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4 reasons to shoot in RAW and how to make the switch

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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!

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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 instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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!

RELATED: How to Reduce Noise in Adobe Camera RAW

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.

RELATED: Indoor Photography Tips

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.

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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.

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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).

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

Click on the “L” and then scroll over to “RAW” and select. (screen shown below)

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

And that’s it!

RELATED: How to Organize and Store your Photos in Adobe Bridge

If you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment or head over to the Laughing Latte Mama-tographer Facebook page!

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

4 reasons to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG and how to make the switch

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  • Katie Shepherd

    Hi! I just found your blog through Pinterest and LOVE IT!! 🙂
    Thanks for the tips on RAW. I have tried once, but was discouraged, but want to give it another try. I do have photoshop, so am I right that when I first open the RAW file, I process their and then convert to photoshop. I don’t need Lightroom, correct??

    Also, I would love a post (if you haven’t already) about how to best focus. I have tried to back button focus, but still not sure how to get the camera to focus on my subject (my two moving daughters!!! Ages 4 and 2! 🙂 )any tips on how to best focus? Thank you so much!
    Thanks – Katie S.

    • Oh thank you so much for your kind words! I did the same thing! I took these festival photos, didn’t get the point, and switched back to JPEG for about a month. Then I realized what all I could actually do with a RAW file! And you are absolutely correct. I edit a little in ACR and then add my standard layers in photoshop. I do not use lightroom. Apparently Lightroom does the same as ACR and Photoshop combined, so I do plan on checking it out at some point.

      And great post idea! I think I mention focus tips it in passing in several posts, but I haven’t dedicated a post to it. I will work on that!