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Photography The Newbie Chronicles

The Newbie Chronicles: One Reason Why I Shoot RAW.

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?


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  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    JPEG because I never heard of RAW until today. Boy, I have a lot to learn…guess I will invest in a class when I buy my camera. I do see the difference, it clears it up and I like that. Thanks teacher!
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  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    It’s great to shoot in raw but I respectfully disagree with needing several external hard drives to hold the images. First as one improves as a photographer the number of shots taken declines significantly. Second if one knows what theyre doing as a photographer there is no reason why editing a raw file should take more than seconds. Third after the photos have been edited they get converted to JPG and the RAW files get deleted.

    I’m not saying people can’t store all photos on RAW but it makes no sense. Client shots? Yes store in RAW for a specified period of time. Otherwise. Shoot edit. Convert. Delete. Move on.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Also you can fix your white balance in a jpg file. Just bring it into adobe camera raw. Super easy.
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  • Reply
    Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud
    September 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I agree with Veronica. Shooting in RAW doesn’t require that you own several external drives unless you work professionally and need to save client files. I have a 1 terabyte external drive that’s still got lots of room and I’ve got a slew of client photos, photo challenge images, family images and more.

    I shoot in RAW as well because I need to have control. I’ve worked my butt off to learn how to properly expose, compose and create beautiful photos and it’s a constant learning process. Photography is tough. Really tough. And I refuse to lose any of the control I have over my images by shooting in JPEG. Granted, I do know kick butt photographers who still prefer to shoot JPEG for everyday snapshots and some who prefer to shoot RAW + JPEG. That works for them. It just doesn’t work me.

    With that said, once upon a time I shot in JPEG and did a poor job of nailing white balance in camera. I still managed to correct my white balance and it looked damn good. It is very possible to correct white balance just as well in JPEG. It just takes knowledge and finesse.

    Happy shooting, Lashawn. Hope you’ll be able to join Rebecca and I during our autumn photo challenge.
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    • Reply
      September 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      White balance is my nemesis! That’ s why the post is titled why “I” shoot RAW! 🙂 I agree about getting it right in camera. And I know that you fix it when shooting JPEG, its just so much easier for ME to correct in now that I shoot RAW.
      I can’t wait to join your Autumn challenge! Already looking around for photos to take!

  • Reply
    Nicole P.
    September 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I shoot RAW because I’m a control freak (I think most nurses are!). I do my best to get it right in camera mostly because I just don’t have a lot of time to post process, but shooting RAW helps me correct things that I missed.
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    • Reply
      September 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      That’s me. I’m not perfect with White Balance yet. ( it’s one of those things I’m working on) so that’s just one of the reasons I shot RAW. I found I wasn’t good at correcting it as well when I shot in JPEG. I do do my best to get it right in camera, but I can’t always get it!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

    That’s a huge difference! I feel so bad about my lack of knowledge when if comes to my camera that I won’t comment any further out of sheer embarrassment!
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