RAW . . . First of all, it's not an acronym. (This threw me at first as it seems everything is an acronym these days.) It's a format for images. Most images are JPG (pronounced jay-peg) files where the camera does all the work for you as far as how it thinks the image should look. The camera takes the data from the information gathered through the lens, decides what it thinks is important for the image and then discards the rest. What you see on the back of the camera is the resulting image. A RAW file takes all of the data and stores it in a neat little package. When you are ready to edit the image, all of that data is still available. The RAW image that is seen on the back of the camera will look flat, dull and probably overly-bright . . . but this is in no way a bad thing.
Most professional photographers shoot RAW. These RAW files require editing of each and every image. They also require larger, more expensive camera cards and tons more computer space, but it's worth it. The reason photographers choose to shoot RAW is simply because there is so much more data to work with. When the data is limited, as it is in a JPG file, the editor is limited in terms of what can be done with the image artistically as well as correctionally. (Is that even a word? )
I personally feel that taking on the extra work
is worth it for my clients.
By shooting RAW I am working with the highest quality files. This means I can produce higher quality images being that I'm better equipped to adjust and fine tune them to how I think they should look, not how my camera thinks they should look. I'm able to pull lots more detail from my images if I shoot RAW. More detail means more personality in that furry face and more emotion in their eyes. Simply put:
More work for me means
the highest quality prints for my clients
. . . and that makes me happy. :O)
Here is this week's image to help show the value I see in shooting RAW. This image was captured frantically (as I calmly reached for my camera behind me and repeated over and over in my head, "please don't move, please don't move, please don't move." ) As is usually the case, I was only able to get a single click of the shutter before they both gave me "the look" and removed themselves from the couch. When I looked at the back of the camera I just hoped that the RAW format would pull through for me. . . and as far as I'm concerned, it did it's job.
This was the image straight out of the camera. There was so much light coming in from the window behind them that the entire scene was shadowed, underexposed, and had very little color.
The JPG file was edited to black and white and I applied my software's auto correction just to see what might happen. This is how the camera and the software both think this image should look.
Because I had a RAW file with all of the file's data on it, I was able to make detailed manual adjustments to the image and effectively save the shot. It's not perfect as far as image quality goes, but it tells a story about these two personalities that is unmistakeable. ;O)
This project consists of so many wonderful photographers. You can make your way around the blog circle starting with Denver Pet Photographer, StinkDog Photos .