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Ooh baby I like it RAW July 18, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in photography.

I’m not entirely sold on going all RAW all the time with my digital photos but I think it really is useful in some instances. I’ve found myself really paying attention to the image type/quality settings now depending on what it is I intend on shooting and what I figure I’ll be doing with the photos. I generally shoot in JPEG at the highest quality format just in case I get a really great shot with which I’d like to make a great print. However, for certain things I have used a medium-setting just to get more images. The big adventure, though, was trying RAW.

As usual, Wikipedia has a good article on RAW to fill you in on the details of what the RAW image format is. Basically, RAW stores all kinds of unprocessed data and necessitates some work on your computer before you can share your photos. It gives you a great deal of control and flexibility in your digital darkroom, so you need software that can view and edit RAW images in order to make use of this feature of your camera. The file sizes are quite a bit bigger, so you won’t get nearly as many pictures on your camera.

I first tried using RAW when I was working with some Macro photography. I took photos of a bunch of cufflinks that had belonged to my dad and my grandfather. First I took some time to set things up and then spent some time working with the RAW data on my computer. The programme that my camera came with was Canon Digital Photo Professional. It has some options for working with RAW image data and RGB data. There are some good tutorials and explanations, from the looks of things, on that site.


I managed to do a good job of things working in RAW but I wasn’t quite convinced that RAW was leaps and bounds ahead of working with JPEG, simply, and I managed to create very similar and sometimes even better effects working in JPEG. It may be a comfort-level thing with the programmes I use or it may just be I wasn’t really in the right application of RAW.


After my issues with the lighting in concert photography I decided that the next time I went to watch my friend I would take more shots, this time using RAW so that I could work with things later. I still think the light is so incredibly harsh that I’ll never rid my images of it completely and re-create natural looking images, but in the mean time the colour effect has gone over well with the musician. I think RAW may work best when you know you will have little control over the conditions in which you shoot.

Chad @ Urban Well I: Original Chad @ Urban Well II: White Balance Chad @ Urban Well III: Black & White

The first shot is the original shot, how things really looked – way way red.  What you can see in the black & white version at the right is that the light is actually good, it’s nice and bright, my camera settings for the light are fine.  The red is just so harsh so something has to be done about that.  Since I was shooting in RAW, this time I tried adjusting the white balance to see what kind of colours I could get.  Now I haven’t learned enough to be able to really customize this but it’s not too bad – the result is a kind of interesting tone and I’m quite pleased with the difference.  Trying to adjust the colour levels in JPEG left things far worse, so in comparison I much prefer this.

Still, I mostly like the blakc & white which is something I am able to achieve equally in JPEG.


That’s what I’ve learned so far with RAW – in some instances it is great/ideal even because you may have little control over your surroundings so RAW leaves you with the most flexibility later.


More photo stuff to come soon.. !



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