Let’s talk about Shooting RAW.
In my last article I discussed food and cooking here – I can’t guarantee I won’t be foraging for titbits around the pantry again today, however let’s delve a bit further and ask if you like your carrots ‘RAW’ or cooked (can’t believe I said that) In the image below, you see, from left to right
The original RAW Original JPG Worked RAW
You will see that the original RAW looks quite flat and uninviting, the original JPG looks a little brighter with more contrast in the sky and slightly more ooopmh in the purple reflections. See how the worked RAW has a real WOW factor and reveals much more detail in the Opera House sails.
In retrospect, My Greatest Mistake was really a mindset thing – I always thought the whole RAW thing was ‘too complicated’, and at the time I ‘didn’t get’ Photoshop, and I wanted to ‘just take photographs’, not sit at a computer processing images for ages.
To say I had a blinding flash of the obvious was an understatement. RAW is your good old fashioned negative – you can take it, mould it, tweak it, do darkroom skulduggery on it, and print a large-sized photograph from it. Then you can swing hammers into your fingers as you battle to hang it, inevitably not level – in pride of place on your wall. The JPG, on the other hand, is the good old fashioned wallet-sized-at-best 6”x4” only. Did I want to ‘just take photographs’ or ‘make images’?
So, taken one step further; in 2017 at time of writing – who shoots only JPGs in their SLR?
- People who think they are ‘into landscape photography’, but actually really aren’t. That’s not intended as any sort of criticism, just maybe because they haven’t really thought about it
- People who want immediate results – hmm, maybe that is a criticism? 🙂
- People who might not want to ‘shoot for the stars’ in oh-so-many ways…
- There is another category – people taking ‘happy snaps on holiday’ on their SLR. Hang on, I do that, too, so that might an exception
If you think I am being unkind, I’m not intending to be, it’s more of progression-of-technology kind of statement. Real landscape photographers a while back took slides, not film. Or had medium format cameras, not point ‘n’ shoot compacts.
Let’s talk more about 2017 – Image processing can, and should, be more than a one-step process. Instagram is now very much a two-step process with the Choose-Image, then Edit steps. Facebook and iPhone give you editing abilities as a two-step process. With a ‘big camera’, that you paid top dollar for, do you really want a one-step process? Really?
AND! – technically RAW
- Is a much bigger file – that means more info and more pixel-y goodness (I sound just like Jamie Oliver here, innit?)
- Has loads of great detail in hidden in the highlights and/or the shadows just ready for you to extract with a RAW converter – much, much more than a JPG
- Lets you alter the white balance easily to get ‘natural-looking’ images – so if you are shooting sunrise, or middle of the day, or under fluro lighting you can easily alter the unwanted colour casts afterward. It’s a fact – you can’t do that easily in a JPG
OK, there is a downside, RAW files are bigger. They will use up space on your memory cards and fill up your hard disk. Please consider, though, memory cards cost a smidge compared to what you have spent on lenses. And if you have a full hard disk, well, try using the delete button occasionally. Otherwise not only will you have a full disk, but you will have an usable filing system. But that’s another article.
And if you want to take happy snaps on holiday, then do so and JPG away.
Real cooks use flour, eggs, salt, etc to make their pancakes. And they might take longer in the kitchen. They enjoy being there.
Real Landscape Photographers shoot RAW to make their images.
Thanks for reading this far
The Berowra Photographer