Why shoot in RAW?

2 MinutesFriday 16th, October 2020

If you’re starting out in photography you probably have heard about RAW photo format. Most bridge, mirror less and DSLR cameras allow you to shoot in a RAW format, some phone camera apps also now offer this as an option, although you may need to change this in your camera apps settings.

What is RAW?

RAW is the most unprocessed file of your photo, this can have many benefits but has some downsides such as the file size, although this is less of an issue today with larger hard drives and memory cards.

Best for editing 

RAW formats are a much better format for editing your photos, after shooting them as the photo contains much more quality and detail than a processed JPG. If your photo is under or over exposed you can often recover a fair bit of data if the photo has been shot in RAW. 

When you’re editing the RAW photo it's non-destructive editing and more like some instructions as to what the final JPEG or other format you export should be saved.

Less noise

Sharper images and noise reduction goes further with RAW images, allowing for crisper images and less noise in your photos.

Better prints

With RAW your photos will be much higher quality which is great for prints and canvases. Your photo will have better colour and the tones will be more gradual and look much more smooth than a JPEG. 

Future proofed 

Your RAW photos are more future proofed than most other file formats, allowing you to go back to your photos in the future and make adjustments in a non-destructive way. 

Shooting in RAW is a good idea in most cases, but if you’re low on space then sticking with another processed format might be best for you. If you’ve never tried shooting in RAW and editing your RAW photos, I would recommend doing so and testing it out. Some cameras allow you to shoot in both RAW and a processed format that way you could get the best of both worlds.

Meet the author

Tom Howard

Tip by Tom Howard

Tom is an up and coming photographer, who loves to go out on photography adventures with friends and family when he can. He's a full time software engineer by day for a technology company in Brighton and the founder of Snaphints.

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