One of the main reasons I shoot RAW is because I am a control freak when it comes to my photos.
No really, it’s because I want to be able to control EXACTLY how my photo turns out.
A JPEG file (even though it is smaller in size and therefore takes up less room on your hard drive), is slightly processed by your camera. You can immediately post it to the web, and it looks good. BUT, everytime you manipulate it( even slightly) you loose data. EVERYTIME.
A RAW file ( a HUMUNGOUS file that will have you investing in lots of external hard drives) comes out of your camera unprocessed, not suitable for printing or exporting to the web immediately and needs to be processed by your computer.
But you get all the data. And you can do so much with all that data. Including fixing your white balance.
Now, your main goal as a photographer should be to get your photo right in camera. Meaning, you should only have to do minimal post processing.
And I try, really really hard.
But sometimes, you need just a little help.
And when you shoot RAW, man can you help yourself!
Remember that white balance is basically the temperature of light in your photo. So if your photo is overly blue/cool or yellow/warm…you can fix that beautifully when you shoot RAW.
Let me show you an example. This photo is one I took when we took our trip to the Aquarium earlier this summer. The water gave all of the photos I took that day a very blueish cast. This is SOOC( straight out of camera):
And here is that same photo when I pulled it into Lightroom and “corrected” my white balance..
And remember, all I did was to correct the white balance. Nothing else. It’s nowhere near perfect, but what a difference!
This was our first trip to the Aquarium with Pookah, so I really wanted to get great photos of the visit. Of course, we had a hard time that day so I didn’t get many. But, if I had shot in JPEG, there really would have been no saving this or any other of the photos I took that day. But next time I’ll have no fear that I’ll be able to make my photos look the best they can be, because I shoot RAW.
What about you guys? Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? And why?