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Top 3 reasons to shoot raw photos with your DSLR

There are dozens of raw formats available in today's digital photography world. Almost every DSLR camera these days has the capability to shoot raw photos. As a beginner, you might have encountered these files or heard about them already. But the big question is why shoot raw photos? 
Most common raw formats include ARW, CR2, CR3, NEF, ERF, and PEF. As the name itself suggests, a raw image contains minimally processed data from the image sensor located inside the digital camera. A raw photograph has a lot more digital information as compared to an equivalent jpeg image. Consider raw as an equivalent of negatives if you shoot film. I have been shooting raw since the beginning of my photography journey, and can't say enough good things about it. The only possible discomfort I see about the raw format is the file size, but storage these days is so cheap. A good analogy about shooting raw format is like having raw ingredients when cooking a dish. Out of camera jpeg is like food cooked by someone else based on a few instructions. Let's see what are the benefits offered by raw format: 

1. More leverage to recover a shot that somehow didn't get captured the way we wanted it to be. Yes, we all have been there and it especially gets scary when there is a client involved. Raw format has greater capability to produce a decent looking image from a shot that seemed hard to salvage.

Raw photo converted to jpeg
Jpeg exported from a raw after post-processing
2. Don't have to worry too much about white balance during shoots. With quick lighting changes in the surrounding, setting up the white balance gets tricky in a fast-paced environment such as a wedding. Raw format allows the user to change or adjust the white balance settings later without compromising the quality. 
3. Jpeg coming from the camera has lossy compression applied to it, while the raw file has no compression involved whatsoever. When this raw format file is exported as a jpeg (with processing changes) it will yield a better quality looking jpeg image. A raw file can be converted into so many other formats as well without a major loss in the quality. Post processing is a huge field in itself, shooting raw opens up so many learning opportunities.

Raw dslr photo
Photo originally taken in raw format
Raw format files coming from a DSLR can't be used directly online on the web or as a local media. For this particular reason, some people prefer jpeg over raw. Also, jpegs are way more easy to share and faster to deliver.  Do you also like jpeg too much for the ease of sharing? Shoot raw+jpeg, it gives the best of both worlds. 
Lastly, taking properly exposed images is still important even when shooting raw. Raw format has its limitations, and should never be used as an excuse to take frequent improperly exposed shots. Hope this post will inspire you to get started with taking raw photos. Share the photography love by sharing the post. 


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