Why Shoot RAW?
As we’ve discussed on Cole’s Classroom before, there are many reasons as to why shoot RAW vs shooting JPEG, but in my opinion without a doubt the top reason to shoot RAW is for the extra flexibility you have in post processing. Since a RAW file contains an exponentially larger amount of data within each RAW file (thus massively larger file sizes) there is simply a larger degree of latitude and adjusting you can do while post processing that you couldn’t achieve with JPEGs.
During our last engagement session for one of our couples I had a cool silhouette shot in my mind, it had awesome dramatic clouds and sky, rich color and a rad pier in the background – so I shot the photo underexposed by 1.5 stops or so and went on with the shoot. It wasn’t until I got to my computer and started editing that I realized I didn’t really want a silhouette shot after all, I wanted something more soft and natural looking. My initial thought to myself was there is no way that I can turn this photo around, the exposure was too far off….but that wasn’t the case, and it wasn’t the case because I shot RAW and at ISO 100 on my D800…
Here is a step by step (& video below) sequence of how I edited this photo from start to finish so you can see the transformation.
Original Image & Technical Details – Nikon D800, ISO 100, 85 1.8G lens @ f/2.5, 1/6400th
Step 1 – Exposure Corrections
Step 2 – Adjusting White Balance to Personal Preference – I wanted to warm up image and make more sunset looking
Step 3 – Adjust Horizon & Straighten – One of the new develop tools in Lightroom 5 is the one-click auto straighten/adjust feature, it works awesome!
Step 4 – Use Radial Filter for Final Background Adjustments – Another new tool in Lightroom 5, one of my favorite new features is the Radial Tool allowing for selective adjustments by selecting which areas to NOT adjust and then adjust all other areas of image!
Well there you have it, a visual example showing what I feel is the biggest reason to shoot RAW vs JPEG. I hope you have enjoyed this quick tutorial! Now its your turn – what is YOUR favorite reason to shoot RAW? Or do you prefer to shoot JPEG?