I have put together several documents to help guide my clients through the preparation for a photo session. Here are a few of them:

Additionally there is a lot of industry jargon that is used in photography and videography. This is to set some standard definitions of what I mean in my documents and communications.


Here are a few terms and explanations.
Here is a post with some examples of my editing vs retouching.

  • Color Corrected: I correct the color balance of the images because nobody has blue, or green skin. Nobody that I’ve met (yet) anyway. And I apply a profile to all the images so there is consistency and continuity to the colors.
    • This is the starting point for a photo. Typically this is reserved for delivery to a graphics or retouching professional as I consider this to be an incomplete image and not suitable for delivery.
  • Edited: in addition to “color correction”, I do adjustments to exposure, contrast, saturation, cropping, straightening, etc. This is the base level of editing that I will usually let a photo be delivered to a client with.
    • This is the level of editing that I will typically do to most wedding photos
  • Retouched: in addition to “lightly edited”: I get into some photoshopping. This often includes removing distracting elements from the background, some basic teeth whitening, eye brightening, blemish removal
    • Some wedding photos get this level of editing. All “portrait sessions” get this level of editing.
  • Portfolio Retouch: This is a no-holds-barred edit. These images are edited as if they’re going on the cover of a magazine, or into my portfolio. Skin smoothing, blemish removal, smoothing lines, eye brightening, teeth whitening, background cleanup, remove distracting elements,… everything.
    • This level of detail takes time, lots of time; typically 1-2 hours per photo.


Can I have the unedited photos / video?

Thats gonna be a hard NO. My editing is part of my photographic style, and that is why you are hiring me as a photographer. And quite frankly, you wouldn’t want my unedited photos. They look pretty bad 🤪. Without editing they’re flat, dull, unsaturated, and have poor contrast. (there are technical reasons that unedited RAW images look this way)

And, its also a reputation thing: I am only as good as my work that gets shown to others. I want that to be something both that I’m proud of and that you’re excited to show others. If a photo didn’t pass QC for me to deliver it then I don’t want it out there in the wild for someone to say “Yeah, James’ photos on his website are phenomenal, but those photos that ‘X’ was showing me from their session were just bad”.

Can I have the RAW photos / video?

Unless you are a business or creative agency hiring me as a consultant to interface with your team to provide a cohesive brand standard for your images, then no (also see “Can I have the unedited photos?”). And honestly, the prices for exclusive rights to original RAW files would make most people’s wallet run and hide.

Can I see all the photos from my session?

This is another one of the reasons that you’re hiring me as a professional photographer. You’ve liked the style of work that I’ve produced. Trust that I’ve put that same attention to detail into selecting the photos, and video segments to show as proofs, or deliver to you.

You can see almost all of them if you really want. But I reserve the privilege to remove anything that I feel is a “clunker” and thus not something that I want to be associated with producing. (IE: I’m not gonna show the world a photo you feel is unflattering, and I equally don’t want to show the world similarly unflattering work)

Just be careful what you ask for. I’ve been culling photos since I got my first “real” camera in 2006. I’m not infallible but I have a pretty good grasp on what’s good & what isn’t. Some photo projects (EG: weddings) will have 700 or more photos per hour. I spend a lot of time looking through all the duplicate images that I’ve taken, and selecting the best ones for you.

You might also find my list of some industry standard terms useful.