced to come back. And if the value I provide isn't enough to make that happen, then I don't deserve your business.
Some photographers explain RAW file sharing limitations using false analogies. These informal fallacies unfairly support their position. But analogies are always suspect.
For example, one popular analogy observes that a chef would never sell his or her raw ingredients. Well, farmers sell their raw ingredients every day. And although a chef could presumably create a better meal with those ingredients, there's nothing wrong with you buying those same ingredients and trying your own hand in the kitchen.
Another popular example is that some photographers claim that you'd never ask a painter for his or her original sketches. But that's a false analogy too. One Leonardo da Vinci sketch was recently valued at $15.8 million. That was da Vinci's RAW file and aren't we glad we have it?