I've been trying to understand why handing out the RAW files to clients is a sensitive issue among professional photographers.
I've often heard explanations that compares the RAW files to film negatives and that I wouldn't hand them out. The answer to that is no I wouldn't, but that's not a fair analogy either. The main reason that I won't give someone my film negatives is that they're irreplaceable. I can't make copies of them without loosing quality, but I can make 1:1 copies of my RAW files and keep all data. All in all I don't really buy that explanation to why professional photographers don't give clients RAW files.
I wouldn't give a client RAW files either. But my reasons would be based upon things like:
- I want them to see what I had in mind to capture, not halfway through the process.
- I don't want to risk having edits made by others potentially being presented as my work to potential clients.
- I would want to keep RAW files alone to have the possibility to use it to help prove that the photos are mine in court.
- If I've happened to take a keeper that I had to heavily correct in post I wouldn't want my clients to see that. That could make me appear as a bad photographer for not nailing my settings in camera.
Among photographers there seem to be a strong consensus not to give clients RAW files, but I really want to know why. Is there an obvious reason that I've missed?
Just to be clear: This question is not about giving clients RAW files instead of JPEG, but rather RAW in addition to JPEG