A question we rarely hear but one that we understand is sometimes a source for confusion is relating to copyright and the desire for ‘raw files’ or ‘digital negatives’.


On the subject of copyright retention we, like most professional wedding photographers offer a ‘print license’ with all our packages.
This means that you are completely at liberty to print your images for personal use and in-fact use them exactly as you wish so long as it’s not for commercial gain.

The concern that the photographer retaining the copyright of their work, which is virtually universal for wedding and portraiture in the UK. is sometimes that the bride and groom may be limited as to how they can use their photographs. This is mostly unsubstantiated.

In the world of commercial photography where big companies hire photographers to shoot their expensive products etc. a ‘work for hire’ arrangement is more generally expected. For this the company contracting the work will expect copyright to be signed over to them by the photographer in question, but in these cases, the fees charged, often running into many thousands of pounds will more than compensate the photographer for this.

Sometimes it’s possible that a couple may wish to retain control of their images for privacy reasons but the idea that making sure they own the copyright is the only way they can legally ensure this happens, is a misapprehension.

According to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, you are well within your rights to request that your images aren’t made publicly available on social media or even on the photographer’s web site.

Of course, being able to show their work on the internet is a highly useful marking tool for wedding photographers, and many bookings they receive are by virtue of the weddings they show on their site.

If you are concerned about matters of privacy, then speaking openly with your photographer about it is generally the best way to tackle the issue. For many of us, it really isn’t a problem, because most of our couples do not request privacy, the majority of the weddings we shoot, we are free to publish, and so we are happy to accommodate those who do as a matter of course.

RAW Files

Finally, on the subject of ‘raw files’ or ‘digital negatives’, most wedding photographers, and certainly the vast majority of those charging in the middle to upper range in the market, are always very keen to control the quality of the work that represents them out there, in the world.

Therefore it’s very unusual for any photographer worth his salt to give away unfinished or raw files as these images are generally uninspiring before polish, and require a level of ‘artistic interpretation’ in post-processing in order to give them the photographer’s ‘signature look’.

Again though, nothing is set in stone, and you may find that some photographers, even those who are at the top of their game, will offer their raw files, albeit under a separate agreement.

Be aware though, this will usually carry with it the understanding of substantial addition costs, often figures as high as £500 per image which most couples are unwilling to entertain as the perceived value, while quite reasonable for a commercial enterprise, is considered relatively low in the light of the finished, polished and retouched version of the images ( in JPEG format ) that they have already received.

But what ARE RAW Files? A hopefully not-too-techy explanation.

Ah yes, good point!

RAW files ( when using that term properly and not just as a catchall for un-edited images per-se ) are computer files which are produced by a digital camera andand thereafter transferred to a computer for conversion into ACTUAL picture data.

A RAW file is different to the standardised ‘View on Anything’ JPEG file in as much as it consists of a bunch of data read directly from the camera’s sensor (rather than just an interpreted collection of coloured dots) and arranged in non-standard way which is designed by the camera’s manufacturer.

Because of this non-standardisation, most consumer-targeted software is unable to make sense of the data in RAW files ( particularly from the latest cameras ) and in the main, only professional software like Adobe Photoshop or other ‘RAW Conversion Software’ is able to perform this magic.

Most wedding photographers I know shoot RAW, because when compared with the largely consumer-oriented JPEG format, the RAW data format is significantly better when it comes to making very dark areas lighter and very light areas darker without the overall picture quality deteriorating too much.

This is a real boon at weddings where the photographer mostly has very little control over the available light which can result in scenes which demonstrate both very bright and very dark regions, both of which require detail to be ‘seen’.

This flexibility allows an experienced professional to shoot deliberately to maximise the picture integrity in the dark areas ( the shadows ) or the bright areas ( the highlights ), knowing that they can balance everything out optimally once the images hit the computer.

The does mean that sometimes, RAW files that are viewed straight out of the camera (SOOC) can represent just a ‘work in progress’, where the post-processing to ‘finish’ the image is required to complete the final intended result.


This a is a really cool question because as well as photographers understand all the descriptions used to describe the different ways of shooting a wedding, if you’re new to all this jargon, you’ll find a lot of the terms quite disorientating.

No one short and snappy description really exists for the broad range of image styles and techniques we use to capture them, but below you’ll find a somewhat more considered analysis of how it all comes together.

Reportage / Wedding Photojournalism (WPJ) / Documentary Style / Fly-On-The-Wall

All these essentially mean the same thing and that is that the photographer captures what’s going on without offering direction in any way. 80-90% of the images you receive from the day will have been shot using this ethos.
If a photographer markets themselves as one of these, they’re not really telling you what they will do, as much as what they don’t.
Pretty much all modern wedding photographers shoot most of their images in this style, and we are no exception.
If you’d like us to shoot your wedding exclusively in this style with no direction whatsoever, we can do exactly that for you as well.

Traditional Groups

Most couples like to recognise a little tradition in the record of their day and group shots including family are friends can be a lot of fun.
We keep it lively and move through as quickly as we can so as not to stall your day too much.
We understand that some guests really aren’t too keen on this sort of thing, so if we feel that might be ‘a thing’ we make it known that we understand that everyone wants to party and that we won’t keep them hanging around too long.
When the ceremony and reception venues are different, we generally shoot smaller family groups at the ceremony location and then larger groups including friends at the reception venue.
But all photography is made to fit the schedule of events in any case.


Whenever we’re asked to, we love to attend ‘Bridal Prep’, or ‘Bride at Home’.
This allows us to capture not only the ‘goings on’ at the ‘getting ready’ location in a WPJ style but also when the time allows to make some wonderful portraits of the bride in her dress.
Also when the drinks reception is underway, it offers a great opportunity to briefly leave the party and make some great portraits of both the bride and groom around the environment of the reception venue.
If there is a separate ceremony location and we have enough time, we can also explore the possibilities there as well.

Natural/Available Light

Many photographers market themselves as Natural Light Photographers.
This means that they tend not to use flash.
We find that following this model tends to limit the quality of some types of images
While we tend not to use flash all the time, shooting with the light that’s already there, especially during the ceremony, we do understand how and when to use flash effectively when it’s required.

Spontaneous Group Portraits

While not an actual genre, these usually occur during our normal WPJ duties at the reception and are a lot of fun.
Basically what we’re saying is, if a guest decides they rather like the idea of a picture of themselves, and a friend, and their brother, and his girlfriend, and her cat, we’re really happy to come out of ninja mode for a minute and do that for them.

Candid Guest Portraits

Again, while not an actual recognised style, perhaps more a subgenre of WPJ, closeups of your guests in between courses engaged in conversation or cracking up over a joke are images that reveal an intimate side of your day that you perhaps may not otherwise be aware of. We love these, and try to get at least one of as many of the guests as we can.

  • Andrew Miller - December 29, 2015 - 9:00 pm

    Great article Rob.

    I like the way you adjust your style to the requirements the couple. I always advise getting groups shots – for no their reason that it’s usually mums that insist on the day!


    • admin - December 29, 2015 - 9:38 pm

      Quite right Andrew, we should always remember who is boss ( the bride 😉 ) but also respect and aim to serve the expectations of the parental generation too. :)ReplyCancel