Just Give Me the Files Please. Why not?

Clients often ask if I will give them their portrait session digital files “without doing anything” to them. They just want the digital files. I’d like to show  and tell you why I don’t like to do this.

You see, as with film, (remember that?) raw digital files need processing. Digital cameras have the ability to capture images in RAW as well as JPG. “RAW” means that all the digital information exists, but the camera isn’t making decisions on finishing color.  You have to do that in post processing. ( The digital files you take to your local camera store are JPGs which get processed in camera.) My RAW files must be reviewed and adjusted for light temperature, contrast, color and sharpness before any personal creative touches are made. This is the process which makes the difference between a snapshot and a professional portrait.  

So … take a look at the example below. The image was taken at night in a room with no natural light, and a table lamp. On the LEFT is the original image.  Exposure and focus are fine, but the light temperature is very warm (yellow) and the red floor covering is too vibrant for the mood of the image.  On the RIGHT is the corrected image. Which do you like better: the Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) print, or the post processed image?

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