Can I have all the RAW files from my Wedding or Session?
The short answer is no, you can't. You've probably heard of people asking if they can have the RAWs to their wedding or session, but what is a RAW file and why is it so coveted to have and why are photographers so against sharing them?
A RAW file in the most basic sense are the ingredients to your photos. When you stumbled across my page, what is it that drew you to my work? Besides the connection that you see between my couples, it probably had something to do with the warmth, bold colors, the clear skin tones, and the stunning skies! This is the final product and not at all close to what my camera sees without any editing done to it. I take the "ingredients" aka the RAW files, I put them in my editing software and I work my editing magic on them to create art that makes you feel something. Without the magic touch these photos would just be...blah.
When you ask for the RAW files from your wedding day, you might think that means you're getting more pictures than you would have if you only got the edits, and that is true! But trust me when I tell you, only giving you the best images from your day is doing you a HUGE favor. I spend hours combing through AT LEAST 5,000 photos from an eight hour wedding picking the best of the best of the best. The quality control around here is real!
What you don't see is accidental snaps of the ground, out of focus photos, photos with your eyes closed or making a crazy face. Duplicates of similar poses and moments. You don't see the test shots fired to check for lighting so I can adjust my settings. You don't see how dark the photos might be to preserve the colors in the sky and how I bring them back to life. You don't see how crouching and bending in all those crazy photographer positions sometimes produces a crooked photo that I straighten out for you.
All you see are the beautifully curated photos that allow you to relive your wedding day minute by minute. You get to see the GOOD smiles and the pure moments. I save you hours of your own time by only delivering the best images to you. I save you space on your computer or phone (can your iPhone really handle another 5,000 pictures?!).
RAW files are not a true representation of my work. When you hire a photographer, you hire them, in part, for their art. The hours that I pour into a wedding gallery with editing is the icing on the cake. It take the ingredients, I mix everything together, I bake it with love, and I give you something that we can all be proud of to display in your home or share on your social feeds.
So, no. You can't have the RAW files, but you wouldn't want them anyway.