Look up RAW v Jpeg on the internet or YouTube, and there are as many opinions about the subject as any political issue. It's one of photography's great debates. So why shouldn't I put in my two pennies worth?

In truth, there is no debate needed. RAW is a far superior way of capturing an image. But firstly, you need a camera that can capture RAW images and not everyone has or can afford such equipment. Don't be downhearted if your camera doesn't; it's not the end of the world.

RAW is a much bigger file size that gives you the option of retaining much more of the information that is gathered. This, in turn, gives you so much more room to maneuver in post-production. If you think that's cheating... Follow this link... Is Lightroom Cheating

Jpeg on the other has compressed the file into what the camera believes to be an acceptable image, and let's face it, does a bloody good job of it too. While this post is entitled RAW v JPEG, there is another post that is entitled RAW or JPEG. Both are essential; it's just a matter of choosing whats right for you and under what circumstances. 

My camera (as do many) has the facility to send an image to my phone. I can shoot Jpeg, send it to my personal Instagram page, bang on a filter if its needed, and post. All in a very short time. It matters not that it's compressed because the Instagram format is so small anyway that no one will notice. My personal page is just for friends and family. I take a different stance on my pro page, not because of file size, but because I work on the image first.

There are other reasons for shooting Jpeg. Maybe you don't like editing images or don't have the software yet. Although, if you don't, I ask you to move in that direction, it can be very satisfying. 

But whatever reasons there are for shooting Jpeg, RAW will always be better overall. 

Because RAW captures so much information, it can save your potential image. Yes, we all like to think that we can get it right in camera, but anyone who says that they nail every shot only ever takes very few images in a tightly controlled environment, or they are lying. The cameras of today are sophisticated beasts, but they are not as good as a set of eyes. When we look at a scene, our eyes transmit the information to our brains, and the brain then deciphers that into an image where we can see highlights and shadows without thinking about it. We don't look at shadows, then the mid tones and finally the highlights. The job is done for us by our brains. In camera, we have exposed for a particular area of the scene (normally a highlight such as a sky), but you will be surprised what information is retained in the RAW file of the detail in the shadows. It's seen the entire scene but hasn't processed it fully yet. Bang that little beauty into Lightroom, move a few sliders and Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt (an English expression, hope it's not offensive to anyone outside the UK). 

So if Raw captures so much information, why are we spending so long learning things like the exposure triangle and getting things right in camera?

RAW files are fantastic, but it's not Harry Potter style magic. To get the very best out of an image, the information that we start with is paramount. The more we get right in camera, the more likely we are in getting a "blow your mind" image at the other end. After all, we are not after mediocre; we are after the hero shot. If we provide the RAW file with as much accurate information as we can, we offer the editing software more of a chance of success. And by success, I mean a result that is outstanding.

If you want to see the difference, the video is below. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel, hit the little bell icon to be notified when a new video is released and press that thumbs up button if you've enjoyed it.

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