The RAW Deal

Welcome readers. Here we plan to talk about everything to do with photography and Adobe Photoshop. The big thing everyone’s talking about these days is shooting in raw.
What the hell is RAW anyway? RAW is really just what it says, it’s the raw image taken from your camera image sensor after you take a picture. There has been hardly any processing done to it and you get an image exactly the way the camera has seen it.

You see, when your camera saves you image as a JPEG it is making adjustments to the picture, performing compression algorithms and colour adjustments with complex algorithms to finally produce this compact JPEG we have grown to know and love. Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with JPEG but if you’re going to get more serious about this photography thing we need to get serious and raw!

The RAW benefits

There would be no point in telling you about RAW if there weren’t more benefits to it so let’s get started on those. Working in this format gives you the ability to edit your image while leaving the original raw image data unchanged. The settings for exposure, white balance, sharpening, etc are saved in a metafile which allows for the preservation of the original image.

Higher image quality is another benefit of using the raw file format. Since there is now less processing being done on the image beyond the initial capture on the sensor your image now has a much higher quality than it JPEG counterpart.

The major thing is about how much more flexibility you earn from using RAW files. Because of this you will now be able to create much more compelling images and photos than you knew you could. Not to mention how easy it is to do it!

The dRAWbacks

Naturally there are a few drawbacks to everything and RAW is no exception. Camera RAW files are typically 2 – 6 and sometimes 10 times larger than JPEG files. This is of course expected as raw formats avoid the compression inherent in JPEG, fewer images will fit on your memory card and hard drive.

Additionally there is no standard raw format available. Each camera manufacturer has developed its own version of RAW format but Adobe Photoshop tries very hard to keep up to date with all camera versions. There has been effort to standardise the raw format to the Digital Negative (DNG) open non proprietary format proposed by Adobe.

Lastly, another drawback is the workflow time. Use of RAW files is a lengthy process most times since you are working with so much more data. Therefore if you are in a situation where time is an important factor then working with raw files would not be the best thing. In situations like those it is best to shoot in JPEG to shorten your workflow time.