A quick introduction to shooting digital images in RAW Most advanced cameras can shoot in RAW Some cameras can shoot in RAW + JPEG Most cameras offer the ability to convert a RAW images into JPEG’s directly in the camera. To shoot in RAW you must set your camera to shoot in RAW before you take the photo. You cannot convert a non RAW file to a RAW file and achieve the abilities of RAW. RAW is often referred to as digital negative. RAW is the data your camera captured from the sensor when you take a photo. You can think of a RAW image similar to undeveloped film. The information to create an image is there but it is not usable yet. RAW images are not processed much if at all. RAW data is usually not compressed which means the data make take up a little more space. A JPEG image is a finalized image. The data from the camera’s sensor has been processed into a pixel image. A JPEG image is compressed. A JPEG file is a complete and is ready for distribution or use. RAW larger files – JPEG Compressed Files RAW retains more detail in highlight and shadows. RAW contains more color detail for more accurate colors. RAW requires processing – JPEG is ready to go RAW allows camera settings like white balance to be changed during processing. RAW offers larger flexibility in editing photos. Which is better really comes down to what you want out of the picture you are taking. Use JPEG if you just want to record an event. Use JPEG if you don’t want to spend a lot of time editing photos. Use JPEG if you need to save space. Use RAW if you want to add artistic interpretation. Use RAW if the image contains difficult exposures. Use RAW if you want more control of what the photo looks like. Noise is easier to remove in RAW images. RAW is sensor data not pixels so no pixel editing techniques may be used. This includes: Layers Collages Text/Shapes Boarders RAW images must be developed and exported to a pixel image such as TIFF or JPEG before using the above techniques. To view RAW images you need software that can interpreted your camera’s RAW format. Most camera maker uses their own proprietary format to store the RAW data Adobe’s DNG format is quickly gaining popularity as a RAW format. At first RAW may look unpolished and flat. Adobe: Photoshop/Elements/Lightroom Adobe RAW to DNG Converter Software from you camera manufacture (like Nikon’s ViewNX or ViewNX2) GIMP with UFRaw Many other programs offer RAW abilities or conversion. Lets take for example a photo you took that had over and under exposed areas. Your camera may not correctly identify the white balance and detail is blow in the over and under exposed areas. Editing RAW often yields better results than editing JPEG files. Look at the following example. These are just a few of the options when editing RAW. RAW has become the favorite format for many professional photographers and is gaining popularity among the general public. As its popularity increases the demands for editing RAW increases and the boundaries between RAW development and pixel editing is becoming blurred. RAW processing programs are getting better and better with how they handle RAW images. Many companies and clients are requiring their photographers use RAW for achieving originals.