I once saw a conversation about RAW vs JPG going on in a photography Facebook group. The question was, “Should I shoot in RAW or JPG?” And the photographer in question was stating that he only shot in jpeg – not only did he get more shots on his card, but he felt RAW gave no benefit to him.
Large files – are they worth it?
I have a particular fondness of my work. I have several drives that save every photograph I’ve ever taken, and sometimes I sift through older works and edit them with my MCP Photoshop Actions, just to see how they look. Other photographers have a time limit and delete files after a certain length of time. I could never do this – that work is, a part of me. Storage is a little tough for me since I shoot in RAW. Each edited image has four copies – The RAW, the PSD of my editing process, the high res jpeg saved out, and the low res for internet use. Sometimes there is an extra copy where I make a collage of several images together. Each image folder from a session is a gigabyte or more in size.
I shoot in RAW even though it takes up more space. It allows you to do things after the fact that a jpg won’t… In short, it provides photographers with flexibility and a margin for error.
Raw saves the day…
In June of this year, at a session I did for free, I decided not to set up lights. It was a mistake as there was not enough light, even at a higher ISO. This is the RAW image, SOOC. It was the darkest image from the whole session, as her placement in this pose put her off the ground and at a different position from the window than the others. As you can see it is way under-exposed and really should be a deleted picture. But…it is fun to push the editing limits.
If this was a jpg, this would have been the result in Photoshop or Lightroom after increasing the exposure. Not acceptable.
This image isn’t useable. It isn’t even worth saving – it’s the kind of image I wouldn’t feel bad about permanently deleting because no amount of Photoshop wizardry on any level can enhance data where there isn’t any. This simply isn’t saveable.
UNLESS…. I shot in RAW… which I did. Here is the same image with exposure increased in ACR (Lightroom would get the same results). This is the image that comes out of it.
Not the best image by any means. I had better images from the session, but this ended up being one of mom’s favorite images of her baby girl. Once I had this image, I applied edits to it with MCP Actions.
- Number one, I applied One Click Color from the Fusion set at 50% opacity.
- Number two, I masked Hush the Reds and Hush Jaundice onto the face from the Newborn Necessities Photoshop action set. Reds at 29%, Jaundice at 42%.
- Number three, I applied Natural Vignette from Newborn Necessities at 53%.
- Number four, I masked Increase Opacity to Darken onto the wrap from the Newborn Necessities set.
Here again is the final image:
If you shoot RAW, and accidently underexpose (even by a lot), you can see how Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop can get you great results. Those little tweaks in color balance, exposure and contrast help your images in ways you wouldn’t realize until you tried it! Every once in a while, a shoot turns out some darker images. I am glad that I have a raw file and MCP Actions to help it.