As photographers, we are small business owners and service providers. And as such, we very much want to make our clients happy by doing as much as we can to make sure their experience with us is perfect. But there are certain things that even the most accommodating photographer isn't comfortable doing, and if any of these are on your list of things you might want to ask a photographer, make sure they're comfortable with it before you book with them.
"Can you photoshop that out?" Me personally, if it's something distracting in the background, I'm totally fine Photoshopping it out of the final photos so that you and your family are the focus of your photos. But not every photographer is willing to do this.
"Can you make me look 20 pounds lighter/20 years younger/remove my wrinkles?" My answer is can I? Sure. Will I? No. My rule of thumb is if something is going to be gone in 2 weeks (a bruise, a zit, a scrape, an errant hair, a pocket liner out of place, etc.) I will happily fix it. If it's a more permanent feature of a client? No. I'm not changing your appearance. You are beautiful the way you are, and I believe in celebrating you instead of airbrushing you.
"You can just photoshop smiles on us, right?" If I have photos in a given setting where everyone is looking/smiling in at least one photo, but not all at once, I am happy to do face swaps so that everyone is looking/smiling in the same photo. But if your kiddo is throwing a fit, I'm not going to put another kid's smile on their face.
"Can we just pose really quickly on these train tracks?" This one is a solid NO for me, and it should be for every photographer who knows what they're doing. It is not only incredibly dangerous, but it's illegal, and there's a hefty fine associated with it if you get caught. Not worth it for so many reasons.
"There's a family member no longer with us that we'd like included in a few special photos. Can you do that?" If I know about this request in advance, and I know the photo of your loved one that you'd like to use, I am happy to do so. But make sure your photographer knows in advance and that they know what you're wanting to do with the photo and are able to do it.
"We love this photo, but we want it in black and white. Can you send us that version?" This one is an easy one for me. I usually include a few black and white images in each gallery, especially if there are a couple really similar images, so then I can do one in my color edit and one in my black and white edit. But if there's a particular image you want converted to black and white, I am more than happy to do that and add it to your gallery.
"One of our friends/cousins/babysittters/dogwalkers/psychics is also a photographer. Can we have the RAW images so they can edit them?" No. I mean, that's my answer. Every photographer is different. But here is why my answer is a straight forward no (and is stated plainly in my contracts): RAW photos mean photo files that are straight out of the camera without being edited at all by the photographer. The settings I use in camera are ones that I know will be best for my particular editing style. Sometimes, I don't even like to show my clients the back of my camera, because I know that it might look too dark on the camera screen, but I also know that my editing style really pops when a photo is a little underexposed in camera. Giving a client RAW photos is giving someone my art that's halfway done. Giving someone my RAW files AND letting someone else edit them is like giving them my art halfway done and then giving them a completely different color palette to finish the piece.