Benefits of shooting in camera RAW vs JPEG

November 21, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Photoshop RAWPhotoshop RAWPhoto is only used for a blog. Camera RAW vs. JPEG

Fact: Most professional photographers shoot in camera RAW. So, what is RAW and what are the benefits of shooting in RAW rather than the standard camera default file format - JPEG. Think of RAW as unprocessed film, where all the processing of the image is done in your computer. Importing RAW, uncompressed files will require Photoshop or a similar program for post processing of images. 

RAW is a file format that captures ALL the image data recorded by the sensor. It provides a much higher dynamic range, better detail and image quality. It essentially lets you process each image to your liking, giving you complete control. When you shoot in JPEG file format, you are allowing the camera to process your images and although you can edit those images with software, shooting in RAW will give you greater control.

Keep in mind that when you shoot in RAW, each file is uncompressed, which means the files are 2-3X larger than JPEG files, so this will result in fewer images per memory card. 

I was introduced to RAW by a fellow professional photographer back in 2015 and I believe my photographic work has greatly improved since then. If you haven't yet switched over to RAW, then I encourage you to make the change, which I believe you'll never regret. 

The first step is to change your camera setting to shoot in RAW. Some cameras allow you to capture each image in both RAW and as a JPEG file. Next, you will upload (import), your camera files into Photoshop for editing. When all images have been uploaded, click on an image and then click Edit. This will bring up a screen displaying the image, along with a series of selections (see photo above). As you scroll down you will see that you can adjust the temperature and tint, which will allow you to make the image cooler or warmer. Below that you can then adjust the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance and saturation.  While it's true some of these edits are available in Photoshop, or other software, this selection is still more comprehensive, giving you more control over the final image. When you're done editing the image you can then save it as a JPEG file, PNG, or a TIFF. 

I hope you found this information helpful and I wish you success with your photography.

Ron Bowman, NH Nature Photographer



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