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Pros & Cons of Shooting in RAW: What you Need to Know Today

Rating: 4.71 based on 7 Ratings
Michael Moodie
  By Michael Moodie
Pros & Cons of Shooting in RAW: What you Need to Know Today www.sleeklens.com

Time to step into that big boy or big girl shoes and explore the world of shooting in RAW format. As a young photographer slowly learning the craft, I can recall always being told or instructed rather shoot in raw and use Lightroom to do my editing. Safe to say it took me a little while before I started to listen and even then up to this day I haven’t been interested in Lightroom, but none the less use it from time to time because it’s a quick editing tool that helps you to be organized.

I transitioned over into shooting in RAW format rather slow and cautiously because I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into and well after about a week of testing it out, I ended up liking it. Mind you there are still photographer up to today that doesn’t shoot in RAW and rather sticks to JPEG and if you are one of those photographers that are completely fine. However, in this article, I will try to help you gain some perspective as to what are the advantages and disadvantages of shooting in raw format then leave it up to you to decide. Change is always scary, but change is how growth happens so give it a shot at the end of this article and if you’re not into it then keep on doing your thing but if otherwise, welcome to the dark side, just kidding. So let’s start off by giving you an Idea as to what the pros are of shooting in RAW format on your DSLR camera.

Pros:

1. When your camera is set to shoot in RAW format, you get the highest quality your camera can give. This is because it is recording all the information from the sensor without performing any compression as it would with a JPEG file.

2. Shooting in RAW gives you more freedom in post production to correct any mistakes that may have been made in regards to anything from white balance to your exposure level. I was so surprised the options that were opened up to me when I first decided to shoot in RAW format. You can pretty much correct anything you need. We are humans after all so not everything we do will come out perfect but having the tools to correct those mistakes are very crucial. If shot a few weddings and birthdays and in the environments, everything is going so fast to the point I forget to adjust the aperture, shutter speed or ISO on my camera. I ultimately end up sometimes with some horrible underexposed shots or some blinding overexposed ones. If not for RAW format these would have been complete hell to edit in photoshop as I would end up with layers on top of layers just to fix my lighting, then at the end probably end up with a lower quality image than what I took earlier. So if you make mistakes like me then shooting in RAW will be your best friend.

3. Along with all the other thing the RAW format enables you to adjust, the best of them all would have to be sharpness and noise reduction. Nobody likes a dull or noise filter image so fixing this in post production is a habit.

4. After doing post production tune ups on your image and saving them, we sometimes find where there was something else we should have changed or an aspect of the image that we maybe should have tweaked a little bit. RAW format also gives us this freedom to go back and readjust all the changes we made earlier in our image. Sadly this characteristic isn’t shared with JPEG files as the more you open them, adjust components and then save again, the image loses its quality more and more. So if you want to be free to revisit your images as much as you’d like but still keep image quality, the RAW format is definitely for you.

5. Lastly, as a professional photographer, we need to be giving our clients the highest possible quality we can just in case they plan to print or use them for other reason. Not bashing the Pro’s who use JPEG and use it well but in my personal opinion, I think it’s more of a pro move to use RAW format and provide your clients with the best they could ask for.

Cons:

1. Being that these files carry more raw information and data, they tend to take up a lot more space than a JPEG file. Remember it is giving you everything as is and hasn’t been compressed. So if you plan to shoot RAW for an entire session, I only hope you have a few extra memory cards or a huge one for all that space it’s about to take up.

2. Your camera might take a bit more time recording the information from the sensor than a JPEG would. Again reason being that the file is so large and the information is not compressed, your camera will be doing its best to write this information to the memory card as fast as possible. This might pose an issue depending on the nature of the event you’re at whether it’s a sporting event or party. If you’re doing continuous shooting, you may find a few points where your camera says busy or recording and you can’t really much than to just wait. This can be annoying at times and a huge inconvenience to clients.

Well, I hope this article has given you an insight as to if shooting RAW is best for you or you choose to stay in the world of JPEG. The choice is ultimately yours so don’t be scared to test it out. Thank you for stopping by and giving this article a read, until next time!

Rating: 4.71 based on 7 Ratings
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Michael Moodie
Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

Comments (2)

  1. Liutger Franzen Guest
     

    I’d like to add one very important con: you don’t have a JPEG right away! My recommendation would be to use the RAW+JPEG setting if your camera supports it: that way you have a RAW “negative” and at the same time a JPEG to quickly transfer to your phone, share with friends etc.

  2. Paul Ivaska Guest
     

    This was a really great article but when I rated it I wanted to give it 5 stars I accidently gave it a lesser rating. I shoot in raw for his reasons given.

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