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Last week I went to fine dining establishment; the prices where more than I had hoped to spend, so I asked to speak with the chef. When he came out I explained my dilemma and asked if he could just put the ingredients for the lasagna in a baggie at a discounted price. This way I could assemble it at home, saving him time and effort and saving me money.

No? Not buying it? Ok let’s try this one: Yesterday I saw some gorgeous paintings by a local artist in a store front. I immediately contacted the artist and asked if she could provide me with a canvas she had primed and started previously, for free. I mean she doesn’t have to do any extra work, she already has it, and an unfinished painting doesn’t mean anything to her but it would mean a lot to me.

Ok, neither of these scenarios actually happened and I am guessing most people think they sound a bit ridiculous. Yet photographers are frequently asked to provide unedited RAW files to clients free of charge or at a discounted rate. I am not offended when I am asked, but I do explain editing is as much a part of my job as taking the picture themselves.

When you take a picture as a jpg. you allow the camera to make some decisions for you. The camera automatically fills in some saturation levels, brightness, colors, etc. When a photographer takes a RAW image they are having the camera collect a variety information. This allows the photographer more control over the outcome. These images need to be edited. Without the photographer going back and giving the image the correct balance they look flat and unattractive. (Not to mention these files are huge and you need special software to even view them.) I want my public work to represent all of what I do. I do not want my name to be associated with an unfinished product. I want your friends and family to see the completed piece of art, not a primed canvas waiting for paint or a bag of uncooked noodles, tomatoes, and oregano leaves.

And because who doesn't love a before and after?!

We can't leave this handsome little man looking dark and grey!

This precious little one looks brighter and more delicate.

This image has a more extreme before and after because of the lighting that was available at this location. The bright background led me to choose to underexpose the foreground knowing I would be able to edit just that part of the photo later.

This Mom goes from dark and and green to the stunning, glowing mother she is.

Which images would you choose?

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