What is Camera RAW? In this lesson we will discuss what a Camera RAW photo is and why it is so essential to use.
What Is It?
You know what JPEG is right? After taking a picture with a camera, most cameras will automatically compress the file down to a JPEG file. JPEG automatically calculates the picture’s colors and changes them to what the camera thinks the colors should be corrected to. This significantly reduces the size of the file.
However, not all cameras are correct in making this auto adjustment. And many times, as a photographer, you will want more control.
This is where Camera RAW comes in. A file may be larger than when it is compressed by the camera down to JPEG, but this is okay. This will give you more control in the long-run.
Camera RAW is an unprocessed image that is taken by your digital camera. It also contains information on how the image was captured. This is called metadata. By using information from the camera about the camera and taking the metadata RAW software can construct and process a color image.
When taking photos with the Camera RAW format, there is an increased photo quality to your pictures. And you will have a much more extensive photo editing capability.
Personally, I’m all about more control when I do things. I drive a manual vehicle, which, I feel, gives me more control on the road. And I prefer having more control in how my images turn out in the end.
How to Take Camera RAW Photos
In order to take a RAW photo you must set your camera to taking and storing RAW photos. This can be done in multiple ways, depending on which kind of digital camera you’ve got. On a Nikon, I went into the MENU > SHOOTING MENU > IMAGE QUALITY. Going that route gives me the option to shoot RAW photos.
You will need to install plug-ins for uploading and editing Camera RAW photos on your computer. I have the one for Adobe which works with Photoshop and After Effects. This was included in the programs when I got them. It also includes a high functionality in Adobe Bridge.
Why Take Camera RAW Photos?
Why not? There really is much more control on how you will have your images turn out. Where JPEG is going to decide for you in the beginning and keep you from the real potential of your image from the very beginning, Camera RAW is going to enable you to start from the beginning with the most potential you can have with that image in developing your true creativity.
Have a great time creating!