Skip to main content

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
Sharing:
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. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Canon CR3 raw format guide

A raw image file is like a digital negative without any lossy compression and minimal processing applied to it. A digital camera shooting images in raw format provides output in the best possible quality, which means files are larger in size and take more space. The benefits offered by shooting raw format overpowers the slight storage hassle though. Few of the well known raw formats include CR2, NEF, RW2, RAF, PEF, ARW, etc.  In this post, we will talk about the new compressed raw format introduced by Canon starting with its mirrorless series of cameras.


History of Canon raw formats
Back in the early 2000s, Canon cameras produced raw photos in CRW format. Example of cameras shooting in CRW include Canon D60, Canon D30, Canon 10D, and Canon EOS 300D. Most of the cameras released after the year 2004 shoot raw photos in CR2 format. Examples of CR2 format Canon cameras include 350D, 6D, 7D, 5D, 5D Mark II and many more.
In 2018, Canon introduced its new mirrorless camera known as the EOS …

Relation between ISO, shutter speed, aperture and light in photography

Photography is a word having Greek roots, which basically means "drawing with light". When I started doing digital photography a few years ago, this did not make sense to me at all. How can you make a picture just using light? Only light matters? My pictures were either black or completely washed out all the time, but I didn't feel like giving up. It took me a fair amount of time to understand controls such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO which was the outcome of non-stop reading and a lot of mistakes. Coming back to the concept of light, it started to make sense after attending a film photography workshop. The dark room with very dim or near to zero red lights was a whole new point of interest. My partner and I made a pinhole camera out of a pumpkin. 
The workshop made me understand how important light is when taking pictures, and the rules apply to both film and digital photography. Basically, the value of shutter speed and aperture directly affect the amount of li…

F2.8 vs F3.5 vs F4 lens aperture comparison with examples

I started the exciting journey of digital photography with 18-55 mm kit lens as my first glass. Being a variable aperture lens, it has a minimum aperture of F3.5 at 18 mm. The lens saw its fair share of adventures and ultimately was replaced with a fixed aperture lens.   Value of aperture is a part of the exposure triangle, which means it affects the amount of light hitting DSLR camera sensor. In addition to light, it also affects the amount of area in focus which is often referred to as Depth of Field. An image taken at F8 will have almost everything in focus when compared to an image taken at F2.8. Before someone jumps on me with their DOF vocabulary, this post is not about depth of field (DOF) in detail discussion. It is a simple comparison post for beginners to understand how lens aperture impacts background blur and low light performance. 
DSLR used: Canon 6D Lens used: Tamron 24-70 mm F2.8 DI VC USD
Bokeh (background blur) comparison:

Comparison animation in the above photo show…