These photos were the first photos ever that I shot in RAW. And I hated it! My memory card was too slow, my camera was delaying, we tried a million times to get the perfect shot in front of the merry-go-round only for the camera to stall again, and my memory card filled up way too fast. What I didn’t realize until later (thank goodness I held off on editing till now…) was that because I shot in RAW that night, I was actually able to save the grainiest and darkest photos of the bunch!
Only a few weeks ago, (yes, after this festival… it took me a while to figure out that I should stick with shooting in RAW…) in this Tinkerbell photoshoot actually, I was shooting in JPEG. A few of my most treasured photos came out too dark and with a lot of grain. I was limited in how I could save them because of my JPEG setting. This was the moment I realized just how valuable shooting in RAW actually is.
I made the switch to shoot in RAW and I will never go back! Ok maybe there will be a few times, but this is one of the biggest steps in my photography journey and it took me way too long to see it’s value. So save yourself now, and shoot RAW!
What does it mean to shoot in RAW?
You can either shoot in RAW or shoot in JPEG. It’s simply the format you save your photo in.
When you shoot in JPEG, it’s a much smaller file and the camera decides the color and details of the photograph. You can edit later, but you are limited when editing because the information in the JPEG is limited.
When you shoot in RAW, you capture every detail and save it in a very large format that you can edit in Adobe Camera RAW (aka, ACR) or Lightroom.
4 reasons to shoot in RAW:
1. You can eliminate grain.
Because the RAW file preserves so much detail, you can easily smooth out the grain and enhance the quality of the photo!
2. You can adjust exposure.
When you shoot RAW, you are basically giving yourself a second chance to get the photo right. As much as I try to get everything perfect when I am shooting, sometimes I am under or over exposed. A RAW files preserves the details of the photo so that you can fix exposure issues in post processing.
Usually, I’m trying to save a photo that’s too dark, which results in grain… But I had the opposite problem the next morning at the festival. In the photo below of Anabelle, the background is overexposed and you can hardly see the ferris wheel. But since I shot in JPEG (yes I switched to JPEG the second day at the festival) I couldn’t fix the exposure. What you see is what you get when it comes to the background.
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3. You can correct white balance.
I didn’t realize you could correct white balance in post processing until recently. When I first started typing up this post, I was about to say that I usually get my white balance right, but it’s a nice option to have. Then I edited these festival photos…. Oh boy. I didn’t realize how much better I could make that white balance!
4. You can batch edit.
Yes, this means you can edit several at once! You can’t do this in Photoshop, but if you shoot RAW your photos will open up in Adobe Camera RAW first and you can batch edit in there.
Downside of shooting in RAW:
1. They take up more space.
RAW files are bigger. You need to have a big memory card in your camera (make sure it’s fast too) and you need a space to store the photos.
2. You have to process every file.
This was irrelevant to me because I already processed my JPEGs to get an enhanced image. However, in RAW format you can’t just print the image without editing. You have to at least process it to save it into a JPEG format that you can print.
How to switch to RAW:
I have a Canon Rebel. To switch to RAW, first press the “Q” button. Then using the arrows, go down to the square on the bottom right of the screen that usually has a big “L” (that’s the JPEG setting… shown below).
Click on the “L” and then scroll over to “RAW” and select. (screen shown below)
And that’s it!
If you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment or head over to the Laughing Latte Mama-tographer Facebook page!