Benefits of Shooting in the Raw

Have you ever heard someone talking about shooting in the raw and wondered what they were talking about? RAW is a file format that captures all of the information your camera’s sensor gathers when a picture is taken. This data gives you high quality versatile images to work with. However, many cameras are set by default to format your images as JPEGS, this method of formatting compresses your images and allows for smaller files sizes and minimal processing. But, with the convenience you lose quality. When determining what format is best for you consider the following pros and cons: 




Brightness Quality

This is the range from black to white in an image. Higher levels give you smoother tonality and control over exposure, brightness, and contrast. It’s best to get your exposure right in camera but if for some reason you can’t, RAW images give you the freedom to correct what would be impossible with a JPEG.


White Balance Adjustments

This removes unrealistic color cast so objects that appear white in person also look white in your photo. Because RAW files have all the information necessary to correct white balance adjustments can be made to the overall temperature of your photo (warmer or cooler) while maintaining a natural look.

When you adjust a RAW file, you are not changing the original data but rather telling another format, for example JPEG or TIFF how the file should be saved. You never have to worry about ruining an image or making a change you can’t undo. JPEG files lose quality every time you save them after making an adjustment. In order to prevent this, you must duplicate the image and save the new adjusted copy.


Better Prints

Not only does RAW formatting give you the highest quality digital images they also make better prints. You brochures, business, cards and other marketing material will look best when you use a high quality image such as a RAW file.




There are however downsides to shooting in RAW. Raw files are larger than jpegs and may slow down continuous shooting if your camera’s buffer fills up and it needs to wait to record on your memory card.

Because RAW formatting doesn't compress information the file sizes are larger requiring more storage. For example a 4GB SD card can hold 475 large JPEGs but only 120 RAW images. While this seems extreme I would consider how inexpensive digital storage has become in recent years. You can get a 64GB SD card for $20 or less and easily shoot long events without ever having to consider storage.



RAW files also require processing in a program like Lightroom or Aperture before they can be used online or in print. This does take extra time but it is clear the benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

If you have any questions about image formats or would like to discuss other ways The Burnette Agency can assist your brand please feel free to email us at or give us a call at 404-850-2081.