. . . . as long as you're shooting in RAW, that is!
"Raw" is the generic name for a camera manufacturer's native file format, and it includes a wealth of information - everything your camera saw at the time of image capture. (learn more abut RAW format here)
Unlike a JPEG, a RAW image doesn't have any picture formatting or style settings baked in and is capable of being edited without a reduction of quality every-time you edit and save. Shoot JPEG's and you loose the flexibility to turn the overexposed image above into a usable image like the one below.
Now the picture above isn't perfect, but it was certainly saved from the trash can! Notice the highlights and detail that have been recovered in the Swans - this is what RAW - and understanding exposure adjustments in your image editing software - allow you to accomplish.
Well heck, so why wouldn't someone shoot RAW?
As usual, there are a few downsides:
- RAW files are BIG! In megabytes that is.
- If shooting in continuos (rapid fire) mode, you can't shoot as many back to back RAW images as you can with JPEG's without the camera stopping to empty it's buffer.
- RAW files, straight out the camera are . . . well . . . RAW! They can tend to be flat as no processing was done, so you will have to either directly edit or apply camera styles before use.
Once I saw the flexibility of RAW, I never turned back to camera generated JPEG's. Look at that great image of those swans, it would have been ruined without RAW - what a difference! Speaking of these
"before and after images"
- the next series of posts will take you step-by-step and show you how to get these basic results, in under two minutes! So check back over the week.
Stay in Focus,