My name is Ben and I shoot Raw!

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.

Interesting I was being a Narcissistic Stalker in my break yesterday

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.

Dinosaurs also go Rawr, just another reason to shoot 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”


blacked out full names and profile pics for privacy

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?

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5 thoughts on “My name is Ben and I shoot Raw!

  1. I shoot RAW 99% of the time but when on holiday with family I will shoot RAW and jpeg so my wife can have the jpegs she likes very quickly and I can play with the RAW files later. I don’t believe you can’t get good results from jpegs – that has been disproved many times – but I want the option of playing with white balance, choosing my own processing levels as opposed to relying on the camera to do it for me. What I do like is that cameras like my little X100 will produce me a very decent RAW file and I can have say a B&W jpeg alongside. That means if I am thinking B&W I can get a sense of what it will look like if I convert the higher quality RAW file by seeing it in monochrome in the jpeg.Hey! If we’re not pros its supposed to be enjoyable and creative. Shoot what you want but don’t dismiss other options just because you go the other route.

    • Andrew you are right that there is nothing wrong in shooting jpeg and the fact you can and hand those images to friends and family for instant viewings while you work on Raw images is useful.

      I do find it hard the ignorance of some people who have gone through professional training.
      Raw does give superior images, but would my DSLR capture some of my street images or commuting images in the same way as your phone or compact.

      Everything thing is a tool in your belt.

      You are also right, if it is not fun why are you doing it.

  2. This whole post-processing is bad so shooting RAW is cheating thing I’m sure, as you suggest, is born purely out of ignorance. Any decent photography text will advise shooting RAW. Film was RAW. You either took this RAW film, called a negative, into your own darkroom or sent if off to a film processing company or took it to a store or supermarket. They then applied a one size fits all standardised processing, not unlike what your camera does with a RAW image to produce a jpeg.
    It is all very tiresome especially when people who clearly don’t understand speak with such apparent authority. Oh well..

    • I think it is a trend at the moment to say if you do any editing it is bad. This could be because people are sick of over the top editing that has not been applied well and looks garish or they don’t have the skills to do it.

      The fact is that photography has always had the possibility to bend reality.

      You are right that people speak quite freely with authority on the net (maybe i am doing this now) though in fact they have a lack of knowledge. This is why there are so many myths out there that people peddle. In the end it doesn’t really matter how you get there as long as the image is good.

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