Pro Tip: Shoot RAW, a quick look at the benefits of raw vs jpg


Anyone that knows me knows that shooting RAW is my first rule of better photography. So what’s so great about RAW? Why not shoot JPG? What’s the difference between them? Doesn’t that mean more work for me? Whoa, that’s a lot of questions. Let’s take quick look at the benefits of raw vs jpg.

From film to digital

For those coming to the digital world from film you can think of RAW format like print film (negatives) and JPG format like slide film (positive). When shooting in JPG, like shooting slide film, you need to be extra careful with your exposure and shoot for the highlights. Just like slide film if you blow out the highlights you can’t them back. What you get is what you get. On the other hand shooting RAW is like shooting with print. And like processing print film in the darkroom we have plenty of tools to process our images. Also like print film the RAW format contains much more information that we can access to recover from mistakes and create beautiful images.

But that means more work

The most frequent reason I hear from people that that don’t shoot RAW is that they don’t want to have to post-process all their image. I’m here to tell you the benefits of RAW far outweigh the effort of post-processing. First off you don’t need to process every image. Just the good ones. Second, with apps like Lightroom, Aperture and many others that allow you save presets it’s easy to batch process an entire collection of images with just a click or even easier have them applied on import. Third and most importantly if you need to recover from an exposure error, especially an over-exposure, you’ll have the maximum data to work with. Keep that in mind the next time you head out on that once in a lifetime photo trip.

Tell people you shoot in the “RAW

If those aren’t enough reasons to raw vs jpg, then the look on peoples faces when you tell them you shoot in the raw should do it. If nothing else you may find more people want to come along and shoot with you.

Have fun and GO RAW.