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A new stock agency called RawShotz is being set up in the US to promote photographers’ raw images – images which have come pretty much straight from the camera without any of the after-shot sharpening, colour tweaking or compression you often get with JPEG files. We were intrigued, as raw images are seen by most photographers as ‘work in progress,’ requiring further processing before going out to market. So we caught up with Ken Mages, founder and CEO of RawShotz (below), to find out more.

Raw files usually need quite a lot of work with contrast, sharpness, etc. Why would people want you to promote their unprocessed raw images? Isn’t it like going for a meal and being served raw or half-cooked food?
The data from a raw format file is what the camera captured, which means users have more data to work with and manipulate for the highest-quality photos. This is especially important since photo quality can be diminished when photos are uploaded or processed online. We offer users access to the highest quality materials to produce the best images possible. So in essence, we give people the choice of preparing the best meal with the highest quality ingredients.

Who is the likely target market?
RawShotz offers designers, creatives, everyday users, and website owners access to free raw images and photographers a place where their photos are credited to them, no matter who uses the images.

RawShotz is still in its infancy but quite a few images are on there already

Won’t a lot of the raw files from high resolution, full-frame cameras be pretty big – are you investing in a lot storage?
Although raw files take up a lot of space due to their size, we have a patent pending storage solution that helps us avoid significant online storage costs. In fact, photographers have access to unlimited digital storage where they can upload their entire photo collection, whether it’s 100 photos at any time or 100,000 photos by request. Also, the digital archive allows for easy transfer of photos. It eliminates the need to use third-party platforms to send files via transfer or link as users can upload and download directly from the website.

How will customers keep up with constantly changing raw formats – every time a new camera comes out, there often needs to be a raw file update from Adobe, for instance.
People won’t need to keep up with the pace of constantly changing raw formats, as our platform has a universal converter. All raw files are converted automatically to jpgs when they are uploaded to our platform for users to view on the website and stored as a raw file on our server.

Do you intend to distribute raw video footage too?
For now we only focus on raw images, but we hope to eventually provide raw video footage as well in the future.

Tell us more about your business model – early adopters can get involved in the business, right?
To further our commitment to help photographers expose and promote their work, we are offering 25 photographers the chance to become one of the co-founders of RawShotz. In addition, we allow users to directly donate to photographers for their photo contributions. We also host four contests every day for photographers to upload their raw files and get a chance to win daily cash prizes.

So how are you going to make money to pay contributing photographers based on performance?
We will sell ads to Sony, Nikon, and Adobe, among others. Also our library will be used on website building companies like WIX, Squrespace, and GoDaddy, to name a few.