I am often asked this question – do you give the source code? At first I never did this, but then I decided: the client wants it – let the client pay for it, and introduced an additional service. Any of my clients can get the original photos for an additional 20% of the cost of the photo session. They ask often, but rarely take it, and they wonder why I don’t do it for free. There is a lot of talk about this on the Internet, many different reasons are called, but I want to tell you about my personal point of view.
So why don’t I like to give away the source? I don’t like it, even for a surcharge – I still don’t like it. There are several reasons.
The first, perhaps the most important reason is that I don’t want to spoil the impression of my photos. There can be a lot of different flaws on the source files – a littered horizon, and face shine, and glare, and underexposure, wrong white balance, and a whole bunch of all sorts of others. And if the client sees these photos, especially before receiving the processed version, I risk getting some portion of the negative.
The second reason: not everyone correctly imagines what source codes are. Many people think that these are the same photos, just before Photoshop processing. But this is not entirely true – I, like almost all professional photographers, shoot in RAW format, which not all image viewers can open, let alone edit. Therefore, sometimes, having received and sent the source codes, I get “What did you send us, give us normal files.” By the way, raw files weigh a lot, for example, the whole wedding can easily weigh about 40GB.
The third reason is legal. Ownership of the source confirms copyright. If I give it away, I give away the copyright. In most cases, of course, this does not matter, but there are situations when it is important – for example, when third parties use my photos for commercial purposes without my consent.
Fourth – I’m afraid that my photos will be spoiled by their processing and posted, signing my name. It sounds trite, but believe me, it hurts a lot, even when Instagram filters are just applied to my photos, and in most cases, someone else’s processing is a very sad story. Or, as an option, they will lay out without treatment, with all the pimples, yellow teeth and others – also very little pleasant.
Often, the source files are asked not to wait a couple of weeks for the processed photos to be ready – well, no comments here.
As you can see, there are enough reasons, and if individually they may not seem very convincing, then all together they are a very good reason not to give the source files without good reasons (for example, perhaps the client himself is a photographer or retoucher).
I believe that if you applied for services to me, with all the abundance of offers, it means that you liked my work. And my work is only 40% shooting, the remaining 60% is processing. So – just believe me, with very rare exceptions – you don’t need the source code, you just don’t need it.