6 Reasons Your Photographer Doesn’t Give all the RAW Photos

Have you ever had pictures taken by a professional photographer for a wedding or senior portrait and wondered why you didn’t get all of the photos they took?  Maybe you wanted to know what happened to THAT shot of you and your sister leaning against the limo.  I haven’t always been a pro photographer and WAS that bride that wondered where one particular shot went.  Years down the road, I’ve realized that the reason I didn’t get that shot was probably for one of these six reasons.

Me the Photographer

1. Someone looked like a zombie with their eyes half closed

We’ve all seen those shots, right?  Where the bride is blinking or the groom’s eyes are half closed and he looks… like one of the walking dead?  Or Dad sneezes just as you had gotten everyone situated just right and looking at the camera.  Not a great photo for your family portrait collection.  Either way… no one is going to like the picture.

Senior Photo Session

2. The Shot Wasn’t Flattering to You

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been asked, “Can you Photoshop 30 pounds off me?” or  “Can you make me look buff?”  Honest to goodness, there are some tricks that we photographers use to really flatter you and make you look awesome.  But occasionally we’ll try a pose or catch a shot that… just isn’t flattering to you.  Not that it’s your fault, it’s just that we, as the photographer tried a pose, shot at a certain angle or with a certain lens that just didn’t work the way we hoped it would.  And I can guarantee you that if you saw the shot, you wouldn’t want to keep it either.

Hilton Garden Inn East Syracuse

3. You Don’t Need (or WANT) 10 Images of the Exact Same Scene

Because of reasons mentioned above such as someone in your bridal party blinking, there is a reason why we take so many shots of the same scene.  ESPECIALLY when working with larger groups of people, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time and NOT blink.  So I call out, “Grandma!… over here!  Look right here at the camera!” Then once Grandma is looking, 2 year old Tommy puts has his hands over mom’s face and then I loose Dad and… oh you get the idea.  That is why I take so many duplicates of the same scene.  You seriously don’t want them all. Liverpool Family Photos

4. You Don’t Want to Sort Through Hundreds of Images

Have you ever been on a really epic vacation and went snap happy with your camera for a week, only to get home and groan thinking about how many photos you have to sort through now?  Did you ever actually get through them all? Think about it, you’ve not only hired your photographer to show up on your wedding day and capture pictures for 8 hours but also to sort through them all, find the good ones and weed out the bad. If you had to sort through them all, you’d get to #53 of 1,162 and you’d be SO over it… I speak from experience. Trust us as trained professionals to pick out the shots that have the right lighting, the best background, the proper exposure, the perfect pose, and the genuine emotion.  Hopefully you’ve hired your photographer because you love their work and you trust them to find you the best pictures.  If you are worried they won’t be able to do this for you, find a photographer that you are comfortable with.  

Wedding at Arrowhead Lodge

5. RAW Files are Not Practically Usable

Professional photographers shoot their photos in what’s called RAW format as opposed to JPG format.  The reason for this is that the RAW format captures and retains ALL of the information from the shot as opposed to again, a JPG that condenses the information way down.  This makes these files huge in size compared to what you’d normally find with a JPG.  Not only are RAW files huge, but standard photo programs can’t even open this file format.  Unless you download specific photo viewing programs or purchase expensive software such as Lightroom or Photoshop, you’re not even going to be able to open them.  And to convert all the files from RAW to JPG would be like renaming each Word file from a .doc to a .docx… it’s rather time consuming.  And why don’t we release unedited photos… keep on a’readin’!

Wedding Anniversary Photo

6. Your Hired a Professional Photographer to Make You Professional Looking Images

So then why would you want all the photos that don’t look professional?   If you wanted all the photos of your kids, then ask your cousin to come over and bring her DSLR camera.  She’ll give you all the pictures.   You’ve seen the blooper reels at the end of a movie or a TV show right?  Just like movie makers, photographers have their own set of bloopers… except they’re usually not as entertaining. And we’re not gonna lie… these photos are our professions, our livelihoods, our art and our reputation.  We want to make beautiful art for you and certainly don’t want to release unedited or bad photos that are tied to our name that could potentially hurt our business and our reputation.  I think if you were in our shoes, you’d do the same thing.Onondaga Creekwalk

It’s not that your photographer is trying to be difficult or nasty, we have pretty good reasons why we do what we do. I’m hoping this will spark some discussion, so leave your comments below!  When you’re done with that, hit the “Follow” button on the bottom right hand side of the screen and check out my work at www.HHawkinsPhotography.com!

H. Hawkins Photography is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Syracuse, NY who specializes in capturing candid images of genuine personalities and authentic relationships.


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