My name is Ben and I shoot Raw. This is a strange statement to make, I feel like I am at an AA meeting and saying something that I should be ashamed of. Where has this come from? Well a Facebook comment feed.
I was on my break yesterday between classes and logged into Facebook for a little bit of information gathering, voyeurism and boredom.
A friend of mine had asked a question about her camera and its raw files working with an older version of Photoshop. Being the helpful person I am, I answered her question but the other comments gave me a shock. There were two in particular from people who had completed degrees in photography and one who I studied with. The argument was not to shoot Raw but jpeg because it is better!
I am not a complete fanboy who says all people should shoot Raw. I understand that Raw can be daunting when you first start photography and Jpeg can be easier, especially when you are trying to improve your skills. Also Raw is not for the casual user with their compact camera (or smartphone).
I do think that if you are going to take photography seriously, you need to heading in the direction of raw.
Raw images are the uncompressed image taken by your camera and to process the image you will need a convertor. Adobe offers ACR (adobe camera raw) with Photoshop to enable you to do this, though there are many options out there. When Camera Raw was first launched it was very basic, with time it has become more complex meaning in some cases you don’t need to do too much work when you get to Photoshop. Lightroom has taken Raw conversion even further along with a file management aspect.
It can be said that Raw has made us lazy as photographers with the ability to raise or lower the exposure, change the light balance and correcting lens distortion. Raw images though offer three things over Jpegs; Quality, Control and Choice.
Quality, Raw images have a higher level of quality, the ability to remove noise and lens distortion as well as adapting the output size and bit depth.
Control, some shots have a wide range of contrast and Raw allows you to control the contrast to make sure details are not blown out.
Choice, Raw gives you a choice to edit again and again over time changing the image from colour to black and white to split toned.
From the Facebook comment feed the most strange comment was, “Imagine your (sik) working on film and have no choice but to try and get it right! No need for raw”
I found this the weirdest comment coming from a person who had graduated with a degree in photography. It appears that the commenter has no concept in the way an image is captured. Comparing Jpeg to film is easy because you say “you take the picture you take is dependent on your skills with a camera not Photoshop, and what you capture is there is. It is easy to say this but it is also wrong. Film is a versatile medium that can be manipulated to create such great effects.
Jpeg is like shooting film that is changed for every frame. A camera takes a picture and processes the image applying, the amount of adjustment to saturation, brightness and contrast that it feels the image needs. White balance should be set before hand as it won’t make adaptations unless you have it set to auto.
For me Raw is a developing tub where you can prepare the image before taking it to the enlarger (Photoshop). I have put Jpegs and Tiffs through camera raw because sometimes it is not opportune to use it, for example when I am using my smartphone or small compact. Though I always yearn for my Raw fix.
Do you have anything to say in strictness confidence of my blog? Are you a Raw user?