Shooting in RAW Part 1 – What is RAW and Why Should I Use It?


The RAW format offers you much more control over your images than the JPG format. Although it should not be used as a ‘Cure All’ for poor Photography, it offers the Photographer the ability to ‘fix’ many common issues and problems, that the JPG format would not.

As mentioned in my previous post, a RAW file is not actually a picture, but the information that is needed to process and make up a picture. This is why, in this unprocessed format, the RAW file is much bigger than a processed JPG file.

To Illustrate the benefits of RAW, I would like to share with you one of my images. This image was taken on a dull, dreary and misty day. The image was shot in both RAW and JPG.

This is the JPG Image, the one which would show on the LCD screen as the preview of the image you have taken. As you can see, the mist washes out any detail and highlights, highlighting the foreground to the viewer rather than the main image.

The best imaging software in the world is not going to perfect this JPG image, as it has already been processed and lost much of the digital information of the detail of the image itself.

The following picture is the preview of the RAW image totally unprocessed.

You are now comparing the two images and wondering why, if you get the JPG result, you would ever want to shoot in RAW format. The following Image is the answer.

With just 2 minutes work, adjusting clarity levels, contrast and saturation, really basic quick stuff, you are left with the following image

This could never be achieved from the original JPG image. This image is now actually available in my shop at www.thelongwayroundphotography.co.uk, and has sold prints. Could you imagine that original JPG print selling?

In my next thrilling installment, I will look at the controls I used to create this image.

The software I use is photoshop, but the majority of editing software should have a RAW interface with the similar basic controls. If yopu are having problems finding RAW software, there should be some basic RAW processing software on the disk that came with your digital camera. Alternatively Adobe are giving a free Trial (30 days I think) of their latest Photoshop software on their website.

Part 2 coming soon.

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