How Long Do You Keep Your Raws?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by thenikonguy, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    I'm going through my external HD right now, which is where I back upp all my photos to, and I'm seeing a huge about of space which is just raw files.. now, these photos are for clients who have gone and past, the photos are all edited, and they are online in their client galleries. In reality, I have no need for the raw files anymore, because my edits are done.. and the files are now up for purchase..

    which got me to thinking.. should I keep the raws?

    what do you guys do? do you keep em, or, once your done with the client, do you ditch the raws, but keep the final edited versions?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    RAWs are your negatives - they are untouched and unedited and as such I would always keep them over edited versions. You can always edit the RAW again, but you can't reverse an edit back to its original state. Maybe a client will want a reprint or maybe they will want something done to the shot.

    I would personally hang onto both for as long as I could - memory is dirt cheap these days so its not out the question and when push came to shove, the edits would be the first to go.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Forever.

    I only keep them on the computer for about a year though. They get transfered onto a DVD before I delete them (along with the .xmp sidecars from Lightroom).
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Same. I keep the RAWs forever. Especially any I've been paid to shoot. It's a part of the service, and I make a point of it.
     
  5. camz

    camz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Absolutely forever. But I also keep the TIFF files that the clients chose for print...forever since my memory is so bad I forget the edits I performed shortly after.

    Musicale is right, it's part of the service and could easily generate future income.
     
  6. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    i totally understand keeping the TIFF's, because those are your edits... thats the photos that the client purchased.. personally i think it makes more sense to keep my TIFF's that way, later on (say 6 months down the road) after I've removed the client gallery for the website.. and they call me and say "i know you took the gallery down, but, how can I get another copy of "this" photo" then.. I would have to go back, and try to remember what my edits were as, if I kept my TIFF's, boom, theres the photo, exactly the way they liked it, ready to purchase again
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What if they want a B&W one in color, or vice versa?
    (Color to B&W shouldn't be too big of a deal though...)

    If you keep the sidecar, you don't have to try to remember what your edits were. It's usually like 10-15 KB, so it's not like it takes up a lot of space...
     
  8. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    Physical storage is cheap ($100/TB? cheap!). I keep everything -- sources, the PSDs, the properly sized TIFF files and the jpegs, and everything gets backed up, in triplicate with one off-site source archived weekly. (Full disclosure, I used to work for a company that did HSM products.)
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Another one that keeps my Raw's forever. They are the digital negative, un-edited. I have a file cabinet full of film negatives from the 35 years of photos prior to digital. They are your photographic legacy.
     
  10. camz

    camz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Josh is right, sidecar files are the ideal way to go if your worried about disk space. Because of the association of the name, when deleting TIFF files make sure your labeling your sidecar files differently or else the label association will result in both the deletion of both files. I just prefer to not deal with file management so I rather keep the TIFF.

    If you are going to keep your TIFF files then I don't know why worry about disk space then when the RAW are much more smaller in memory. Another reason why I keep my RAW's is that preference changes all the time. I can look a the same picture and maybe decide to crop it and finish a different way which could create another potential sale. I guess you just never know. It's one of those CYA process..
     
  11. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    Not really a beginner's question, but to answer it, I keep my RAW files forever.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Me too, what they said. ↑ ↑ ↑
     

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