While I consider myself an enthusiast, I have to admit that I shoot jpg rather than raw. The reason is because I traditionally do minimal editing. I’ve always tried hard to get the exposure right on the camera. So even if I shot raw, I find I don’t really have much to edit. So I figured, if I’m not going to edit, I’ll just shoot jpg. Lately, I find myself editing more, mostly cropping and boosting shadows.
So I thought to myself, “If my shots are going through editing anyway, why not shoot raw?”.
So I forced myself to shoot raw for a few days.
Oh my gosh. I really should’ve done this sooner. There’s not much more I can say that’s not been stated over and over again about how raw is better than jpg.
It’s not that shooting jpg is bad. If you don’t really do much editing, then working with raw will just slow you down, so just shoot jpg. If you’re going to edit anyway, you might as well shoot raw. The only thing extra you end up doing is clicking the “convert” button and waiting a second for the raw to spit out an edited jpg.
Take this shot for instance. https://flic.kr/p/qoCaCu
Had I exposed for the tree, the highlights in the background would have been blown out. Had I exposed for the highlights, the tree would be plunged into darkness. In jpg format, the photo would have been horrible. There would be a lot of image noise had I tried to salvage it by boosting shadows or recovering highlights.
Fortunately I shot in raw and exposed for the highlights. There’s enough detail in the shadows that I can just boost them with no noise, add some sharpening and contrast, and the shot actually looks quite nice!