Another Reminder to Shoot in RAW

Roxy, one of the competitors in Top Photographer with Nigel Barker messed up and shot JPEG files in a once in a lifetime situation. Barker took her to task, waved his finger at her and said “Bad Photographer!” Why? Because RAW files have so many advantages over JPEG files.

Roxy had an opportunity to shoot at sunrise over NYC from a private area at the top of the Empire State Building that is not open to the public and she shot only JPEGs. Her mistake is the basis for this article at Adorama Learning Center (ALC). It is one more reminder of the importance of shooting RAW files. Here are the highlights.

“Every time you take a picture, there are settings applied to your image, some of the settings are set by the photographer and some are programmed by the camera -things like white balance, sharpening and tone curves.  As you can imagine, when offered a unique opportunity like shooting from the Empire State Building, you want all these settings to be just right.  But what happens when you shoot in JPEG is that it compresses the image so much that in order to make it a smaller file, it permanently writes these settings into your image and you can’t really change them- at least not without affecting the quality of the compressed image. So, unless you did a perfect job setting your camera to capture the subtle golds, yellows and pinks of a rapidly changing sunrise, there isn’t much you can do to correct your image. That’s a lot of pressure!  That’s why to make it easier on yourself and allow more creative control over your final image, you should always shoot in RAW!

” . . . shooting in RAW gives the photographer a lot more control, allowing him/her to make changes in settings without any loss in quality. The RAW format actually captures all of the data from your camera sensor, uncompressed before any of the other settings are applied. With the ability to work on the photo after the fact, Roxy would have been able to manipulate things like white balance, shadows, highlights, etc. as if she had shot it that way in-camera. This gives you a lot of room for error if you make any common photography mistakes like shooting a little too light or too dark.”

In all of my photography workshops I go beyond giving the reasons for shooting in RAW and I demonstrate the advantages of RAW files.

If you aren’t already shooting RAW files, it is time to explore what RAW files can do for your images. See the links below.

Article Links

There are lots of good reasons for shooting RAW files:

ACR and RAW: Two of the Best Things You Can Do For Your Images

The RAW versus Jpeg Exposure Advantage

RAW vs JPEG Camera Files

The more adept you become at using ACR, the better your images will be.

Mastering Photoshop & Lightroom: Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

The Best Image Editing Software

Does your software have the best and most recent “process version”? Find out here:

Adobe’s Improves “Process Version” for Adobe Camera Raw

Some Examples of What You Can Do Using ACR:

Fixing A Color Cast with ACR

How To Save A Sun Flared Image With ACR And A Soft Light Brush

Color Correction for Images Created in the Shade

Evening in the Rockies: ACR and RAW Files to the Rescue

Sisters: Color Correction With Adobe Camera Raw

POTD: A Moment of Discovery

Bride’s Portrait: Solving Mixed Lighting challenges with ACR

How to Photograph the Milky Way

Bobcat: Fast and Simple Tonality Adjustments with Adobe Camera Raw

Adorama Learning Center Link

TopPhotographer: How We Learned the Hard Way To Always Shoot in RAW