FAQ: Why Our Client’s Don’t Get The Raw Files

At least once a month, we’ll receive an inquiry that will sound something like this:

Hi Ben,

We really love your work. But we’re wondering if your packages include the raw files. We’re [graphic designers/photographers/creative people], and we’d like to process the images ourselves. We have all the necessary programs to do this, so if you could give us ALL the images from your day, that would be great too. Is this something we can do?


Graphic Designer/Photographer/Creative Person

Asking for raw beef patties from a burger place is like asking for raw files from your photographer!

Now imagine going into your local McDonalds and asking for two raw beef patties, a whole head of lettuce, and two slices of bread. Doesn’t make sense, does it? That’s because it’s not what they do. They sell fully cooked burgers, millions and millions of them, in fact. Now let’s say you found a burger restaurant that did sell you those two raw beef patties, would it make sense to then ask for the cow? Probably not :).

It’s a bit unorthodox for customers/clients/patrons to purchase something up the supply/production chain simply because they have the ability to produce a certain good/service themselves. By this logic, Morimoto would never dine at any sushi restaurant other than his own. This would also imply that Martha Stewart never buys finished window curtains either. While neither of these postulations are likely true, we can probably assume that these folks go out and buy stuff anyway – simply because they can appreciate it when someone else does it for them. Just because I’m a pretty good cheeseburger chef doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t go out to enjoy a Big Mac, does it?

To be fair, there are probably steak restaurants that would happily sell you a 32 oz. raw slab of steak, just as there are probably wedding photographers who would be willing to put together shoot-to-burn packages for you. We just don’t happen to be one of them. But that’s the beauty of any marketplace. You’re not obligated to buy anything you don’t want, and the sellers aren’t obligated to sell you something they don’t offer.

When our clients inquire about our services, we whole-heartedly believe it’s because they enjoy our work. They’ve viewed our portfolio, done their due diligence and may have even reasonably concluded that we’re pretty nice people to work with. Quite simply, if it’s our style of work that they’re looking for, then it’s our style of work they’re going to get – nothing less, and possibly a whole lot more. They are receiving a premium product with premium service because in the end, they are most certainly paying a premium for it.

There are a laundry list of reasons why our clients don’t get raw images, least of which have anything to do with their ability to process the images themselves. We spend many, many hours culling and perfecting our images to maintain some sense of consistency for our brand. We take pride in this part of our work, and it’s one that we find most rewarding. While we realize we could probably shave off a considerable portion of our workload and spend more time with our families, we owe a certain obligation to our clients to produce the kind of work they see in our portfolio. Any deviations from our usual workflow could potentially have negative impact on our final deliveries. We never took any shortcuts to get to where we are today, and we most certainly don’t plan an taking any shortcuts anytime soon either.

And quite honestly, we’re 100% confident that all of our clients, present and new, can appreciate that.

If you guys have any questions you’d like to ask us, please feel free to leave us a message below or send us an email at ben@benlauphotography.com.

Here’s to more burger and sushi (our two fave foods!) posts in the future :).

Ben & Karis


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Northern NJ, NYC documentary Wedding Photographer, Educator & All-Around Nice Guy

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