Beginner tips for raw images: 07 You need special software to view
Because a raw file is just a package of data rather than a specific image format, your computer doesn’t immediately know what to do with it.
Unlike a standard format, such as JPEG, a raw file doesn’t contain the information needed for your PC to decode it.
Think of it like the words on a page: the JPEG file is like the finished article containing words, paragraphs and all of the correct punctuation, which means that you can read it easily and make perfect sense out of it.
Raw is like having all of the same letters written down, but not necessarily in the same order, no consistent spacing, and without a structure that you can easily understand.
Even the image you see on the back of the camera when reviewing a photo – and the brightness histogram that goes with it – is a JPEG representation of the raw file, based on the settings used at the time of shooting.
Beginner tips for raw images: 08 Raw images offer non- destructive editing
When you save a JPEG or single-layer TIFF image after editing, all the data from the original file is discarded and re-written.
So once you have closed the image, all of the original data is lost. When you edit a raw file, the new settings are stored alongside the original data.
These settings can be inside the file, or stored in a separate file, which is used by the editing software to remember your last settings.
So you can adjust your original setting indefinitely.