As a photographer, you have probably heard that you should be shooting in RAW. RAW is an image format that captures all the data that enters the camera sensor when taking a photo. It is also an uncompressed format, so you have access to all this data later as it is not lost when the image is being saved. But why should you be shooting in RAW?
Higher Quality Images
Because this is an uncompressed format, and it records all the data that comes through your camera’s sensor, you get very high-quality photos when shooting in this format. The thing is, technically all cameras shoot RAW. They then convert this into a JPEG format which is where the loss of data and quality comes from. With a powerful enough computer, you let it do the processing for you in addition to letting you edit your photos to your liking as all image data is available to you.
Adjust White Balance Easily
White balance can make your photos look terrible when you do not take into account the temperature of the light you are shooting in. With JPEG, white balance is applied automatically and there is little you can do after the image is saved.
With the RAW format, you record white balance information as data which means you can adjust it easily after the fact. Getting the white balance right whether while shooting or editing is crucial for professional photography where you want the best images.
It Makes Your Workflow More Efficient
Lightroom is arguably the best image editing software for editing RAW images because it has features that are specifically meant to be used with this file format. For example, you can edit multiple files at the same time. This is incredibly useful if you are a specific type of photographer, say a wedding or landscape photographer, who is always looking for a specific aesthetic for all your photos.
The ability to edit multiple files at the same time also extends to adding pre-sets and effects to these images. Once you apply the pre-sets, you can go back and work on cropping, spot removal and anything else you need to do on individual photos.
Even though Lightroom makes editing multiple images easy for you, whether you can and how fast you can complete the final synchronisation will depend on how powerful your computer is. For photographers who are being slowed down by their computer, there is a line of Lenovo desktops for photo editing that have the CPU and GPU horsepower to help batch editing go faster in Lightroom.
When editing a RAW image, what you are doing is manipulating the data therein. This data is a set of instructions for how the final JPEG image will look. You are not changing this underlying data, which means you can even undo all your changes and start from scratch.
With a JPEG image, you do not have the option to change everything once the file is saved unless you made a copy. With RAW, a copy of the original image is not required.
Shooting in JPEG restricts you in so many ways because you can only layer edit on top of the original image. With RAW, you get the ability to edit everything about the photo without worrying about destroying the original. This is in addition to the other benefits of shooting in this format which makes it the obvious choice for professional photographers.