Photography tips – the RAW deal

I have been asked a few times whether or not I shoot RAW.  This file format is normally only available on DSLR’s and it is the unprocessed digital file.  Your camera makes adjustments and corrections to the JPG file, even before PSE/CS3 touches it.  This unprocessed file allows you much greater lattitude in processing than a jpg file would.  It’s also much bigger and requires additional processing steps.

I have not tried shooting RAW yet.  I am planning on doing it at some point, but I need a bit better computer for that.  Right now my computer is pretty much maxed out.  When I get a new fangled computer, I will be downloading ACR (Adobe Camera Raw), which is a free program.  It allows you to process the photos in batches, make adjustments to all photos at once, and then save all as jpgs.  You can also set up presets that you would normally do to each photo and run them.

If you have registered on ILP, there is a great tutorial on starting in on RAW.  If you haven’t registered on that site yet, you need to spend some time over there.  There is a lot of good information.  (After you register you need to post once on the Introductions forum before you will see the rest of the site).

If you shoot RAW I would love to hear what you think of the file type and if you think it has helped your photography.  Feel free to post to a discussion on your own site. 🙂

9 Replies to “Photography tips – the RAW deal”

  1. I’ve only switched over the last month or so. It is THE best! I’ve been shooting fine jpg’s since I bought the camera four years ago- yes, I’m due for a new one- and I have loved the immediacy of them. Despite the camera regeneration time required shooting RAW and the extra download time I am so much happier with the images. While I do shoot manual, I love knowing I am getting the best quality images right out of the gate. I also was not able to get my images accepted at iStock shooting jpg’s- the automatic conversion increased the noise and compression- and now, shooting RAW, they are accepting my images. It was actually what motivated me to switch.
    Anyways, I won’t babble on, just consider me a true, enthusiastic very recent convert. Good luck!
    You can see recent examples at as well as

  2. Hmm. I just always assumed you shot RAW…most folks seem to these days. I don’t. I just haven’t worked up the energy to add yet another step to an already packed schedule! And, often, my photos aren’t photoshopped, so if I had shot RAW I’d still have to fool with them, whereas shooting JPEG I don’t.

    As far as stock goes, I do have some listed with Photoshelter, and they had no issue with my submissions, all shot in JPEG.

  3. Thanks Stacy, you’re the best for jumping on this so quickly! I will definitely have to download ACR – I hadn’t realized it’s a free program, and the program that came with my camera is just a 30 day trial. I am still a bit overwhelmed to make the jump, but want to at least give it a try. TIME is my only issue!!

    Oh, and ILP…I joined a couple months back, but never find the time to log on. Which sucks, as I know there’s lots of good info there, and the potential for a lot of helpful CC.

  4. I started using RAW with my P&S (Canon G9) back in January. It made a huge difference in the limitations of that camera! But, I always shoot in RAW+JPG so I can just take the JPG image and use it if I don’t want to mess with RAW for a particular picture. That way I don’t have to ad an extra step unless I need to! I love it for correcting errors in exposure or color hues…it is so specific and works great without degrading the quality of the image. I’ve also heard that if you shoot in RAW and then compress it into JPG yourself, even without any changes that the image will be better…Haven’t actually tried to compare yet, but I may have to do that!!

  5. Oh one more thing…Since getting my D80, I haven’t used RAW quite as much because the SOOC images are so much better and if time is limited, I just go straight to the JPG.

  6. You know I’m a strong pusher for RAW. I’ve been shooting RAW for about 10 months now. If only I had known earlier to do so!! White balance is a breeze to fix in RAW… much harder and sometimes undoable with an in-camera compressed JPG. You can also recover lost details in highlight and shadows and all the colour changes you make are much better with RAW.

    It’s true that there are some cons with RAW but that only has to do with ease of use rather than quality. First and foremost, you need a fast computer and good software to handle it. I should check out ACR one day! But, as you know, I’m a Lightroom fanatic. I do all my processing with it and since Lightroom processes RAW, I can have the most control over my images. For layering, textures and stuff, I’ll export to JPG and use Photoshop. Even when doing that, I feel uneasy since it’s already been compressed.

    Anyhoo, try it just once Stacy. And compare it to JPGs when processing. Do it once you see the value in it, not just because it’s expected or whatever.

    Keep us posted! 🙂

  7. I have been DYING to shoot in RAW for months! I haven’t started yet, I’m still trying to find the time to learn all the bells and whistles of my new camera. (so I keep forgetting to set it to RAW or RAW +Jpeg) I friend asked me to snap some pictures for him for a CD cover – so I’ll see what I come up with! EEEK!

  8. I flip back and forth…sometimes I’ll “try out” RAW, but usually shoot jpg. I do however love ACR. It is a very sweet program. I have abandoned iPhoto and am strictly using Bridge/Camera Raw/Photoshop now…it is all seamless and makes the workflow much easier.

  9. I will be honest….I tried to shoot in RAW once, and didn’t realize that I would need ACR, and so never did anything with the RAW images. Luckily I used RAW+JPG, or I would have been really bummed.

    I still get a little overwhelmed with manual settings, and the thought of adding another thing to mess with makes me a little overwhelmed.

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