I’m Sure You’ve been told to shoot in raw: Here is why.
I have touched on this before in my post ‘5 hacks to dramatically improve your urban photography!’, but it is a very important aspect of the digital photography age. As a result, I feel the need to expand and fully explain the reasons why you need to
Firstly, a take on your photos in RAW format.
Camera RAW is the direct output from the sensor with minimal processing. RAW files contain much higher detail than JPEG.
This provides a larger flexibility when you are editing and really helps you achieve your vision for the photo: Let’s talk about what this extra flexibility lets you do.
In a RAW editor
You can largely change the exposure and correct photos which may have been under or over exposed. You can also dramatically raise or lower the highlights or shadows which allow increased dynamic range in your photos compared to JPEG camera output.
Here is a good example of increased dynamic range, which was possible as I shot this photo in RAW. I raised the shadows and blacks and lowered the highlights to create this increased range.
When your camera produces a JPEG output it processes the file itself, slightly modifying parts of it such as saturation.
You can choose the desired JPEG profile output in most cameras. If you shoot in RAW, you provide yourself the opportunity to create your own, customized, JPEG profiles which you can tweak specifically for every photo.
You are also able to add extra effects that would not be possible in the camera JPEG output, such as split toning and dehaze. Furthermore, you can make changes to just portions of the photo with the help of graduated filters and the brush tool. Therefore, you have the freedom to make the photo look exactly how you want, rather than just the standard camera output.
No more white balance Issues:
It is fairly common to take a photo with auto white balance on and for it to become messed up. With a RAW file you can modify the white balance to a very large extent.
In most cases, the white balance assigned is not saved so you can change the white balance across the whole spectrum without any reduction in quality. So this is great if you want to fix a messed up white balance, or if you just want to warm up or cool down a photo.
Once again, it helps you produce the image you want.
Editing a RAW file does not modify the RAW file at all, it just saves the changes made that are then applied to any exports. This means that you can also reset back to the original RAW file, as it has not been modified in any way. Therefore, you can get the most out of the photos you take, and you can produce multiple, different outputs and decide which one you like best.
Noise Reduction: No more undesired grain.
If you are taking photos at a higher ISO, noise is going to become an issue. Shooting in RAW can help this. The noise reduction applied in camera to a RAW is less destructive to the image quality than JPEG noise reduction. You can also spot reduce noise in post, so overall shooting in RAW can help you reduce noise.
Save every photo as both Raw and JPeg:
With RAW+, no reason not to capture every photo in RAW! RAW+ allows every photo you take to be saved in both JPEG and RAW, so you can keep the JPEG if you don’t like your edited version more. So if you are skeptical about changing how you have been shooting in the past don’t worry, you get the best of both worlds! It is important to note that shooting RAW will fill the camera buffer faster and also disk space, but in most cases, this should not be a problem.
Thanks for reading and keep shooting (RAW)!
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