Photography Tip: What is Camera Raw? || The Authentic Portrait

You might have heard this word bandied around with no real explanation and felt a little out of the club. Here’s your ticket to the insider’s party and your quick introduction to camera raw


So, what is RAW?


Raw is a photograph with all the raw information attached that was saved when the picture was taken.


Well that's vague. Basically, most cameras give you two options to save your photos when you photograph. They are either RAW or JPEG. Raw gives you ALL of the information that the camera could find in the light while you took the photo. JPEG gives you a render of the information that doesn't include all of the little pieces of data that you may want to change the photo later. JPEG gives you a polished, sharpened, vibrant photo straight out of the camera while RAW needs some work. It's more of a beginning blueprint waiting for you to edit it afterwards. 


While jpeg files come always in a .jpeg ending, RAW files come with different endings according to the camera that was used. The most common are canon raw files that end in .cr2 , and Nikon files that end in .nef .


Why should I shoot in RAW?


The big advantages of photographing in RAW are: the quality and the ability to retouch brightness, exposure, and so much more in Photoshop without losing any quality. Raw is for those who want more options to edit their photos afterwards. 


The few considerations about shooting in RAW: You'll have to buy Photoshop, Lightroom or other editing softwares to be able to convert those photographs. Not to mention they're a lot heavier (bigger files) than the JPEGs. In the end, if you want more control over your photos, it's totally worth it!


This is just one of the solid, easy to implement tips and tricks for photography that I talk about in The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s guide to Documenting Childhood, an ebook perfect for anyone who want to learn the basics of photography and improve their photos without spending hours and hours taking classes. Find out more here!

Try taking some photos in Camera Raw and editing them! Share your photos with me over on Instagram in #TheAuthenticPortrait series, a series for learning and growing in photography.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with #TheAuthenticPortrait!