How to Tell Clients They Can’t Have the RAW Files

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It’s been a while since I’ve received “The E-Mail,” so I guess it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise when it came today. I must have been living a charmed life, because it hadn’t reared its ugly head in quite a while. Yet there it was. Staring me in the face. Cursor blinking in the “reply” box as I contemplated my impending level of sarcasm. Sometimes it’s actually a phone call. Occasionally they come right out and ask in person. More often than not, though, it’s an email. I prefer the emails because they help mask my frustration in a way that actual conversations can’t. You know the email I’m talking about. Names and locations have been changed for obvious reasons.

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What Else Happens When the Photographer Becomes the Client

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“What Happens When the Photographer Becomes the Client” appeared here on DIY Photography in January.

“You only have one job,” she said. “Hire the photographer.”

This was back in January, and my wife and I were about to embark on planning our son’s bar mitzvah. The truth of the matter is that I had more than one job, but being in charge of finding a photographer was a pretty big one.  Just like my clients, I want my family’s milestones photographed and memorialized. Obligatory portraits, perfectly balanced with meaningful candid shots that tell the story of the big day. More importantly, when your wife says, “You only have one job,” what she really means is, “Don’t screw this up!” Screw this up? Nope. Never gonna happen.

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What Happens When the Photographer Become the Client?

When I was still practicing law a lifetime or two ago, some of my colleagues and I used to say that the practice of law would be so much more enjoyable without the damn clients. Obviously this was just a form of letting off steam when dealing with a problem client– usually accompanied by copious amounts of bourbon. When I made the jump to photography ten years ago, It didn’t take long for me to learn that the same maxim held “true,” regardless of whether I was carrying a brief case or a camera bag. It appears that problem clients are everywhere.

Even in the mirror, if you’re not careful.

Let me explain.

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