RAW

This is a discussion on RAW within the Post-Processing forums, part of the Photography Tips category; I'm shooting my first wedding tomorrow. Every website says to shoot in RAW, but I've never shot or edited in RAW. Is it simple enough ...


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Thread: RAW

  1. #1

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    I'm shooting my first wedding tomorrow. Every website says to shoot in RAW, but I've never shot or edited in RAW. Is it simple enough to figure out that I should take the leap and go for it? Or should I play it safe and shoot in JPG? Any suggestions??

    Sincerely,
    Makenzi Ryanne Photography


  • #2
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    Your RAW editor will have all the JPEG default settings in a drop down menu, so what you're familiar with will be a good starting point. From there you can fine tune color balance, exposure and other settings, as well as have access to 16-bit TIF output.

    In other words, yes. It won't be any different than if you shot JPEG but you will have more flexible files and the ability to adjust the settings you're familiar with. IMO there is seldom any reason to shoot JPEG except for a few situations that require very rapid fire, such as sports photography.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  • #3
    Nikon Shooter
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    You didn't say what kind of camera you are using. Do you have the option of shooting RAW+JPG? That will save a copy of both file types and allow you to play with the RAW file while still getting the camera-processed JPG file.

    Regards,
    Marlo

    Check out my blog! --- http://marlomontanaro.wordpress.com

  • #4

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    I am shooting with a Nikon D90 which I now realize has the ability to shoot RAW + JPG fine. Thank you all so much for your help!!

  • #5
    Nikon Shooter
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    Everything has a compromise....

    Shooting RAW + JPG will require a larger memory card and the camera will require time to save both images. Just keep that in mind. If you're in a pinch, buy a couple more memory cards at a local electronics store just to be on the safe side.

    But you're in great shape with the D90.

    Regards,
    Marlo

    Check out my blog! --- http://marlomontanaro.wordpress.com

  • #6

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    don't be too scared of jpeg, you can still post process to a lesser degree

  • #7
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    If you can shoot RAW+JPEG then do that. Here's the thing...

    When you shoot in JPEG it's not as if your camera just takes the shot and saves it. It does quite a bit of post processing before it saves it to the memory card. This includes some edge-detection & sharpening, de-noising, color correction, etc. Then it saves to memory based on the compression level you specified (usually high, medium, or low). And it's this "compression" that creates the problems for photographers... especially wedding photographers.

    JPEG plays on the human eye's weaknesses. Your eye is slightly more likely to notice a difference in tonality than it is to notice a difference in brightness. Depending on the compression level, JPEG compresses out pixels that are "nearly" the same as their neighboring pixels (nearly... but not exact). This "flattens" the look and it happens much more so in brightness than in tones but it will happen in tones as well (and this is why you might sometimes see the distinct color banding in photos of the sky.)

    RAW, on the other hand, does do much at all to a photo after it's shot. It can do some post processing but it will not do post processing that results in a loss of original data (and JPEG will allow a loss of original data.) RAW saves the data that the sensor "saw" when it took the picture. No matter how subtle the difference was between two pixels, RAW will preserve that subtle detail.

    What this means to you...

    The reason I pick on wedding photography is all about the bride's dress. Typically all white (same "color" or "color tone") but it has lots of lace & fine detail (differences in brightness.) JPEG, sadly, loves to compress the fine detail out of a wedding dress. When post processing, you'll often need to deal with the highlights & shadows (particularly the highlights on a wedding dress). As you bring the highlights down, you'll see the detail come back into view on the wedding dress because RAW never threw it away. Do the same thing with a JPEG image and you're likely to see the highlighted area turn into something that looks like a flat grayish smudge.

    I use 32GB memory cards (these days a 32GB Class 10 memory card is about $50 and not very hard to find.) I set the camera to RAW+JPEG mode but tell Aperture to use the RAW as masters (it'll use the JPEG as the "preview" image). When I shot weddings, the average wedding was about 22 rolls of film (about 250 pictures) with some weddings shooting as much as 30 rolls. Now that it's digital, it's quite a bit more but not really because there are more shots... just more exposures that might be taken of the same shot (multiple exposures in case someone blinked, or the willingness to shoot anything that might be a good shot because we don't have to worry about hitting the end of the roll and have to do a film magazine swap). A wedding might have 500 images now. If your camera is using 20MB to store a single RAW then that's 50 shots per 1GB of card storage. You'd be pretty hard pressed to need more than 2x 8GB cards or 1x 16GB card (though I always just buy the 32GB size and always have spares.)

    A RAW doesn't look as good as a JPEG straight out of the camera (because a little post processing really is necessary and while that's automatically done to a JPEG it isn't performed on a RAW). So most RAW workflow applications will perform a little adjustment automatically (they don't change the original as imported from the camera though.)

    The main benefit to shooting in RAW is that YOU control what happens to the image instead of the camera's built-in image processor that doesn't actually know which parts of the image are really important.

    If you don't own a RAW workflow product (Photoshop can deal with RAW files but it doesn't really compete with true RAW workflow products) you should consider getting one. The two "800 lb Gorillas" of the RAW workflow market are Aperture (by Apple and runs on Mac) or Lightroom (by Adobe and runs on Mac or Windows). Aperture *was* $199. Lightroom *is* $299. You'll find fans of either but the truth is they are both good (they both have free trials so you can test them.)

    HOWEVER, if you happen to use a Mac and you have OS X 10.6, Apple's latest OS patch installed the new "App Store". SHOCKINGLY you can buy Aperture through the App Store for a *mere* $79.99. That's quite a bargain (but you have to own a Mac with the Snow Leopard OS to get that price.)
    Tim Campbell

  • #8
    Nikon Shooter
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    TCampbell- what an excellent summary! I knew all that but never put it in those concise terms.

    It's food for thought for anyone who is shooting a wedding. Even if it is casually for a friend who may have hired the services of a professional, why wouldn't you still give it your best shot? I've gone to several weddings where the pro did an awful job and I was thanked a thousand times that I took pictures also and saved the day.

    I think the OP has some food for thought. Hopefully we got to her in enough time! I think we did.

    Regards,
    Marlo

    Check out my blog! --- http://marlomontanaro.wordpress.com

  • #9
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    @ TCampbell

    What a great post - very interesting and useful.
    Photography is a portal through which we are transported to other worlds

  • #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Berg View Post
    @ TCampbell

    What a great post - very interesting and useful.
    ditto


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