Why shoot in the RAW?

If you have a digital SLR that’s less than about 10 years old, then you have the ability to shoot in RAW.  It sounds a bit rude, but essentially, it means that your camera won’t strip out any of the information it captures.  Think of it in terms of music.  We all know those people who can hear the extra quality of ultra high quality music files, or vinyl.  Personally, I can’t hear people opposite me on the table at lunch.  Anyway, JPG is like the equivalent of the low quality sound file.  It looks fine, you probably wouldn’t really know the difference, but if you know what you’re looking for, it becomes obvious.

alsatian running towards the camera


Kai is an adorable young Alsatian I was lucky to photograph a few weeks ago.  The light was great but some of the photos ended up looking a little “cold”.  Where your camera tries to be clever and save space by creating a JPG, it loses some information that allows you to make more subtle changes in a picture.  The slider below will switch between the JPG photo and the processed RAW photo, both of which I have tried to “warm” to a similar degree.  If you look at the slider image below, “before” represents the RAW photo and “after” is the JPG.  Slide it all the way to the left and you think, yeah, that looks okay, warm enough, but I think that when you slide it to the right, at least in my opinion, it just looks better.  My example is quite subtle.  If you have LIghtroom, or other software that allows you to change colour temperature, play around, see how things go.  Find yourself a RAW file (hey, maybe go out and take some) and then try again.  You’ll see what I mean.

Chris Geatch

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