amp templates

I shoot RAW...Do you shoot RAW?
17. April 2015

... Why?

Have you tried recooking an already well done steak to your liking? Get a raw steak from the butcher and cook it to your liking! That's why I like to shoot raw!

My NX300M is away to the service and I have rented an Olympus OM-D EM5 for the time being.

In the wake of this time with another camera, I came to think about one of those Internet truths: Olympus jpgs are so good, you don't have to use raw and process your pictures anymore.

I shoot raw since I started using DSLRs. One reason has always been, that I don't want to lose any information which I might miss later in post processing. The other reason is that my first DSLRs were so old (the NikonD1 was introduced in 2000), they just had crappy jpg processing. That's why I started shooting raw exclusively and developed my workflow around only shooting raw.
When I look at the jpgs from a friend and fellow Samsung shooter, they are usable and sometimes really nice but always feel to me as if there could have been something better coming from the sensor.

The advantage of a raw file over a jpg is that things like color, whitebalance, contrast, saturation and exposure are not totally fixed. Especially whitebalance , color and Saturation can be adjusted freely afterwards.

The best way to take great photos still lies in nailing as much as possible in the moment you hit the shutter release. That said, the freedon of shooting raw, lies in the little mistakes you can correct afterwards. Forgot to set the whitebalance back from thungsten? No problem in raw! The highlights are blow out in the sky? Most of them can be brought back in post if you shot raw!

When I teach my lessons to people using iPhoto and shooting jpgs, I tell them that they don't need to change their file formats as developing a workflow is about the organisation skills and getting the result you love. If you already get those results fine, than enjoy the better file handling, most modern raw converters, like Aperture give you and keep shooting but try out raw some time, to see if you can do even better in post!

I shot some jpgs and raws with the OM-D and eventhough, the jpgs where nice and showed some lovely colors, there have been blown out areas and color tints, that I needed the raw file to get rid off.

These two pictures show, what you can do in post with a raw file compared to the jpeg. First the jpg, purposely underexposed by 2 EV and then the raw, same exposure but later recovered in Lightroom. This is a simply example but it will happen often enough that you turn the camera around, and snap a photo of a moment never coming back, to find it way to underexposed or overexposed. With raw, you can save this moment. 

OM-D jpg

OM-D Raw

These two pictures show, what you can do in post with a raw file compared to the jpeg. First the jpg, purposely underexposed by 2 EV and then the raw, same exposure but later recovered in Lightroom. This is a simply example but it will happen often enough that you turn the camera around, and snap a photo of a moment never coming back, to find it way to underexposed or overexposed. With raw, you can save this moment.

Now you may start telling me that you can do a lot of this in Photoshop with the jpg as well and I have to give it to the Photoshop gurus, who can do wonders on jpg. I can't do that myself and if I am allowed to look those guys over the shoulder, they take much more time to achieve the same results, that I can get easily in my raw workflow.
Another example of the advantage of raw vs jpg: These next two pictures were taken with my smartphone. Yes, my Lumia 930 shoots raw, which is one of the reasons I chose it! As you can see, the dull jpeg (1st) ist greatly improved when I do some work on the raw file (2nd).

Lumia before

Lumia After

started with a dull image with a little distortion and a much to bright sky and ended up with a contrasty image, with blue sky and more realistic shadows.

Bottom line: Shooting raw gives you the freedom in editing and it makes life easier most of the time but it is no excuse for bad practice!