What is a raw image? It is a file that contains only the minimally processed data from your camera, no additional editing is done by your camera to correct white balance etc... However they cannot be uploaded to social media/printed etc...until they are officially processed. Whereas with Jpeg it is the default choice by your camera and it is already somewhat processed after you have taken the photo. With Jpegs your camera will compensate for it's surrounding and ultimately be the judge of what it wants to capture in camera. Jpegs are easier to use per-say in the sense that it does not necessarily need to be processed before it can be used/printed. So, why shoot raw if it is so much more complicated?
1. You have reigns as to what gets processed and how.
- In post production (whether it be lightroom, photoshop etc...) YOU as the photographer get to choose what you ultimately want your image to look like.
2. You have TONS more room to edited when it comes to Raw images.
- JPEGs record 1/64th of the levels of brightness as Raw images do. Without getting too technically here, it means you have just THAT much more room to alter the exposure, contrast, recovery, highlights, shadows, etc...
3. Did you accidentally underexpose or over expose an image but loved it so much you had to have it?
- No need to fret! With raw images it is very easy to recover the missed data. Due to the fact that the raw files have 64 more times the data of JPegs, it means you have THAT much more room to work with in the recovery process. Need to bring back some of that blown out sky? Have harsh highlights due to predominate sun exposure? Dark shadows due to your surroundings? All fixable with Raw images.
4. Accidentally save the edited copy of an image and lost the original?
- Happens all the time with Jpegs! But, with raw images, the original is still always there. Technically with raw you are just making an additional copy of the image when editing and the original will always exist. Whereas with Jpegs every time you open the file you are altering the true image and can quite easily copy over the original image.
5. It's SO simple! Not nearly as complicated as it sounds...Change it in your camera settings now!
- It will take a little getting used to, as importing and editing is slightly different when using Raw, but you will get the hang of it! *note* Raw files are typically a lot larger in size thus will take up that much more room on your memory cards and computer. But, its worth it! Make sure you have large enough memory cards when shooting in Raw for your first time!
*Note* If you are a bit uneasy about trying to shoot in raw for the first time, check out the settings on your camera and use the Raw AND Jpeg option, just in case! This way it will take each image you take in both Raw and Jpeg. Again it will take up EVEN more room on your memory card and computer, but just to be safe!