During a shoot on location I always make sure to shoot in RAW instead of JPG. Even my Olympus camera that I use for daily shots is always in RAW mode. The reason why I (and many other photographers) prefer this is because RAW captures all the information.
When I got my first DSLR camera 10 years ago, I remember other photographers told me to shoot in RAW and not in JPG. I thought there was no big difference in RAW and JPG, but I was wrong! Shooting in RAW makes your photos look more professional because you are able to edit everything. Say goodbye to over- or under exposed images!
During the shoots I did in Portugal and Barcelona I checked on my Lenovo Ideapad 720S laptop how the RAW photos looked like to make sure I had enough information to edit the photos. You can read in my Portugal post more about the use of a laptop during a shoot!
What is RAW?
RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo. When shooting in JPG, THE information of your photo is compressed and lost. With RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images and you can correct the photos that would be unrecoverable if shot in JPG format.
In the example images I just want to show you how much the highlights and shadows can do for a photo. As you can see there are a lot of options in the RAW edit mode, so you can completely change the look of the photo if you want.
The benefits of RAW
1. Correct over/under exposed photos – Most of the times the light on the model and the foreground are perfect, but the sky is overexposed. As you can see in the photo above the sky in the left photo is just white. After a simple adjustment (I slide the highlights down) the information of the sky is now showing up in the right photo.
2. No image-sharpening is performed on RAW files – This means that you can use better and more complex sharpening tools for your photos in your RAW editing. Look at her eyes, the JPG photo seems more sharp.
3. Record the best levels of brightness – Levels of brightness are the number of steps from black to white in your photo. The more steps, the smoother the transitions of tones. Just to show you the difference: JPEG records 256 levels of brightness, and RAW records between 4,096 to 16,384 levels.
4. Adjust the white balance and colors – With RAW you record more data than JPG, so you can easily adjust the white balance to your photo without destroying it.
5. More details – You can edit your RAW files in Photoshop and Lightroom where you will find the best sharpening and noise algorithms for better results!
6. Capture highest level of quality – When you shoot in RAW you record all of the data from the sensor. That is why you are able to work with the highest quality files. And of course that is what you want! When you shoot in JPG format the camera does it’s own processing and that is not always the best and when you shoot in RAW, you will do that processing yourself. In this way the photo will turn out how you wanted it to be!
In the photo above the difference between light and dark can be a bit too much. It was super easy to make this contrast a bit more natural.
There was a lot of information of the sky in the photo below. Thanks to RAW I can show the blue sky in the final image.
I decided to travel with the Lenovo Ideapad 720S again because it’s a super lightweight, equipped with a high quality matt IPS screen with bright colours and more important, it holds the latest generation of the i7 processor so it’s very fast!
Later on, when I’m back in my studio I will professionally edit the final selection in Camera RAW CC and then in Photoshop or Lightroom. What I would like to show you with this post, is that it is important to check your camera settings and it can be good to check a few photos on your laptop during the day to see if you capture all the RAW information!