It doesn’t matter if you’ve been photographing for 10 days or 10 years, we all take photos every now and then that aren’t perfect. The lighting is off or the color just isn’t right. This is exactly why you should shoot your images in RAW. In this post, I am going to explain what a RAW file is and why it is important for the Exposure, highlights & shadows, and the white balance.
More of a visual learner? Hop on over to my YouTube channel to see why I shoot in RAW.
What does “shooting in RAW” mean?
When you take a photo on a digital camera it is recorded in the file type you have selected in your camera setting. The 2 most common are JPEG and RAW. JPEG files are compressed files- which simply means they are much smaller files. JPEG files are great because they can be shared very easily through email and on our phone… but they are compressed files
Now, back to the reason, you’re here: RAW files. What are they? RAW files are massive files with tons of information. Because they are so huge, we can correct or alter the image way more easily than we can a JPEG file. What is the most common thing I correct the most? I am so glad you asked. Let’s start with the exposure of the image.
The #1 reason why I love shooting in RAW is sometimes I take a really good photo but the exposure (or overall lighting of the photo) is off. It might be too dark or too bright. Because I shot in RAW, it is really easy to correct this mistake. If the image were shot in JPEG, the chances of saving the photo would be slim.
Highlight and Shadows
While the exposure of the photo is the overall lighting of an image, the highlights and shadows of a photo refer to the brightest and the darkest parts of the photo. With RAW images you can correct these areas very easily. For example, you may take a photo at the beach and everything looks great in the photo but the sun in the background is absolutely white and is distracting. You can simply pull down the highlights in Adobe Camera Raw to correct this! (BTW: Adobe Camera Raw is what your RAW image will automatically open when you open a RAW file in Photoshop.)
White Balance refers to the temperature of the photo. Does the photo have a really odd yellow tent to it? It’s too warm. Maybe the image is very blue- it’s too cool. This happens *all the time* if you are shooting your white balance in auto. Totally ok though if you shot the image in RAW because you can edit the photo to your liking quickly and easily with Adobe Camera RAW.
So there you have it- why I shoot in RAW. RAW files allow me to easily correct the exposure, highlights & shadows, and white balance. Shooting in JPEG is nice because the images are smaller allowing me to take many more on my SD card before it’s full. However, the chances of me saving a photo that I shot at the wrong settings are slim. Now it’s time to get photographing!
Want to learn more about editing your photos in Photoshop? Join me in Editing Essentials and start editing like a pro! Click here to read all about how moms are loving the power of editing their own photos.