I have mentioned before in Tech Notes and also in my post yesterday on “What to look for in a Wedding Photographer” about how you should select a photographer who shoots wedding photo’s in RAW. I thought today I would talk briefly about the reasons why.
First of all we should look at the advantages of shooting in JPEG and then the reasons why all Wedding Photographers should shoot in RAW and not JPEG.
These advantages are:
- The image files are smaller which means less storage used on the memory card and the computer that the image is loaded onto.
- All pc’s will display JPEG images without any special and expensive software.
- Reasonable image quality is retained.
- Minimal post processing is required.
All professional digital cameras can shoot in JPEG or RAW. When the camera is set to JPEG, the processor or computer in the camera processes the image according to certain rules that are set in the camera. Camera menu settings such as white balance, scene settings, picture quality, colour space settings etc., all affect how these rules are applied to the final image. In other words, the camera makes decisions based on how the camera is set up. The problem with this is that as a part of this processing, the images are compressed. That is a large part of the image information is regarded as redundant and discarded. This will lead to a loss of detail particularly with highlights and shadows or low lights. This loss of detail is particularly evident with white wedding dresses where the fine detail of the dress may be lost. Clouds are another area where loss of detail is most evident if shooting outdoors. For a wedding shoot, this loss of detail degrades the images from what they could be.
So why is RAW better. The files are much larger, take up more storage, cannot be read without special software, are too large to be emailed so there must be a good reason why all professional photographers are or should be shooting in RAW and there is.
The big advantage is that all image information captured by the camera sensor is retained and not processed by the camera. No data is discarded by the camera. This is the biggest single advantage because the photographer can apply his or her skills in post processing the images to get the best from them for their clients. Post processing on the computer allows for a higher quality final image to be produced. There are many other reasons but this is the single biggest advantage.
Processing RAW images is a lot more expensive. The photographer needs additional storage for storing images and their backups, larger and faster memory cards for the camera, there is the additional cost of professional post processing software and hardware, colour profiled monitors and printers and most expensive of all is the time taken to get the best images possible.
When you are interviewing a prospective photographer for your wedding or special event, ask them if they shoot in RAW and how long they have been doing so.
If a wedding photographer is not going to shoot your wedding in RAW and hasn’t done so before, then you should consider looking for one that does. – Peter