Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shooting In RAW!

I know that for this being a new blog, I am kind of jumping ahead of "the basics" of photography, but I figure I would just post things as they come up for me, what I learn, then pass on what works for me. As far as the technical parts of shooting in RAW, I have to admit that I have no freaking clue how to explain it. BUT, I do know that it works. It saves me pretty much every time I take pictures. Even though I do have a pretty good understanding of exposure, shutter speed, aperture, blah, blah, blah, I still mess up. A LOT! I never get perfect exposure on all of my shots, in fact, I get perfect exposure on very few shots. This is where shooting in RAW has literally saved many many shots for me. The best way to know if your camera shoots in RAW is to look in your owners manual. It will tell you exactly how to set your camera to RAW mode.

I will show you an example of RAW saving my own butt right now....
Holy Moly....What a mess!

I was asked to shoot some pictures of my Stake Relief Society Presidency for our upcoming Stake Women's conference and dinner. This proves just how amateur I really am...All the settings on my camera were wrong. I don't know if one of my kids messed around with them without me knowing, or what, but I ended up with a whole lotta of messy pictures. I knew they were a little over-exposed, but when I got home I was wondering how in the world I would explain to this group of women that we needed a do-over. Fortunately, I shot these all in RAW.
I was able to change the exposure with the ease of a slider in Camera RAW CS3. (photo shop)

PHEW. Not a perfect picture by ANY means, but good enough to at least get the point.

With some more photo shop, I ended up with this. Still not a perfect or amazing shot by any means, but WAY better than the original straight out of the camera shot. There is NO way this could have been saved if I had taken it as a JPEG. In my ((very un-professional)) opinion,

Here are my cons to shooting in RAW:

1. The files are huge! They take up WAY more memory than a JPEG.

2. Every shot has to be post processed. This takes a lot of time!

3. Usually a JPEG shot is more than good enough quality for most everyday shots.

How I was converted to RAW:

I certainly did not understand RAW at all when I first tried it out. I was nervous that I wouldn't know what to do with them. So, I decided to shoot in a mode that took a RAW image and a JPEG. This took a ton of memory, but it really proved the difference between the two. Seeing side by side comparison of the two exact shots was enough to make me realize that I was going RAW and would NEVER look back. When you shoot in RAW, no white balance is set. You get to choose the final outcome of your photo. When you shoot in JPEG, you camera chooses what it thinks your photo needs. Sometimes, I think it does a pretty good job, but I noticed my camera, when shot in JPEG mode made my photos darker than I liked. I had to always compensate and guess what settings would trick my camera to expose properly. This almost never worked. My camera also added too much of a warm ((red/orange)) finish to all my photos.

Here is an example of some of the photos I took in both JPEG and RAW. Visually seeing these straight out of the camera, side by side after shooting, I knew I had to start shooting in RAW all the time. To save time, I only post process the images I will be using. The way I look at it, is that I have digital negatives waiting for me to process when I need a certain picture. It works for me now. I do have to say that it was really overwhelming at first. But, after going RAW....I know I will never shoot JPEG again! It will make your good shots fantastic!


onceapickle said...

Okay, you've got me! I'll have to give it a try. Better bust out that manual. Wish me luck!

But, wait. Do I have to have the fancy-schmancy version of Photoshop to shoot in RAW?

The Wright's said...

I have tried RAW too - I love it. You really are amazing Kati. Thanks for sharing all your tips.

I would really like it if you could tell where you take the photos. Like the girls you just took - where was that? SO CUTE!

Rachel said...

Huh, I had no idea. Of course, I don't own a DSLR, so why would I know? Still, I appreciate the info. Very interesting stuff!