Photographer - Client Dilemmas: RAW vs Finished Product

I will do my best to be very concise in this post, though I can already feel my mind's building up desire to wander and cover every possible aspect of the subject - RAW Images vs. Final Product. Occasionally I receive a very common question "Will we get the originals / raw / unedited images as well as edited ones?" My answer is always the same: No, sorry, unedited images are not available for viewing or purchase. I spend days and sometimes weeks selecting and hand editing images one at a time, making sure they all tell a beautiful and cohesive story of a client's very special day.

I made an exception once, mostly because it was the very beginning of my photographic journey. To be honest, if at the time you'd asked me to give away my kidney in exchange for a nice e-session or even a portrait shoot, I'd have likely accepted such an "attractive" offer. Desperate times call for questionable decisions. Why am I so against sharing unedited materials? Well, there are many reasons, but there are three major ones:

1. Photography be it portrait, wedding, editorial, landscape or any other genre is still a form of visual expression, art, if you will (good or bad depends on a photographer and a critic). It's extremely important to trust your photographer with this crucial final step of making an image look and feel the way it should. If you don't trust your photographer with either image selection, editing or any other aspect of the craft, then you should look further, cause you haven't found YOUR professional yet. Simply put, you don't ask your baker to relax and just give you eggs, flour and all that other jazz required for a cake. You hire a baker to get a gorgeous 3 tier royal-icing wedding cake, not eggs and a whisk. 

2. Reputation. We all work extremely hard to get our names out there, be respected and maybe even recognized (one day, WPPI, one day). What goes around comes around. If images get into the wrong hands, not only a creator's vision will get endangered, the creator's name can get associated with very low standard work done on the creator's canvas by a 3d party. Not every retoucher cares about images as much as a photographer does. Additionally, a good photograph may get unnoticed, a bad one, on the other hand, will haunt a creator till the rest of his / her days. 

3.  There are some doors that should never be opened. Plain and simple. Edited images look better, sorry, they just do. I attached a couple of samples below so you can see for yourself.

Disclaimer: these are not my photographs, they were taken from a public domain and were used by me as a part of my How-To-Edit learning process only.