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Thread: Shooting in RAW

  1. #1
    Junior Member vschow's Avatar
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    Shooting in RAW

    Hi! A newbie with a silly question!!!

    I was wondering for all the pros out there who do a lot of photography, do you always shoot in raw? It seems like a lot of space and time is used in post processing if I shoot in RAW for every photo. Also, I have a Nikon D40X and I am wondering how people get such crisp clear photos. I have had a few in the past, but here are some examples of what I am talking about...http://www.darcyweddings.com/portfol...y_reserve.html. Is it the ISO? Also, how do people get the background to be completely out of focus? Is that also in post processing?

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate any help you can provide!!!

  2. #2
    May the force be with you Canuck935's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I'm not exactly a "pro" but I do shoot RAW exclusively. Yes, RAW files are bigger, but given the speed of memory cards and dirt cheap hard drives these days time and space really is a non-issue. As far a processing RAW files, it can be a rather time consuming and tedious task for sure. Or if you are like me and don't want to go through that hassle, then Lightroom is the way to go. I wouldn't be shooting RAW if it weren't for Lightroom.

    There are a lot of factors that go into the apparent sharpness of an image. ISO, shutter speed, camera shake, subject movement, subject contrast, lens, aperture, in-camera sharpening (JPEG), PP sharpening. Read about some techniques and try them out yourself.

    For out of focus backgrounds, it's usually a combination of a short to medium range telephoto (70-200mm is a popular range) and wide aperture. Other things to help achieve it is to get as close to your subject as you can and getting the background as far away from the subject as you can.

  3. #3
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Always

    I always shoot RAW if the camera I'm using allows it. RAW doesn't guarantee better pictures. You still have to make a good, focused exposure with good content. But it does offer you the most color and density information for post-processing. People who don't do any post-processing may not immediately benefit from shooting RAW. But if you get more interested in squeezing more out of your photos, shooting RAW will let you go back and revisit them later. It also ensures that the in-camera JPEG processing doesn't introduce any artifacting that could reduced image quality.

    Sharpness and out-of-focus areas have little or nothing to do with shooting RAW. When you see photos on the Web that look really good it's usually because the photographer knows how to set up their photos for the Web well. The Unsharp mask filter is critical. Photos come out of DSLRs a little on the soft side so that you can sharpen them to your taste. I sharpen differently for every kind of output (print, Web, etc.).

    Out of focus backgrounds like you see in wedding photos and portraits are usually from telephoto lenses with larger apertures. The 85mm f/1.8 is a common lens for weddings and portraits. For cameras with smaller sensors, like your D40x, a 50mm f/1.8 works really well for dropping out the background.

    Sounds like you've got a lot to learn. You've come to a good place. The PhotographyREVIEW.com community is very good about following the rule, "The only stupid question is the one you don't ask." Everyone has to start somewhere. And there's tons of knowledge to be had here. Based on your questions, I recommend you read a couple of introductory articles in our learn section:

    Photography Exposure Primer
    Why Shoot RAW?

    Hope that answers your questions a bit and gives you some direction. Happy to have another motivated and curious beginner
    Photo-John

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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I'm far far from being a good photographer, but to answer your question it depends on how I will process the pictures. If I'm going to process in HDR (High Dynamic Range) then I will shoot in Jpeg. If I'm not going to process in HDR then I shoot 100% in RAW.

    Ray Still

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by Abiciriderback
    I'm far far from being a good photographer, but to answer your question it depends on how I will process the pictures. If I'm going to process in HDR (High Dynamic Range) then I will shoot in Jpeg. If I'm not going to process in HDR then I shoot 100% in RAW.

    Ray Still
    Why shoot JPG for HDR? RAW will still give you better quality. And shooting all one format should simplify your workflow.
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Shooting phtographs that I know how I want them to come out...always shot in raw.
    I shoot jpeg when doing stuff like bd partys or similar events when I'm just recording the event
    Keep Shooting!

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  7. #7
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    Shooting phtographs that I know how I want them to come out...always shot in raw.
    I shoot jpeg when doing stuff like bd partys or similar events when I'm just recording the event
    I shoot RAW all the time now. Too many times I've been shooting something that I think is no big deal and I either screw something up or get a great image that would have benefited from RAW. I now believe that shooting JPEG is just a bad idea. With the speed of computers now and the power of RAW software, I just don't think there's any reason to shoot JPEG. I encourage everyone who's shooting JPEG to really evaluate if there are any real benefits and consider shooting RAW all the time. I think it's the right thing to do.
    Photo-John

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  8. #8
    drg
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    RAW is a digital negative. I never threw out my negatives and only depended upon prints from the drugstore. I always shoot RAW.

    I have yet to see a camera that can produce a JPEG that is better than one I can produce either through pre-programmed adjustments or even simple presets. If you really need a JPEG quickly shoot RAW+JPEG in the camera.

    The software to support RAW improves with virtually every new package and release of processing software. Storage is inexpensive and it is needed anyway. This is a keep your options open decision!

    Crisp clear photos depend upon technique (both with the camera and in post production) and the quality of lens used.

    Best wishes and Welcome to Photography Review. There are many people here who will gladly guide you to producing the kind of photos you want to make!
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  9. #9
    Junior Member vschow's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    WOW!!!! First and foremost, thank you for such great POSITIVE support. I really appreciate all your advice, suggestions and input!!

    So, here's another question. Someone mentioned Lightroom. How is lightroom different than Photoshop? I've heard of several people saying they like lightroom. Is it easier to use? Would it be sill to get lightroom if I already have photoshop?

    Again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your help, everyone! I sincerely appreciate it!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by vschow
    How is lightroom different than Photoshop? I've heard of several people saying they like lightroom. Is it easier to use? Would it be sill to get lightroom if I already have photoshop?
    I don't have Lightroom but I can tell you that Lightroom is not Photoshop CS. Lightroom does allow you to do some photo editing. Photoshop of course is more powerful and can do a lot of things in various ways. And many have both Lightroom and Photoshop.

    I personally think most of us who only use Photoshop for editing photos have not used what all Photoshop can offer. You can go check out some advanced photoshop magazine and see what some guys can do with Photoshop. Some amazing stuff !

  11. #11
    Check out our D300 Pro Review! deckcadet's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I shoot Raw to gain more control over my files and have the best quality possible for archival and immediate purposes...but I could just as easily shoot JPEG a lot of the time. For anything high volume I usually shoot JPEG, or if I do shoot raw, I only keep the ones I used or really need long term.

    The clarity and crispness you want are more a function of photographer's technique and lenses used than shooting raw.
    It can help you in some situations, but it won't make your photos magically what you might consider 'more professional'.
    Harrison
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  12. #12
    May the force be with you Canuck935's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by vschow
    So, here's another question. Someone mentioned Lightroom. How is lightroom different than Photoshop?
    Lightroom is different from Photoshop in quite a few ways. Lightroom is really geared specifically towards a photographer's workflow, whereas Photoshop covers a broader range to cover needs for photographers, graphic designers, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by vschow
    I've heard of several people saying they like lightroom. Is it easier to use?
    Yes!! Much easier to use! Again, because it was made specifically with the photographer in mind. Especially if you shoot RAW. Instead of having to deal with RAW converters and then importing to Photoshop for further editing, Lightroom treats RAW just like any other file. So the work flow is seamless.

    Here's the real kicker. No matter what changes you make to your pictures in Lightroom, your original file never gets changed. Batch editing also has never been easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by vschow
    Would it be sill to get lightroom if I already have photoshop?
    If you shoot RAW, and you work strictly with photo's, yes. I used Photoshop exclusively since version 7 up to CS3. Now with Lightroom, I rarely ever use Photoshop. You may not be the same way though. It just depends on how extensive you want to edit a photo. I'm a bit of a purist. I don't like to alter photographs very drastically. If I can't get it done in Lightroom I'm usually more inclined to re-shoot instead of performing drastic alterations in Photoshop.

  13. #13
    Junior Member vschow's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Canuck935;

    I was wondering in your photo in your Rae Lakes collection on your flickr site, was the sky in photo DSC1347 really that blue or was that something you did in Lightroom? If you did do some post processing, did you just increase the saturation?

    Everyone;

    Again, thank you sooooooooooo much for all this wonderful information! I'm learning soooooo much!!!

  14. #14
    May the force be with you Canuck935's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by vschow
    Canuck935;

    I was wondering in your photo in your Rae Lakes collection on your flickr site, was the sky in photo DSC1347 really that blue or was that something you did in Lightroom? If you did do some post processing, did you just increase the saturation?

    Everyone;

    Again, thank you sooooooooooo much for all this wonderful information! I'm learning soooooo much!!!
    Actually, it was neither that blue nor was it extra processing. For those I used a polarizing filter. I never leave home without one.

  15. #15
    Junior Member vschow's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Has anyone tried or heard about Mac's Aperature 2 software?

  16. #16
    Junior Member artinreality's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    Aperture is very similar to Lightroom. I've tried Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop Elements. None of them are powerful enough for me to rely completely on any of them, although if you cannot afford or figure out Photoshop then you could get by with one of them. Each software package is basically a collection of actions that you can apply to your photographs; IE: a prepackaged "auto-contrast", a pre-packaged "aged photo look", a prepackaged "skin tone" enhancement. The problem with all of these prepackaged looks and feels is that they are all based off the same actions, leaving you unable to adjust in most cases.

    The way I look at it is: Yah, I want a lot of contrast, but I want to hand make my contrast, thank you!

    If you have issues with the complexity of Photoshop, or are just looking to buy it to use all of the auto features, then I recommend Lightroom. Lightroom also makes an ok staging area for your photographs, pre-Photoshop, but it adds another step in the workflow that can sometimes lower the overall amount of time put into a photo / album.

    As for shooting in RAW... if you just use your camera for documentation, photographs out on the town, the happy tourist, etc. then shoot your photographs in the highest quality JPG you can get. If you plan to make edits to your photographs, sell them, or print them large-format at resolutions higher than your camera naturally takes then save them in RAW.

  17. #17
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I always shoot in RAW, the only time I switch to jpeg is if I think I will run out of room on my memory card.

    franciax

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    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    My main reason for shooting RAW is I believe you have a much better chance of recovering highlights. I mainly shoot birds, and most birds have some white in them.
    Mike
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  19. #19
    Powder River Imaging EOSThree's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I have shot in RAW since my very first digital camera(S30). The post processing isn't very hard, and with a lot of cameras you can shoot a jpeg right along with the RAW. If you are just shooting snaps you can extract the jpgs and use them, but you always have the RAW file if that shot in a million comes along.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I always shoot in Raw......it just gives you more latitude to get areally great shot out of a really good one. If I want quick JPEGS, I can quickly convert them in batch mode and apply a little sharpening with very little effort.

    Reading your posts....since you are shooting Nikon & probably not doing thousands of Pics at a time, I would recommend you look into Nikon Capture NX2 as your Raw converter. The one advacntage it has over other programs is that it preserves all the camera presets so your starting point is what the JPEG would have looked like out of camera (with more Dynamic range & more adjustability because it's in RAW). It does batch processing (albeit slower than othersm but for the # of keepers I have, it's OK) & it does about 90% of what programs like Photoshop does for less money. If it had an ability to watermark, I'm not sure I'd ever open Photoshop again.

    Digital Cameras have an anti Alaising filter in order to mprevent Moire.........Nikons tend to have stronger filters than some other cameras. because of that, Pics right out of the camera can be "softer" than desirable. You can increase sharpening in camera, and that helps, but sharpening of a RAW picture has more flexibility and results in better sharpening IMO.

    Crisp pictures are a result of many factors:

    - Technique - Camera shake (or lack thereof). You need either great hand-holding technique, a tripod with mirror lock up, or an incredibly fast shutter speed to "freeze" the motion.

    - Appropriate Sharpening

    - Great Light.

    Good luck & welcome to the site.

    len

  21. #21
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I rarely shoot raw, most shooting I do is casual and fun, If I'm doing a job for someone, I'll shoot raw, or if I want something serious, I'll shoot raw. But by and large with all the casual fun shooting I do, the benefit Raw offers me is not worth the added time, steps and energy in my workflow. Then again, I also have to use Lightroom to process my raws, because my CS2 does not work with my A700 raws, and on my old computer (First generation Athlon X2 dual core) the workflow takes quite a bit of extra time over JPEG. If I had a brand new Intel QX9900 or something of the sorts, and CS3, I would certainly do a lot more RAW shooting. 90% of my shooting is JPEG for this reason. If I had the brand new quad core with CS3, I would probably do 50% JPEG shooting or less.
    - Charlie

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  22. #22
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    RAW exclusivity is not necessary, unless you are shooting in difficult high contrast situations, high quality jpeg is just fine with most DSLRS. Batch development is an option for rapidly developing a series of similar Raws.

  23. #23
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I don't even need to "develop" from raw to jpeg, just use Lightroom and edit the RAW.
    Only files I want to post here, or print, get converted to JPEG
    PAul

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  24. #24
    Almost There...... ciddog91's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting in RAW

    I shoot mostly sports and cannot use a flash so I shoot RAW for almost everything. I shoot JPEG for family stuff (kids around the house ect). If I am doing anything for friends I shoot RAW and post process any "keepers" that are going to be printed. Otherwise I batch process using Photoshop.

    Good Luck...

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