Handing over raw files or a full shoot seems to be a real taboo online. However, it is common practice within the commercial ranks for many reasons, some of which I will discuss here.
When I first started out in photography, I was incredibly protective of my work, and I would never have dreamed of handing over a raw file. I even went as far as putting nasty watermarks in the corners of my images. Over the years, I moved away from portrait work and toward a commercial career, shooting with ad agencies rather than the general public, although I stand by my original stance of not handing over raw files to anyone. There are a lot of times and reasons when and why you should with specific clients.
In this video, I talk about the times in which I will hand over final images in raw form as well as the times I shoot directly to a client’s drive for them to walk away with the images at the end of the day. It is worth noting that I am based in the UK and that I don’t have to claim the copyright on any of my images. We are awarded that at the point we hit the trigger, and handing over the raw files won’t change this in any way, likewise when it comes to re-licensing images for either a time extension or a change of purpose. If the client wants to do this, even if they have the files and re-edit them, they still have to pay me, and clients here are very upfront about this and generally contact you first before doing so.
What is your stance on the matter and do you have any protocols in place to protect yourself?