Georgia Kate’s Milestone Session + FAQ-Can we have the RAW files please?

Photographers and their RAW files

Angela McNaul Photography chats about raw files

+ Georgia Kate’s Milestone Session


First, we will chat about RAW files BUT let me just share my sweet 9-month milestone session from Georgia Kate’s visit to my Charlottesville studio. Mom had warned me she wasn’t a smiley baby, and I am glad I was prepped! What a cutie!

Second, let’s talk RAW files. I think many clients misunderstand what a RAW file actually is. I believe most clients think it’s just an unedited image. Something maybe without a filter on it? I get asked a few times a year “Can we please have the raw files; you don’t have to edit them” My short answer is no. Please read on if you are curious as to why.

Let’s start with what IS a RAW file?

Adobe says this.

“A RAW file is the uncompressed and unprocessed image data captured by a digital camera or scanner’s sensors. Shooting in RAW captures a high level of image detail, with large file sizes and lossless quality. The direct image data means you start with a high-quality image that can be edited, converted, and compressed in a non-destructive manner.

RAW files are a type of raster file format, but not actually images themselves. This means you need to import them into relevant software before you can edit or export them as a different raster image file, like a JPEG. Many photographers who shoot in RAW manipulate the original data in software like Photoshop before compressing the RAW file into a different format for print or online.”

Let us take a minute to focus on the second paragraph. A raw file is NOT an image. It’s a file. It’s a very LARGE file. I don’t even keep them, they are so large. When I edit a gallery the first thing, I do is cull. By culling I am eliminating duplicates, eye blinks, blurry photos, images in where I adjusted my light or poses. These instantly get deleted as they would bog down my hard drive.

Next, I have to take the file into software to view or open them. A consumer can’t print a raw file. It has to be converted into a file that a lab can view, read and print. Photoshop and ACR is where I take the very large file and turn it into a JPG for my clients.

So, to deliver an actual raw file would be pointless unless you have software to read and convert them.

Last, let’s say you are talking about my first case scenario. You just want all the unedited images in jpg form. For me, that is the equivalent of asking a baker to give you the ingredients for their gourmet cupcakes but not baking or decorating them. I like to think my finished product is what makes my art…. ART.  So, at the end of the day, no will always be my answer and I hope you love your fully edited, high resolution jpg images from my studio to your wall.


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