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Shooting Raw is the only way…

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Shooting Raw is the only way…

According to Jamie Taylor of SouthCape Photography, shooting Raw is not an option. It is a necessity. And while you may feel it is or strongly that it is not, I love her dedication and the way she argues her point below. Enjoy!

Camera Raw is an unprocessed, uncompressed raw file.

Jpeg is a processed and compressed file.

Now, Let’s explore the two.

When you shoot in jpeg mode, you are taking your file and processing it in camera – that means, adding color wonkiness, keeping your photo either under-/over exposed and compressing the heck out of it. These changes are permanent, and although you might be deft at the adjustments menu, you will always lose out on detail.

When a file compresses, be it by computer or camera, it looks to find like pixels (pixels that are deemed extra, because there are others that are like it in an area) and it throws them away, in the trashcan, forever. This is how it makes a really large file small.

What is that I hear you say? If they were the same pixels, then it shouldn’t matter, right? Wrong. By compressing your photo, you are taking away very valuable detail. Think sharp over tack sharp.

And, as we all know, or should, when you process a photo that has less than perfect exposure (or anything really), the results can leave you frustrated – noise, artifacts and weird colors to say the least.

Bottom line, when you save in jpeg, you commit to whatever it may look like when you press that shutter.

Camera RAW

I am not really so sure why people are scared of this. Especially, when of all things, there is an ability to capture RAW+JPeg, it’s a win win for those that are afraid of the unknown.

Well, now to the enlightening part. Read it out loud, look in the mirror & say it ten times, in fact, make sure these are the first words any of your (future, considering) children say. RAW IS YOUR FRIEND

Raw may sound mean but he is not going to: chew your photo’s up, make all your subject’s Cyclops’, break your camera or scare little children. What RAW will do is allow to you fix those little mistakes without any loss to the quality of your picture. That’s right, you heard it, RAW is lossless.

Why is RAW lossless? Well, because unlike jpeg over there, RAW minds his business and doesn’t mess with your photos. RAW captures the scene as is, at full strength and then lets you decide how to process it.

Not to mention, RAW’s personal life statement is, “Size does matter”.

Processing RAW

Do you even know how easy it is to edit a RAW image? (and yes, I am talking to all you RAW haters) Seriously, listen to this.

1. In any (well, any I have tried) RAW editing programs, all of your adjustments are on one screen. No Menus, nothing. Just straight out, in your face, BAM.

2. NO clicking. What the heck are you talking about, you crazy lady..? Well, RAW programs use slider’s to make all your edits. Slide to the left, slide to the right. Don’t like the results? Slide it back. No harm, nothing is permanent (until you save it, of course, because then it becomes… a jpeg)

3. Raw can instantly fix funky WB issues and minor to moderate exposure problems. But wait, there’s more. For only 6 payments of $49.99 each, you will get the option of sliding your way into photo heaven, with, clarity, curves, tint, sat, vibrance, sharpness, color calibration, fringe removal and much, much more.
4. But, I like my actions. GOOD for you! They are just called presets in a RAW program!

5. Your broke you say? From buying all this equipment (and those glorious actions)? Never fear, Rawtherapee to the rescue. www.rawtherapee.com has a program similar to Lightroom, and get this, it’s FREE. No trial, no hidden tricks, just free. (and its rather good, too)

So, now, after reading this, you only have one option. To shoot in RAW. And if you don’t, JPeg will hunt down your pictures and make them scream UNCLE!

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  1. Amanda
    July 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm —

    I’m still new to all of this so this might seem like a stupid question. Can you still use MCP actions on a RAW file?

  2. Jennifer B
    July 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm —

    Hmm… this was a good post, very interesting, and actually pretty persuading. The question is, should I shoot RAW at my shoot today and then learn the program, or shoot JPEG today, learn the program, and shoot RAW at the next shoot??

  3. July 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm —

    Jennifer – how about use RAW + large jpg. That way if you have your jpgs there, just in case you are overwhelmed.

    Amanda – yes – sort of. You would not use them in camera raw. You could adjust exposure and white balance in ACR or LR and then export into PS and use them. That is what I do.

  4. July 16, 2009 at 8:13 pm —

    Photographers do it better in the RAW

  5. July 17, 2009 at 12:14 am —

    my lightroom locks up when i upload raw files. im sad.

  6. July 17, 2009 at 1:24 am —

    Great Post! And yes, photographers do do it better in RAW! LOL!

  7. July 17, 2009 at 2:02 am —

    Great post Jodi! I agree with every single point here!

  8. Vanessa Segars
    July 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm —

    I always thought of shooting RAW as cookie dough you could bake however you wanted (TIFF, PSD, JPG), but shooting JPG was getting the cookies already baked by your camera. Most people are better bakers than their camera.

  9. Jack Sugrue
    July 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm —

    Great article. I know that Raw Therapee has a User Manual on their site, but can someone give some basics for what to do first in RT (or ACR or LR)? There are so many adjustments available when working with raw that I never know where to start.

  10. Jennifer B
    July 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm —

    I tried saving my RAW photos as tif files after adjusting exposure, etc. in my computer. Then opened them in Photoshop, and I couldn’t edit them! Did I do something wrong? I only have PS7, will it only allow editing on jpgs?

  11. June 24, 2010 at 10:21 am —

    Superb article. Thanks!

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Shooting Raw is the only way…