Be RAW, don’t be JPEG!

Shooting RAW is crucial in photography, and some may not know this. You have the option of shooting in JPEG or RAW or both in most advance camera and nowadays newer smartphones like the iPhone 12 and the newer Samsung Galaxy.

RAW is also known as .DNG format or “digital negative” which developed by Adobe and used as the industry standard. RAW file formats contain unprocessed data of an image on a digital camera’s sensor. Canon cameras RAW files have a .CR3 extension that can also be worked on in all photography software, like Adobe Lightroom.

RAW images contain more information and save a wide tonal range and can be processed using software on PC or Mac and also on the smartphone itself without damaging the image. So, they are non-destructive. I highly encourage you to start using RAW exclusively with your larger cameras and if you are using a smartphone, remember switching to RAW format for pictures you care about getting right 100% of the time but the Smartphone’s RAWs are still inferior to DSLR and Mirrorless camera RAWs.

JPEG is an acronym for “Joint Photographic Expert Group” which created the standard in 1992. It is a compressed digital image and honestly can be called the “worst version of oneself”, in this case, an image. I will explain a bit later why I used this term. Any adjustment made to a JPEG image (on all smartphones and point and shoot cameras) will be destructive to the image and decrease its quality as a result. 

Here are examples of smartphone JPEG (iPhone 12 Pro), Smartphone RAW (processed to the best possible color image in Lightroom), and my R6 Canon Mirrorless RAW processed picture. As you can see there is a night and day difference with Smartphone RAW and Mirrorless RAW processed to correct exposure, let alone compared to JPEG.

Now, this is my philosophical and leadership approach to RAW versus JPEG. We use the expression RAW talent. Why? I believe we use it because RAW talent has many layers, that can be exposed, and there can be just multiple good different versions of it. Like in photography a RAW image can be correctly processed without losing its quality to B&W (black and white) and color image.  A lot of leaders and companies love JPEG personalities and hate RAWs. JPEGs are easy, point and shoot, and one-dimensional they don’t express opinions and don’t’ have many layers. They should actually consider RAWs who can actually become the best version of themselves many times over as is the case with an image.

So, I would encourage people to be RAW, shoot RAW, because only then you can find the best version of an image or yourself. Don’t be JPEG! 

I hope by now I have convinced all of you to shoot RAW when you take a photograph. 

Author: Kouros Farro

I am a family physician, educator, and photographer who loves landscape photography.

2 thoughts on “Be RAW, don’t be JPEG!”

    1. I would prefer big camera RAW 100 x over the smartphone RAW. Still not as detailed, but if you need to shoot scenery it is worth using it or a nice portrait. For most photos shot on smartphones just use JPEG. I was amazed at how different the qualities were on a 12-megapixel smartphone and 20-megapixel mirrorless. Both files were about 28 MB size if you believe but DSLR and mirrorless are far superior

      Liked by 1 person

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