The Advantages of Shooting RAW Images

on October 24, 2019

There are a variety of formats for shooting digital photographs. Photographers usually refer to this as ‘RAW’ or ‘JPEG.’ A RAW file format captures all image data that is recorded by the sensor when a photo is taken. These files have not been processed and, as such, are not yet ready to be edited or printed. The term ‘JPEG file format’ refers to the shooting of a heavily compressed image, and, as such, you lose data with the compression. There are several advantages of shooting Raw images.

Raw image

Why is RAW Capitalized?

One reason RAW is capitalized is to distinguish it from the word ‘raw’ – referring to uncooked food. The main reason behind the capitalization, however, is because RAW is a filetype, and file extensions are usually capitalized. One can speak about raw data, which is unedited, that is shot in RAW format, and the capitalization specifies it.

What are the Benefits of Shooting in RAW Format?

Here are some benefits for shooting in Raw format:

  1. Get the Highest Level of Quality

    When you take pictures in RAW, you make a record of all the data from the sensor. This process results in the highest-quality files. When you shoot in RAW, you can do all the processing yourself. You can decide how the image should look and, therefore, you can produce better results.

  2. Greater Levels of Brightness

    When we speak about ‘levels of brightness,’ we are referring to the number of steps between black and white in an image. The more steps there are, the smoother the transition of tones. JPEG captures in 8bit while RAW captures in 12bit or 14bit. This additional brightness allows you to make more adjustments to your image without reducing quality.When you shoot in RAW, it is easier to avoid or correct posterization in your images. ‘Posterization’ refers to the banding that you can often see in bright skies.

  3. Correct Dramatically Over/Under Exposed Images

    As previously mentioned, with a RAW image, there is additional information in the file, which implies that it is much easier to correct the image without drastically reducing quality. It is also possible to recover more blown highlights and shadow with a RAW image.

  4. Easily Adjust the White Balance

    When you take pictures in JPEG, the white balance is used in the image, and it is not easy to choose another option. With the RAW format, the white balance is still captured, but because you have a lot more data, the balance is easy to adjust. An excellent white balance and color are vital for producing a great image, and using RAW in your shots allow you to get better results and have more control over the outcome.

  5. Get Better Detail for Your Shots

    When you shoot in RAW, you can use sharpening and noise correction algorithms in a program such as Lightroom. These algorithms are much more potent than those in your camera and are continually improving.

RAW Images for Editing

When you take Raw images for editing, because there is so much data, you don’t make adjustments to the original data. This means that you never have to be worried about ruining a shot.

Get Improved Prints

As RAW files have a more beautiful gradation of tones and colors, you’ll get better prints. There will be less banding on the prints.

Select Colour Space on Output

Digital cameras typically have a setting that allows you to select either sRGB or Adobe RGB, which affects only the JPEG files that the camera outputs. If you shoot RAW, the sRGB or Adobe RGB setting has no impact on the image data that is stored in the RAW file.

digital output

When Should you not Shoot in RAW?

As you’ll be required to spend a lot of time working on RAW shots in post-production, you will need to factor this time constraint into your schedule. If you do not have the time – or do not like editing work – then you should probably stick to shooting in JPEG.

If your interest in photography is shooting continuous frames at a high burst rate, then you should not be shooting pictures in RAW. If your pictures are incredibly time-sensitive, then you should rather stick to a format other than RAW.

Why Does RAW Photography Look Washed Out?

RAW files look so washed out, in comparison to JPEG files, because when a camera processes the data from the image and saves it as a JPEG, it affixes an image profile. What this implies is that the camera will edit the photo for you and put it into a final usable state.

A RAW photography file isn’t edited, and the data is ready for you to adjust to a final image. You decide what adjustments to make – the camera doesn’t decide. The initial image that you see won’t be quite so impressive as the JPEG version; however, there is the potential for creating a more impressive image.

Which RAW Photo Editor is Correct?

There are several options for editing your RAW files. These are run on Windows and Mac, and either require a monthly or annual subscription. Alternatively, you’ll either need to buy a standalone license for them or, depending on the program; they are free. Some of these programs are:


Besides the software that is listed above, you can also use RAW editing software – which comes with your camera – when editing your RAW images.

Although having a JPEG that is already processed is nice, your brain is more sophisticated than your camera. This means that working in the RAW format allows you full artistic license during the editing process. White balance, exposure correction, and brightness can all be altered in post-production adding up the advantages of shooting Raw images. With a few clicks of your mouse, programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom will help to achieve outstanding images. 

If you mistakenly make use of the incorrect setting for an image – open your photo editing software, adjust the RAW file, and no one must be the wiser.

As mentioned above, it is possible to use sharpening tools in Photoshop or Lightroom that are more powerful than the devices which are available in your camera. A photo that was shot too soft or had too much noise been sharpened up quickly with these tools. This results in truly spectacular photos.


Don’t be nervous about editing RAW files! The beauty of these types of files is that they are non-destructive. When you open a RAW image (as opposed to a JPEG) in a program such as Photoshop or Lightroom, you can then edit it and save it as a TIFF or JPEG. In this way, it is always possible to access the RAW file or raw data, and then re-edit or adjust as needed. You can do this without losing the high quality of the file, putting less stress on you during the editing process.

You are presented with the option of editing the same RAW file differently, depending on what your intention is and what the client requires. Shooting in the correct format, which fits in with your workflow and budget, will make your online photography portfolio stronger. Alternatively, you can send the raw images for editing, hiring the smart photo editors to get the best output.

– Smart Photo Editors

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