Giving clients Raws/all images from shoot

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by gordon_mcqueen, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I shot a wedding a couple of weeks ago, clients signed usual contract. About a week after the event I get an email from the father of the bride (who happens to be a photographer himself, but not a wedding photographer) requesting all the raw files from the day (i.e all 1000+). I refuse, stating that I don't give out raw files to anyone. Now he's asking if he can have all the jpegs from the day (again, the whole lot of images that I shot, not just the edited images). The clients will be receiving 360 edited jpegs on a disc, images that with my experience I have selected as the best shots from the day. Has anyone else had this issue? Am I being unreasonable in refusing to release Raws/poor images that didn't make the final edit?
     
  2. This seems to be a recurring question that comes up. You do not have to give up the raw files and you don't have to give them the out takes. On the other hand if you took 1000 plus images and all you were able to keep were 360 you may want to check your self. Your contract determines your agreement and obligation. Don't let anyone pressure you.
     
  3. Thanks for your response Michael. I think it would be daft to give clients all images, considering many of them don't turn out as well as I would like. I don't want poor quality images being seen. Regarding the number of images I take, I shoot mainly reportage style and therefore tend to overshoot a little, and then pick the images that best tell the story of the day.
     
  4. I understand you don't give bad pictures. We all do that. I don't know how many hours you shot on this job but for a normal 8 hour 360 is a little light in my personal opinion. In the end it really doesn't matter because you put in your contract and made clear to them they would receive 360 images.
     
  5. The requests are not only beyond the scope of the contract, the father is not a party to it. If you conclude that you shouldn't turn over the files, there is nothing improper about that. You might consider,for good will , throwing in some extras to the client if it is not too cumbersome to edit them.
     
  6. John's consideration is a sensible one. No consideration needs to be given at all to the FOB (unless he signed and/or paid you ;) ), although you should beware of alienating him. If he's a photog, and you tick him off, it can easily sour your relationship with the bride. - all before you've even delivered the pictures!
    While usually this kind of request comes after delivery (and the client thinks something is missing - or wants something specifically), given the timeline, my first thought is that he fears that you will ONLY provide 360 images, where as he (and I, and you) knows that there are undoubtedly more than that that are decent - In other words, he expects you to cull down to 360 images - whether there are 400, or 2000 deliverable, decent, ones- and that the rest will reside on your HDD unseen and unappreciated - until you delete them in a distant future.
    Personally, I address this fear (and I've seen it before) by not limiting myself to a specific number of deliverable images. I look at every single exposure, exporting every single one that meets my standards - regardless of the number of images I've already set aside. Yes, my contract does state a specific number - a minimum - and I've never failed to deliver in excess of that number. This is something I explain to the clients - which mitigates that fear. I wouldn't say 'you'll get 360 images', I would say "You'll receive at least 360 images!"
    I think the most I delivered was ~900 on a contract for 450+ ... yes, it took longer - but that Bride was darn near apoplectic- I shot every single one of her single bridesmaids weddings over the next 3 years...
     
  7. "the father is not a party to it."
    ...or is he?
     
  8. Numbers are irrelevant unless major parts of the day/important people are missing. I took a seminar with Jerry Ghionis yesterday and he delivers around 600 for the whole day. So there's that.
    I would politely explain that you a) don't hand out raw files b) don't discuss terms of your contract with anybody but the bride/groom and c) find out WHY he wants the files so you can address whatever concerns he might have. I've never given anybody raw files nor any file ever taken.
     
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Has anyone else had this issue?​
    Yes.
    Am I being unreasonable in refusing to release Raws/poor images that didn't make the final edit?​
    No not unreasonable, but maybe it is not the best business choice depending upon:
    a) who the “client(s)” is/are
    b) what a “usual contract” comprises.
    What I mean is, it occurs to me that the forum is generally assuming that the B&G (individually or collectively) are ‘The Client’ and a second general assumption is that your ‘usual contract’ is water-tight apropos the area of what you are obliged and not obliged to provide to the Client.
    ***
    However, if all the contractual skittles are in a row and well ordered, from a business perspective understanding WHY the Dad wants these files would be a good idea. And then (and I am assuming I understand John's general line of thought) a gift or bonus of some selected files for him to edit according to his own vision, might be a very good choice for you to make.
    For one (extreme) example, the Photographer that photographed our Wedding just gave ALL the negatives (including the outtakes) to me after we had purchased the wedding album and extra prints from him: I was quite chuffed at that level of professional courtesy and made it a goal of mine to ensure that he benefited whenever I could assist him or recommend him in any manner. But this Photographer was a known working colleague to me, so I am not suggesting that you have the same relationship with this FOB and I am certainly not suggesting that you hand over every file to him – mine is just an example of a professional courtesy that was extended to me and how I reacted to it.
    WW
     
  10. Thanks for all the comments guys. It's probably also worth mentioning that the FOB had his assistant taking pictures throughout the day as well, even in the bride's bedroom shooting the preparations (despite my contract stating I will be the sole photographer). So the FOB presumably has all of her images on top of the ones I'm supplying. And all of the requests for all my images are coming through this assistant, not directly from the father. In response, Katrin, to why he wants them, apparently it's 'for nostalgic reasons'. But then every FOB could start asking for this. I've tried explaining that it's up to me to use my judgement in selecting the best images, I've also explained that any such request should have been discussed with me before signing a contract. Interestingly I've had no contact from the bride and groom i.e the clients, the people who signed the contract. Touching on number of images again, I was only hired to shoot till the groups and bride and groom portraits. I stayed to shoot the speeches as well just to go the extra mile for the customer and supply some extra images, so was there till about 5pm. So I felt that 360 images was a fair amount, although I don't actually specify an exact amount to the client as it varies at each wedding.
     
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It's probably also worth mentioning that the FOB had his assistant taking pictures throughout the day as well… And all of the requests for all my images are coming through this assistant, not directly from the father.

    Yes, all those points are worth mentioning.
    Especially the bolded section, because that is different to what was first stated.
    Considering both the additional and also the corrected information, I think that it is probably best to just fulfil the terms of your contract in the most professional manner possible.
    WW
     
  12. I refuse... ...Now he's asking... the FOB had his assistant taking pictures throughout the day... ...despite my contract stating I will be the sole photographer... ...the FOB presumably has all of her images on top of the ones I'm supplying... ...I've tried explaining... ...I've also explained...
    I agree with William and add that its probably time to indicate, as much as professional courtesy and respect allows, that there will be no deviations from the contract -and- that further discussion on the issue will not be entertained. Otherwise, there will be more requests and explanations.
     
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "-and- that further discussion on the issue will not be entertained."​
    +1
     
  14. Not mentioned yet is the fact that the FOB, who is a photographer, wants to insert himself ( or assistant ) into the situation. As a photographer, he should be aware of how things work. What he is asking is unprofessional. I know this would not happen, but Graham should ask the FOB to reverse roles. The FOB has instigated the problem, perhaps because he thinks he is entitled to some kind of courtesy, one which, should most photographers oblige, would be a terrible precedent. By asking for carte blanche, he poisoned the well; his problem.
     
  15. I have to take a set back. What does your contract say? Who signed it? Were you aware at the signing
    of the contract that there would be other pro's taking photo's? What does your contract say about giving
    out the jpeg's and/or the raw images?

    I have a pretty darn good contract, written by an attorney.

    If the father didn't sign the contract, if there is something written in your contract about not giving out the
    images, well I wouldn't give the father, the assistant, or anyone YOUR copyrighted images. These
    belong to you.

    Can I ask why you only gave them 350 plus images out of 1000 plus images taken? The good to bad
    image ratio is a bit off in my opinion. If I took 1000 images I would say that 970 images or so are
    acceptable to give to the couples. Did you have some camera troubles?

    Maybe this is why they want all of your images? I don't know if there is more to this story.
     
  16. I agree with John H and William. I might also comment that these images belong to you and then the bride. Giving them to someone's assistant without the knowledge and permission of the B & G might not be see as entirely ethical.
    That said. I think 360 images are just fine out of 1000. A photographer should only release his/her best work if at all possible so the question is far more than are they in focus and contain people.
    Bob. So you are saying that when you shoot a wedding that only 30 of 1000 photos are up to your professional standards? May I suggest that you are setting the bar far to low? Seriously. 1000 shots and all of them are well lighted, perfect exposures, have excellent composition, no closed eyes, no wardrobe malfunctions, no odd reflections, no redeye, no...... I want to learn from you. I have never been that good. And I don't know anyone else who is.
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, hope you don't mind me throwing out a wild possibility: if the FOB's assistant also took pictures at the wedding and the request is now coming from her, maybe she missed some (important) images and now would like to use yours to make up for the deficit.
    Just a thought.
    I agree with the others that your responsibility is with those who signed the contract with you, which are apparently the bride and groom in this case, not the FOB and certainly not his assistant.
     
  18. Interesting point Shun. I do have my suspicions about about the assistant. She didn't seem to be all that sure about what she was doing on the day, for example, asking me advice on what settings to use on her camera! My post seems to have led to a fair bit of discussion about the number of images being given to the clients. For me as a reportage style photographer who takes very few posed images I usually shoot several frames of each event, moment, detail, group of people etc etc resulting in say 5 or 6 very similar images, only slightly different in composition, expression, sharpness and so on. I then pick the best image from this series and discard the rest as I don't want to give the client 5 shots that are virtually the same. This is how I end up only selecting about 25% of the total shots taken. I know every photographer works differently and this may seem like overshooting but I shoot like this to capture 'the moment'.
     
  19. At a minimum, I would try to put the question off until after delivery. As I said, a soured parent is going to do you no favors, as, while you may not be talking to the clients regularly, they may be. I've walked this road before, and only the quality of the final product kept me out of the fire - all because I responded 'professionally' (IMO) to an MOB who requested the same thing weeks before delivery. As to an assistant!?! Well, I wouldn't care to guess what the motivation is, though I would say it's a likeliehood of at least 50% that the assistant is acting on behalf of the FOB.
    Don't overthink (or over defend) your response. It's simple. You don't deliver every exposure (for numerous reasons), and you wouldn't deliver to anyone other than the client anyway - especially before the client has even seen their imagery! Any alternatives would have to be discussed with the client after delivery. These are your professional standards. Thank you for asking, but the answer is no.
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You don't deliver every exposure (for numerous reasons), and you wouldn't deliver to anyone other than the client anyway - especially before the client has even seen their imagery! Any alternatives would have to be discussed with the client after delivery. These are your professional standards.​
    Very well said.
     
  21. Rick M. wrote "Bob. So you are saying that when you shoot a wedding that only 30 of 1000 photos are up
    to your professional standards? May I suggest that you are setting the bar far to low? Seriously. 1000 shots
    and all of them are well lighted, perfect exposures, have excellent composition, no closed eyes, no
    wardrobe malfunctions, no odd reflections, no redeye, no...... I want to learn from you. I have never been
    that good. And I don't know anyone else who is."

    Rich, I don't reject very many photo's. Feel free in emailing me if you are interested in more information.
    Thanks - bob
     
  22. Wow that's a tough situation..I don't envy you at all. Word of mouth is so important in this industry so treading carefully is essential..it sounds like you're handling yourself well. I have to say that I agree with Marcus Ian. The 'under promise, over deliver' motto always makes clients ecstatic but that's more for future weddings. Do you have an extra 100 or so just to placate him? Images that still look quite nice?
    I have to admit, one of the reasons why I became a wedding photographer was because of what happened at my own wedding. I'm a graphic designer as well. My wedding photographer sent me the DVD of images that I paid for and she had a lot of noise in them, plus added sepia toning to images I wanted in colour. I told her I was going to be creating my photo book and would like to obtain the RAW images..she refused (which many photographers will agree was correct); however I signed a contract that stated I owned the 'negatives', which today are RAW images..so she was in the wrong..anyway the frustration of not being able to fix the images properly as she didn't have the skill (great photographer but beyond that, not very strong post processing skills), I vowed I would never treat a client in that fashion. If a client wants the RAW photos, I'll hand them over..it's highly unlikely they'll be sold to a magazine. Only the bride really finds true joy in viewing them ultimately. If a client asks it's because they're a designer or dabble in designing and would like to apply their own effects..which is fine by me if that makes them happy. If you consistently shoot images that need a lot of work..then maybe that's a bad idea as it reflects poorly on your skills so you have to make sure subject matter is in focus and lighting is correct.
     
  23. I for one welcome the sell of only RAW images ---- When film was leaving the market > I use to shoot weddings & hand the unprocessed rolls at the end of the event. If the B&G are really on a budget - it works for me. Hand them the cards right from my camera ... hope they have some skill in CS with the images.
     

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