Raw Files

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jmaphotography, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. My clients want me to submit raw files for the work I did for them, for which I have no problem. I want to improve exposure, temperature etc., as I had to shoot a 1DS3 and 1D2 without a flash and in quite dark conditions.
    How can I adjust images either in DPP or Photoshop CS4 and burn them to disk. I was under the impression that raw files, whether with Photoshop or DPP were non destructive/permanent when manipulated.
    Once adjustments have been made to raw files, can they be saved and burnt to CD?
    Please advise. Thanks - John
  2. No. You can't write Canon RAW files (at least not with any Canon software or Photoshop).
    There's also no point in changing the RAW file (except perhaps to fool the client). You can't "improve" the original RAW data.
  3. John,
    Your best bet would be to use CameraRaw to do all your manipulations and then include the sidecar .XMP file alongside the original RAW file. It’s essentially a recording of the actions you performed. If present, CameraRaw will open the RAW file with those actions already applied.
  4. The only way you could kind of do it would be to correct in ACW and then convert to DNG with the original raw included. In this way, if they opened in ACW, the files would look like how you worked them.
    Problem with the raw, which you could send along with sidecar files with the updates, is that if they open the files in a different software than you used, the sidecars wont read.
  5. You can't change the image data in RAW files, but you can use DPP to change the current settings used with them, so that if they are re-opened in DPP then the current rather than the original settings will be used. This does not lose the original settings, to which it is always possible to revert. Other software packages may or may not take any notice of the settings used in DPP, probably not. As John suggests, conversion to DNG is one possible way to go. Conversion to a 16-bit TIFF file is another.
  6. Does the client want the camera Raw file, or the "unedited" photo. I might be splitting hairs, but most clients don't know a Raw file from a Tiff. I have had clients tell me all the time the have the "raw" file from the camera when what they have is a JPEG created by the camera. So I would confirm exactly what the client wants. If they just want an unedited file, then I would create Tiffs (which means doing any exposure/color enhancements) and give them that. Personally, I would never give out the Raw file.
  7. John, just out of curiosity, why would you not give out the camera's raw file?
  8. If you give out a RAW file you have no control over what parameters someone uses to open it (or which RAW converter they use), so you have no control of how the image looks. Of course a client could also manipulate a JPEG, but they have to manipulate a RAW file. By default most RAW converters will use the camera settings to do that manipulation, but of course they can be easily changed.
  9. Yes, I understand that. That should be a given when giving out the raw file that it needs to be manipulated. Is that the sole reason? I am asking since I am not able to understand the implication that the person who receives the raw does not understand what it entails (since he is actually asking for, I presume he knows what it is and the variables involved). Or, putting it conversely, if a person asks for a raw file while understanding what it is, is there is a reason not to give it to him?
  10. They want to check they are genuine and not manipulated? I agree with John who thinks they may not know what they are asking for.
  11. Usually those who want a RAW file are checking that the image hasn't been manipulated. So, for example, some photo contests might require them, or possibly some News organizations. It could also be a client who thinks they know more about how to optimize an image than the photographer does. A RAW file isn't a 100% guarantee that no manipulation has been done, but it's probably a 99.9% guarantee. It's theoretically possible to fake a RAW file since the details of most RAW formats can be found, but it would be a lot of work and I don't know how well it would stand up to expert analysis. Decolvolution of a RAW file into a JPEG is well documented, but the reverse convolution of a modified JPEG into a RAW format including converting regular color into a simulated Bayer color matirx may not be so easy to do in a manner that would stand up to scrutiny.
    I don't think there's any fundamental reason why giving out a RAW shot is a problem, assuming that's really what the client wants, as long as the photographer accepts that the client's interpretation of the RAW file may differ from their own.
  12. I see that the resistance to giving out the raw file from cameras is predicated on the assumption that the receiver of the files does not know what he is doing. This is quite a liberal assumption. I am not sure how one would even try to justify it being universally true.
    Since no other reason has been mentioned, let us for the moment assume that the one given is true. In that case, one should have no problem in giving out the raw file if the person receiving makes clear that he understands what a raw files means, should one?
    Robin, regarding the point about being genuine or not, I hadn't thought about it. But you might have mentioned another reason one may demand a raw file. The question you posed raises another query in my mind. Why would they not want to make sure the jpegs are 'genuine' (of course they are manipulated, but I am sure we understand what that means here).
  13. When you edit a raw file with DPP, it asks, "would you like to save the changes?". I don't know WHERE it saves the changes. I had assumed it was in the actual file, but I could be wrong. The next time you open the file in DPP, your changes are still visible. I don't think these changes are visible to other raw converters. But if your customer also has DPP, you can give him your raw files and they will appear to him as you have edited them.
  14. They are saved in the file, but separate from the original RAW data (which is not changed). As far as I know only DPP uses this saved information when doing the RAW conversion.
    A client is FAR more likely to be using Photoshop than Canon's DPP software.
  15. One of the reasons most photographers don't give out raw files is that they understand that a raw is only the start of the process. When you have a style and look to your work, it is your work you want delivered and in many cases kept as is. I don't expect a client to manipulate my images in any way, except as needed to fit a layout or, in some cases, retouch out some object that they need removed or add something they might need to--like a logo. I want my images out there the way I want them, not the way some retoucher, with no vested interest in the outcome, wants them or have them put their style on my work--unless it is something agreed upon when we start the project.
    The reality is that I have 3 RAW processors that I use and in most cases the output they spit out as a default image is different for each--sometimes all 3 are radically different. So, what is what the camera shot?
  16. John A, you have explained your reasoning quite nicely. Basically, you want to fix the output jpeg and not let anyone else play with it. Fair enough. I suppose if somebody wanted raw files nevertheless, you constraints would be made clear to him in advance so he may consider them carefully.
    You mentioned it being one of the reasons. I am curious about the others too that you may have.
  17. Being a trusting soul I might imagine that the client want to ensure that he get the best quality from the picture by extracting from the RAW file himself. But I do side with the argument that the client would not know what to do with a RAW file - using buzz words are cheap nowadays...
  18. since he is actually asking for, I presume he knows what it is and the variables involved​
    This is really funny. I've been noticing lately, in wedding blogs advising brides-to-be, that the in-vogue advice is to demand raw pictures, raw prints, or raw files from the photographer, in some language or another. This is insurance against the photographer being a complete incompetant, so the client can always take the photographer's work elsewhere for post-processing in the event of a disaster.
    The result this has, however, is that it is arming lots of otherwise ignorant people with the conceit of knowledge when they really don't know what they are talking about or asking for, and they wouldn't know what to do with a real RAW file once they got it, anyway.
    The truth of the matter is that unless you are being paid by the HOUR to shoot RAW files for someone else, and have no ownership of those files, then the RAW files do not represent your final deliverable product. The RAW files are only 1 step in your workflow toward creating a deliverable product. Asking for the RAW files is like asking an author for his first rough draft, or a painter for his original pencil sketch.
    You don't even have to have RAW files at all. There's no law saying that you can't just shoot in JPG all day long. So when some smarty pants comes and asks you for RAW files, you can say, "I don't use RAW files." And that's the honest truth. There's also no law saying you have to shoot with a 24MP camera. You can use a 12MP camera, or you could use a 24MP and down-sample all your work to 12MP for all anyone knows. If you're creating an album of 5x7's for someone, there's no reason your final deliverable digital files shouldn't be 3MP to match the resolution of your prints.
    All I'm saying is it's noone's business but your own. Asking a photographer for his RAW files is like asking a chef for his recipes. It's just not done, unless the photographer is working for you for hire specifically to generate RAW files as a final deliverable.
  19. HS, as I said, what I explained is one of the reasons "photographers" not that I have more than one reason! For me, the way an image is supposed to look is reason enough.
    I will say though that many clients you think should know about this don't. The client that asked for raw files was a major sports magazine. She was gushing over some work I had done and then said they wanted raw and jpegs of every image. I told her I don't do that and that my images look the way they do because of what I do to them in post--there was a long pause, then a "Really?" I guess they are so used to dealing with "event" images that they didn't realize the difference when you want an artistic image. On a job I really didn't care about, the art director wouldn't take the raw files, he had worked with me before and knew the difference. And I would say that that is generally more the case, when someone is sought out to do a job, rarely does an art director want raw files, they want your work-however you deliver or shoot it (film or digital).
    And also, to be clear, I rarely provide jpegs to anyone. I always deliver PS files, never even Tiffs.
  20. Hal, from your reply I gather that it really amounts to money and control over it. But a few of your points are concerning. First, I don't think it is a photographers business to worry about whether people are "arming" themselves with the raw files. It has no relevance, it is just own private business how feel about the raw files! If you were to declare before hand you won't give out raw files (after all, it is your prerogative), but it is quite a stretch not liking people getting conceited by having the raw files! Second, your points about laws regarding resolutions and formats is just a straw man and does not really add anything to the justification. Third, raw files cannot be compared to recipes. One can argue that they may be comparable to raw ingredients, but it would be a chore to defend that even. If you had argued the exact work to produce the output jpeg is your recipe, then perhaps it would been worth arguing. But I would rather leave cooking out it, otherwise we would be comparing apples to oranges.
    In any case, your last sentence is just what makes sense. I have this nagging feeling that most have this in their minds but don't want to admit it.
    Arguments regarding the appearance of the final product have been thrown around. But a jpeg can also be modified to look worse in appearance than what a photographer gives out. I don't see how that is any different than modifying the raw. Granted that the scope of modifications is reduced, but it is sufficient to destroy the quality of the output as perceived by the photographer. Hence that reasoning also does not hold water really.
    Last point, given your last line, I would assume it entails less work if the job is to shoot and just give the raw files and , consequently, less money to be made?
  21. John A, thanks for sharing the experience. I am a bit surprised you give out PS files. Tifs are common, but I didn't know photography profession had use for PS format for images. I am not a professional photographer so I do not know. PS files are mostly used in printing industry, and even there I was under the impression that bmp and tif are most used format for images.
  22. I always back up my RAW files before editing (I used to back up to CD but prefer external hard drives).
    I was a second photographer at a wedding last year and was asked for the original RAW files. When I told the bride (whom I knew well) that she wouldn't be able to view them on her PC, nor could they be printed by a lab, she realised that it wasn't quite the same as giving a set of negatives...
    She ended up with JPEGs
  23. HS, in commercial work everyone you deal with uses Photoshop, so a file in PSD format is not a big deal. Most agencies go through the process of converting them to CMYK before they send them out--in their production departments--and use photoshop to do the conversion. So, they need to resave them in whatever format the printer, magazine or ? needs anyway. My reason for sending PS files is just that they are generally smaller than a Tiff and I never use the Tiff format in my own workflow so don't even think in those terms--although one of the RAW converters I use spits out the file as a Tiff--which I open and then toss. In fact, the only photographers I have ever heard say that they gave Tiff's were those that mostly did retail work but occasionally sold stock images commercially.
    As to the other discussion, I don't know why files, jpeg, raw or whatever, are given out in any case by wedding photographers and other retail shooters. I think it must have started as a way to avoid any extra work when folks did low cost weddings--one where there was no expectation of making anything off print sales in any case. I always find myself scratching my head with what photographers do to themselves and know a few wedding photographers whose standard of living dropped when they started giving out files instead of print albums and such. I guess the stupidity just seeps from the bottom to the top!
    With the advent of model mayhem and the like, I have wonder what has happened to the Senior Portrait business. I had an assistant that gave CD's, full res of everything he shot to the model and just wondered if the attractive, and some not so, girls and guys had not figured out that they could same hundreds of dollars just signing up on the modeling sites and have 15 different photographers shoot them for free!
  24. John A, by PS I was understanding Postscript. Sorry, my bad. I now see that you meant Photoshop. Postscript files are more or less the norm in printing industry (perhaps now PDFs are gaining popularity).
  25. 'As to the other discussion, I don't know why files, jpeg, raw or whatever, are given out in any case by wedding photographers and other retail shooters.'
    Perhaps because (like it or not) this is 2010, and the product many customers want to buy is not an album of archival prints, but a (suitably licensed) set of files that can be emailed, blogged, set as desktop images, displayed on their phones, or cycled through on a digital photo frame, just like all the other important images in their lives?
  26. Richard, certainly you can see the difference in providing someone with a small low res file and everything shot on a CD in hi-res(a relative term!) Anyway, there is a difference in being with the times and giving your business away!
  27. I have two reasons for not giving out the Raw file. One, it is only a step towards my final product. Depending on many variables I may be shooting knowing I need to open up the shadows or recover some highlights. Quite often I move my black point, but in any case I am shooting knowing this so the Raw file isn't my final vision. The second reason is that the Raw file represents ownership, no one else has that file or can produce that file. The best another party could do is present a version of the file. If I have the Raw, I have proof of ownership. Now if I was hired under the condition that I shoot Raw and turn over the files to some sort of director of photography and we were clear on the terms, then I wouldn't have any problems handing over the Raw files.
  28. John,
    The client wants Raw files--For us and we do a lot of it, the reason they want Raw files is that it is easy to prove if there was editing done to the capture image. This is very important to them in court cases. If they only want a hard file instead of the loose file or they want more than 8 bit,ask if any other file types such as tiff can be used.
  29. 'Richard, certainly you can see the difference in providing someone with a small low res file and everything shot on a CD in hi-res(a relative term!) Anyway, there is a difference in being with the times and giving your business away!'
    I certainly wouldn't expect this to be given away, I'd expect to pay a fair price for a (non-commercial) licence to reproduce the images for personal use. If I were a retail/wedding photographer (easier said than done, I know!), I'd have a pricing structure that made the value of licenced high-res images clear (e.g., listed as an optional extra). If I were a potential customer and such images weren't available from the photographer on any terms, then I'm afraid I'd look elsewhere. A little while ago, some record companies were selling music on modified CDs that were intended to prevent copying of the 'full resolution' tracks, with some low-bitrate DRM'd files provided on the disk for (restricted) use on media players. I avoided them for much the same reason.

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