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Its not crazy for clients to ask for Rights, RAWs etc, its not.

Mike Bradley - Video Rig

Far too often I hear and read about posts, such as, why you should not give away your RAW files, or how you are an artist, and you you dont want your artistic freedom.... sorry, I cant even finish this sentence.


Look, this is a business. If this is your hobby, then do what your comfortable with and move on.


For those that treat this as a business, take it seriously.
Now I am not telling you to give away your rights, I am not saying give away your RAW files, I am saying, this is a business, treat it like one.


Ok, so what do I mean its a business?
You are for hire, you negotiate whats services you are going to offer as well as the terms. You agree, and you move on.

So how does this play into turning over the RAW files? Simple, if a client wants 100% rights, RAW files, etc.. Not a problem, but I am going to charge a fee for this. Just because you are the photographer, doesn't mean you own everything.


Here is an example, I worked for a company that had a house photographer, he was paid a weekly salary, his job was to shoot cars that the company had. He was then to process (convert RAW to final image) the images, and create content. However, he does not own one bit of any of the work he did. All work, photos, belong to the company. -- Nothing wrong with this.


Here is another example, me, I was hired to do a private photo shoot for a fashion designer, I was paid very well, and it was agreed upon that I was to turn over all images (RAW) and I was also to post process the best of each dress. It was agreed that I had no rights, and I could use a photo for my portfolio, after the public release of the images, and only with permission. All agreed upon before I ever shot one pic.


Want another example, I even do some cinematography work here and there, and I was hired to shoot part of a Korean remake of "American Pie". Would you expect me to own all rights to the cinematography work I did? No.


Lets look at it this way, does the camera operator of the movie "Titanic" own any of the shots he did? What about the still photographer who works for Universal Pictures, does he own the still during production shooting? No


Now it may look like I am telling you that you have to give it all away. You don't, you can maintain your artistic control, maintain your rights, do what ever you want. But stop thinking its crazy for people to ask for rights, RAWs etc, its not.


Back to business. If I am at a public event shooting, I own 100% of everything I shoot, until I decide what and how I will sell my work. If I shoot for a fashion designer, we work out pay / deliverables ahead of time.


Its your business, not your hobby, treat it that way. Stop complaining, and have your contracts ready before you shoot. If you don't want to turn over your RAW files for a $1,200 1/2 day shoot, then don't. Or simple say if they want all rights, sell it to them, don't give it away.

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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