RAW or JPG? A no brainer.

Do you shoot in RAW or JPG? That’s probably one of the most discussed issues in photography. Even the Pros don’t agree – Ken Rockwell says “I never shoot RAW“, while Jared Polin goes through the effort of making 10 videos to show why Ken is wrong.

Me? I was really sceptical about the extra effort, and I started by shooting “RAW+JPG” for a while to get the best of both worlds. That ended quickly – a single day was enough to convince me that I had to switch to RAW for good. And I never looked back.

On that day, I was shooting the wedding of a good friend. When I looked at the images at home I was shocked – the colors were all way off, and the skin tones looked terrible. Like this:

What had happened? It seems I had not reset my settings from shooting landscape the day before, and I had saturation set to “Vivid+++” on my D90. Great for colorful things, not so great for skin.

This is where the RAW files saved me. Being able to go back to the RAW files and reprocess them was a life saver. The pictures came out great, and the happily married couple loved the shots.

This is what the image above should have looked like:

That experience settled the debate once and for all. In the meantime I started using Aperture (ever since they lowered the price in the Mac App Store you’d be silly not to….) and processing the RAW files has become the natural process. Once you start doing that you’re often surprised at the potential that’s in the RAW file that you never saw before – with very little extra effort..

Give it a try. You’ll love it, I’m sure.

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