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

Which settings can I ignore, and which do I still need to set in-camera if I’m shooting raw?


Fine-tuning raw files: original image     Fine-tuning raw files: final image after editing white balance in raw
The ability to fine-tune white balance in raw is great for warming up portraits as we’ve done here with our original raw file (left) and final shot (right).

It’s true you can change many settings when you convert your raw images on the computer, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ignore them all when you take your shots – especially when it comes to exposure.

Even a raw file can only hold so much tonal information, so you must still expose your images correctly.

It’s also worth setting the white balance accurately, for two reasons. First, getting white balance right will save you time when you come to convert your images, because most raw converters can use the white balance from the camera as the default value; and second, the white balance you choose will affect the range of tones in your image, which can affect the exposure.

Most of the other settings, such as sharpening, High ISO Noise Reduction and even the colour space are only used as tags on the raw image, so they don’t directly affect the file.

This means that if you open your image in your camera manufacturer’s raw-processing software these settings can be applied as default, but you have the option of changing them when you process the image.

One exception is the Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature. This exposes a second dark frame after the main exposure to reduce noise during long exposures, and this data is used for raw as well as JPEG images.

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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