Raw Tuesday: the honest truth on what raw files can do for your photography

How and Why To Shoot Raw: the full truth on what raw can do for your photos

What’s the most useful thing I can do with a raw file that I can’t with a JPEG?

 

The most useful thing you can do with a raw file that you can't with a JPEG

Raw’s biggest advantages lie in its ability to rescue highlight (and shadow) detail, and to control the white balance in images.

The extra information contained in raw files compared with JPEGs means that they are much better at dealing with high-contrast scenes, such as the one above at the top of this page.

Although it’s possible to boost the shadow detail in a JPEG, this often comes with a large increase in image noise. With a raw file you can reveal shadow detail and still achieve high-quality results.

You can use the highlight recovery tools in Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements to get a little more highlight detail from a JPEG image, but you’ll recover much more if you shoot raw.

Remember, the files contain more information to start with, which can then be recovered using raw-conversion software.

With raw you can also change white balance after the shot. While it’s possible to adjust the colour balance of a JPEG image, the process is crude and destructive compared to that of a raw file edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

PAGE 1: What are the advantages and disadvantages of shooting raw?
PAGE 2: What’s the most useful thing I can do with a raw file that I can’t with a JPEG?
PAGE 3: All professional photographers shoot raw files, don’t they?
PAGE 4: How do I select the option to shoot raw files on my camera?
PAGE 5: Which settings can I ignore and which do I still need to set in-camera?

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