You have your SLR Camera. You understand some of your manual settings. Now the question is what is RAW, why shoot in RAW why not just shoot in jpeg. RAW is a professional photo format right. Absolutely not. Read this week's blog to understand why shooting RAW will help you improve your photography and smooth out your editing problems.
Most SLR cameras and some higher end point and shoots allow you to shoot in jpeg format or RAW, and the biggest difference between the two formats is the amount of information that is stored. On my Canon I have the ability to shoot both at the same time which is the preference I use. The true beauty of shooting in RAW is you can control so much more of your post production work. Whenever you make adjustments to a photo in jpeg and save the file you lose just a little more information at a time, something to do with pixels being compressed. Let's face it there is nothing more frustrating than taking a photo and when you download it from the memory card you realize the white balance was a little off, or your exposure was over/under by a half stop, or any other little detail that might make the shot mediocre at best. After all you took your time, composed the shot, checked your white balance and your exposure, it should have been perfect but it's just off by a bit. In steps post production, you can see 7 Steps to Lightroom Magic for some tips. Post production is your friend and nothing makes it easier than working with a RAW file, the amount of detail that is captured and can be brought out of a photo is amazing.
This photo was taken at Harrison Lake, a place I love to wander around, and was all but lost due to the underexposure of the shot. It was a very bright back light that caused this couple, enjoying the rainy day, to become significantly underexpose. Now I realized this as soon as the shot was taken but before I could correct the problem they moved on. This is not a problem for me as I do shoot RAW and I knew that although the camera exposure sensor was tricked I could fix the photo in Lightroom and save this very candid moment. That's what the value of RAW is, saving a photo that needs just a bit of help.
There are other values to shooting RAW that I have not gotten into this week. Perhaps another time I will revisit this subject. If there is a question about the RAW vs. Jpeg please leave a comment or drop me a line.