Why Photographers Don’t Share their RAW Images?

A very common question from clients to photographers is “Can I have the RAW Images from a shoot”. The answer will mostly be “no” and here’s why in simple terms.


A RAW file is a format that most professional photographers shoot in as it gives more editing capability.    Basically it is the unprocessed data of the image information from camera, without processing and compressing.  It allows the Photographer to be able to correct slight flaws in the image such as exposure, texture, contrast, colour etc without diminishing the quality of the image. Usually when a photographer shoots an image, they already have in their mind the editing that will take place in Photoshop post shoot.  For this reason, to an inexperienced eye, a Raw image may look less attractive.  Raw format images need to be converted to JPEG and other image formats prior to printing and sharing as these formats are more convenient and user friendly, plus the fact that many devices to not have the capability to read a RAW file without specific software.  The quality of a JPEG file generated from RAW format is much better than the one directly shot in JPEG.  Generally Photographers do not share their RAW images.  It would be like asking an artist to give away an unfinished piece of work.

In any case, you can edit the JPEG files, but just be aware it is not going to be as good as an edit on the RAW so I suggest if there is something specific, you are better off going back to the photographer and asking them to complete the edit for you.  I would’t recommend converting the Jpeg images back to photoshop images as they have already been compressed, so you cannot “uncompress”.

Following are some examples of the RAW image straight out of the camera on the left, with the edited image on the right. Obviously, a photographer will try and get as much “right” in camera, but there are always slight tweaks that you can make to further improve an image to your liking post shoot in Photoshop or Lightroom

The first image is an indoor studio shoot.

As you can see, there are only slight differences between the two images, however there was a bit of time taken to complete the edit. The background colour was corrected, the hair was brightened, the whites in the eyes enhanced as well as the teeth, lips, and eye colour. Finally the skin tone was softened.

The following image was shot about 30 minutes prior to sunset at the beach with soft, low light.

Again, very similar edit to the image above. It took probably 10-15 minutes on the edit, and even though only slight, it does brighten up the image

Finally, a much faster edit is landscape photography, but as you will see in the following example, the differences are a lot more dramatic. I have overdone the edit on the colour balance in the sky just to demonstrate the difference that it can make. At the end of the day, it is the personal preference of the photographer as to what temperature to set the colour and how far to push the edit. This is also another reason that a Photographer will not share their RAW images. The edit styles on an image can be quite varying and dramatic, depending on the Photographer’s personal style. Therefore, if a Photographer shares their RAW image and it is edited in a way that does not reflect the Photographers brand, it can be damaging to the Photographer as the image is still technically theirs.

In this image, I have obviously changed the temperature to a warmer colour to bring out the oranges and yellow. Using a graduated filter have corrected the sky. Also I have adjusted highlights, colour, shadows, texture and saturation on the image.

Tricks to Taking the Perfect Reflection Photo

I am often asked my favourite style of photography, and it’s a hard questions, because I love taking photos of anything, anywhere. Capturing a moment in time through my eyes and my perception. It gives me a little thrill!

However, if you look at my social media, where the pics are more what I like to photograph, rather than what I am paid to photograph, I tend to favour reflection type shots. Ok, I’ll admit, I am a self obsessed reflection junkie. And judging by the reaction when I post one, many other people are too.

You may think that they are difficult, but honestly, it’s not rocket science. But there are a few tips and tricks.

It’s all about the light the winds – and if you are shooting for a water reflection at the beach, it’s also about the tides.

Firstly, the light. The best reflection shot is in low light and usually with a bit of cloud around to add to the reflection, but as you can see from my examples, it’s not imperative.

The weather must be calm. You are never going to get a good reflection shot in strong winds. Basically, the reflection is in the water, and so the water must be calm, which means the wind must be calm to allow this – simple right. Get a good app and check the conditions before you head out.

If you’re shooting at the beach, you want the refection from the the water in the sand. This is best on an incoming tide where you will get the water streaming up the beach and leaving a nice glossy reflection in the sand for a few seconds as it recedes back.

Once you have your perfect shot you’re happy with, there’s a couple of editing tips for reflections too. Firstly, play with the highlights. I usually bring them down a fair way. And the new texture tool on Lightroom will give you good detail in your shot, just don’t push it too far. I sometimes pull the clarity down just a touch to offset the texture so it’s a softer image, but have a play and see what you think.

Finally, be prepared that you may not get your shot the first time. I post a pic and its easy to think I just dashed out, took a quick snap and presto, its a perfect reflection. Sometimes it will take me 5, 10 even 20 trips out to get the shot (and more importantly the conditions) right so don’t give up, it’s definitely worth it once you nail that perfect reflection shot.

For more ideas, go to either my Instagram or Facebook pages @Jules Ingall and of course, as always feel free to comment or DM me with any questions at all.

Happy Shooting