Editing photos vs the original shot

So, I see many people who take photos offering their original files.  WHY!!!???

There is no reason you should just hand anybody or post your unedited photos straight from the SD card.  Properly editing your photos can take that “eh” photo to a “wall-worthy” photo.

Do I take great photos? Yes, but there is so much more that can be done to the photo, no matter how good I was at composing the photo, no matter how I do my settings in the camera – they all need editing.

Let’s review below… Both are the same photos, the top one is unedited.  I simply exported it and posted it here.


The file below is the exact same original file, but this is edited.


Which one do you want as a 16X20 Canvas

Let’s take a look at portraiture 

My niece was happy enough to pose for me one day at Indian Lake

Unedited Edited
IMG_6318-2-3 IMG_6318-2-2

Here is another photo that shows what good editing can do.  This is a shot from the 4th of July 2015 fireworks in Findlay, OH

The other reason you cannot have the unedited files is because most people do not have the ability to open them.

Most photographers take photos in one of two formats.  RAW and JPEG.  Unless I am in need of having the photos ready instantly, I will shoot in RAW.

A RAW file is the uncompressed, unaltered, uncorrected file straight from the image sensor in the camera.  A JPEG file might be anywhere from 1 to 3MB, where a RAW file is 35MB or larger.  They are also in a file format that needs specific software to open like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Adobe Camera RAW.  The default photo app in Windows won’t open these.

JPEG by its nature is a “Lossey” format.  This means that some part of that RAW image has been compressed and deleted (never to be recovered again).  It also means that every time that file is opened and then saved something else is removed from it.  Some programs are good about keeping the quality up, others are not.

Let’s be real, the reason I don’t offer high-res files to clients is so that my work quality is kept to my standards. If you have a  CD with the full resolution photos, even edited by the photographer….. will you go back to that photographer or just run to Wallgreens or WalMart to get prints made?  When you go to these quick lab places you never know if the color is calibrated in their machine… that perfect skin tone that you see on screen may come out to look like an umpa loompa.   The problem arises when people see that print, they think that it is the photographer’s shoddy work – when it is not.  This makes the photographer look bad and lessens their work.

When you order prints from a professional photographer, they send the work to a professional photo lab that will color correct the images, their machines are calibrated to be true colors.  I can order a print today and then 3 years from now and the color is still the same.