RAW format is it a Plus or just a waste of digital space?

posted on 22nd of july, 2009

Regarding RAW format is it a Plus or just an opsolite waste of digital space?

Well lett me tell you from my personal experience. I ALWAYS shoot RAW plus JPEG, ALWAYS!!!

Why? you might ask - the anwser is simple.

JPEG's I use just to see if the composition is right, the light is corect overexposed/underexposed areas and other minute changes in the photo.
RAW's I use EVERY time I need to work on a serious postproduction on the photo like use for brosures, web design, online galery, printed materials and other.

I even shoot RAW for scenes from my personal life, You never know when you might end up using that digital negative. :) RAW is practicly that a digital negative, the main diference is that every color on the sensor is captured in it's layer (if you use the Canon EOS system since they first intruduced the CMOS sensor which had this ability), thus giving you much more to work with when you open the RAW format in any program specialised for RAW postproduction (Adobe Bridge and Light Room, Canon's own RAW program - Digital Photo Professional and others).

RAW enables you to corect a bundle of things in your foto with just a few sliders. The only thing that you can't corect are focus mistakes! :)
Everything else posible :) it's the easiest way to achive corection of autowhite balance, to add more hue or saturation, brightnes contrast, color balance and many many other things. Some intresting options also are removal of vingeting on the edges of the pictures, color aberations with some cheaper lensens, all of this you are able to do in just a few clicks in RAW file.

The added comfort to edit every color layer separatly will bring you more vivid photos in no time at all, and whats best you can save your presets for future use, exelent option if you are shoting a lot of photos in similar light conditions like product shots, studio portrait photography and similar.

If you tend to go for biger file size and biger photo dimensions you could try to make a High dynamic range imaging composite by using exposure bracketing and post-processing the separate images to create a single image with a higher dynamic range.
You can visit some of these sites to see waht i'm talking about:
High Dynamic Range - Wikipedia article

On HD Photo you can check:
HD Photo - Wikipedia article

Or you can download the Photoshop® plugin at:
HD plug in for Photoshop®

Or you can go for photostiching to create panoramas from multiple images or large size photo compositions of multiple images taken of a subject (instead of going wide go tele and make few shots of the subject details and later on stich them in a single photo composite).

As an example you can check out my photo at:
Panoramio - Panorama of Skopje City square
Panorama -Skopje City square full resolution
It is a 360 panorama of the city square made with Canon EOS 350D/Rable XT with the regular lense EF 18-55mm, camera was held Portrait oriented I shoot around 32 shots in circuit around me. The rest was done by AutoPano Pro a software for creation of Panoramas from shots like this. It's not perfect but it gives some fast and impresive results.

I hope this post will help you in your work.

Best wishes,


Comments (10)

Posted by Madbuldog on July 24, 2009
You are wellcome it was my pleasure, I'm glad that you appritiate the advice and I hoope it will help you in your work.
Posted by Littlemacproductions on July 24, 2009
Thanks for that detailed explaination of shooting both RAW and JPEG. Now that you mention it, I do really appreciate the time savings mentioned if you have a JPEG ready to share quickly. Normally I post process then save as a TIFF to pass on. The JPEG would suffice as well at least for the composition and for the client choosing which shots they want.

Thanks again!
Posted by Madbuldog on July 24, 2009
Thank you all for your comments and support, as for Littlemacproductions thank you for your question, as I mentioned before most of the time i use RAW + JPEG mainly to check if the composition is right, the light is correct overexposed/underexposed areas and other minute changes in the photo.
This depends on whether you are shooting outdoors or in a studio, if you shoot outdoors and your work depends on a fast workflow process (Sports, Fashion, On Site shoot for a client) you need to check fast whether you got it right. Plus the added value if something is not quite right you got both formats with you, if you need to share your photos fast with your client, your model or someone else and working on a tight time frame you give them the JPEG's and use the RAW's latter on in the post-production (development) process.
If you shoot in the studio you are probably already using some system for fast transfer (wired or wireless) your shots to the PC or MAC directly to a software that can process...(More)
Posted by Littlemacproductions on July 24, 2009
I shoot RAW with my DSLR and JPEG with my point and shoot. I am curious about your comment on shooting both RAW and JPEG. The RAW part I get.. but can't you check the res, comp, etc on your RAW file? Maybe I need to shoot both too.. I just need convincing.
Posted by Aravindteki on July 24, 2009
Thank you for the information...
Posted by Hlehnerer on July 23, 2009
Very useful blog!
Posted by Asyan on July 23, 2009
Thanks for sharing! Useful!
Posted by Wildmac on July 22, 2009
Great Blog! Thanks for sharing :0)
Posted by Littledesire on July 22, 2009
Hi again! Great blog!
Since I have my DSLR, I shoot only in RAW ... I have nothing else to add to what you've already said! Shoot in RAW and enjoy it!
Posted by Dmccale on July 22, 2009
Thanks for the info.I shoot in raw most of the time.

Comments (10)

This article has been read 2169 times. 4 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Novak Dimitrovski.

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Master of Fine Arts - Major subject Sculpture - Minor Graphical Design (with Illustration and Photography)

Skopje, MK

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