Why you should always shoot in RAW


This is sort of a quick and dirty <rant>, not a true post but what’s on my mind… If you are into photography at all, I am positive people are constantly asking you for advice on what next best thing is to buy to enhance their photos. Sure, it’s a no brainer that a full frame camera and sweet glass will definitely help with picture quality and I’m sure every photo blog in the world advocates it’s not the camera but the person behind it. Yes, all fine and dandy, I could write 100+ posts on all of that advice, but let’s get to the REAL point folks – for the love of all that is holy, please, please, please SHOOT IN RAW file format. Why? Because it saves the most possible data on your photo. JPEG shooting compresses it into nice and ugly pixels that when editing show up in all shades of green and purple splotches/boxes. This is how you are able to get soooo many shots onto your memory card, because of the compressed size. And guess what people? That data loss is permanent and can never be retrieved again. With a RAW file you can save later into a nice and compact jpeg, but not vice versa.  I can go on and on about it but I feel like a picture may be worth more than just my words.

The first rule of good photography is to take good photos – well duh (set up the shot, choose the necessary settings, frame it correctly, you get my point).Now realize, I had no intention of doing any photo editing with these photos other than saving them and giving them to my friend Trish, I was just joking around taking pics in her back yard. Nor do I necessarily condone overprocessing photos. What I want to show is the CAPABILITY between shooting in RAW and shooting in JPEG.

 

Original Photo no editing:

before photo editing

After total manipulation, going to the extreme in exposure, vibrance, saturation, clarity, etc: (also not perfect, I spent maybe 2 mins on this)

young child photo editing

 

Photo manipulation of a JPEG (simulated as I never shoot in JPEG – also I spent A LOT more time trying to get this photo to look as good as the RAW, like 30 minutes :/):

problems with editing jpeg

It may take a trained eye (or because I gotz skillz in editing) but there is almost a greenish quality to our jpeg photo and also what I like to refer to as the splotchy effect, and trust me, try putting this on a canvas or printing larger than 8×10 and you WILL be sorry:

difference between raw and jpeg

So go ahead and buy a new camera if yours doesn’t have an option to shoot in anything other than JPEG, otherwise take that puppy out and keep practicing… in RAW! Only after you realize that it’s not the camera or the lenses that will take you to the next level should you consider buying them ;)

</rant>

  1. #1 by Ryan Bradley on October 11, 2012 - 4:38 pm

    Good points, I always shoot in Jpeg on my camera, mostly for memory purposes. I’ll give RAW a try now.

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