Why Shoot RAW?

   I moved to shooting RAW images several years ago as a result of this accident. I was hesitant at first, but now I'd never go back. You can do things with RAW images that you could never do with JPGs. It's so different that if you were to look at my work before and after, you'd swear that you were looking at the work of two different photographers. RAW images store every bit of data that the camera collects, which is more than the human eye can see. As a result, you can pull details out of the shadows or recover detail from a blown-out sky that would otherwise be lost. Photoshop has an excellent RAW converter. Here's a quick example of a few things you can do with RAW images:

   This is the original image, shot on a dreary day in New York City's Central Park. As you can see, the detail in the sky is almost entirely lost, as are the shadows.

New-York-City-09SEP26-0100-straight


   Now, let's do one of my favorite transformations. After recovering the sky and the shadows, I've bumped the Clarity setting down to -80, which gives it a soft, dreamy look.

New-York-City-09SEP26-0100-clarity--80


   If you go the other way with Clarity (to +100 in this case) you have a very different image:

New-York-City-09SEP26-0100-clarity-100


   You can do countless things… here's just one more, which is reducing Saturation to -69:

New-York-City-09SEP26-0100-saturation-69


   Give it a try! It'll be one of the most useful things you've ever done with your photography.



© 2012 The Guild Foundation Press