Shooting in RAW vs. JPEG

The whited-out sky simply  made this image pop, imo.

Exposure is improved but the giraffe is still hiding behind the tree.
Since the photo is quite sharp, I will zoom in to the point of interest.

I was going through my photos on the computer and was deleting the ones that were no good and nearly deleted this one because the camera exposed for the sky, leaving the subject matter, the giraffe, underexposed. Not only that, but it was a BAD  shot because the head of the giraffe was mostly behind the tree. What was I thinking? But then I saw that long dark tongue curled around and I decided to see if I might be able to salvage it. So here is your lesson for today…

You can shoot in JPEG or RAW. What this basically means is… if you shoot in JPEG the “processing” of your photo is pretty much completed in the camera and there is a loss of some information which gives little leeway if you need to try to fix an image. JPEG also uses less memory on your memory card.

If you shoot in RAW (there is a setting in the menu of your camera to make that choice) you retain more information within the photo which thereby gives you more to work with if you need to fix the image. It uses more space on your memory card because it is recording more information. Once you put the photo on your computer, you can use it as is, or you can fix it in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom. I use Lightroom because I personally find it easier and quicker to work with. For some reason it took me a long time to switch over to shooting in RAW but I now understand the reasoning and I think you will too after seeing this photo.

So… by messing with exposure (OK, so this is not technical terminology), and moving some sliders, I was able to fix this image. No… I couldn’t get the giraffe out from behind the tree (he was probably trying to hide from Tess),  but I saw a better shot… and in the process it whited out the sky (overexposed the sky) but in this shot, it was not a problem.

Bad photo! The giraffe is underexposed, not to mention he is hiding behind the tree.

Basic question… and I know it sounds way too simple… but always ask yourself… “What am I taking a photo of?” Sometimes we just get too much stuff in our photos and they lose the impact that you had pictured in your mind. And my mental focus was on that tongue. By cropping, I think I managed to salvage the photo.

What do you think?


5 thoughts on “Shooting in RAW vs. JPEG

  1. Fay – Will you allow an old and decrepit Limey to join your group? I may be in the UK, but I do have a long-distance lens. 🙂

    I found your post very interesting and thought-provoking. The detail retrieved in the giraffe shot is amazing … Should I be using RAW to take cover shots for magazines instead of JPEG?

    Now you have me thinking … and searching frantically for the manual.

  2. John… what a great sense of humor you have! I’m impressed that you have a long-distance lens. Can it reach from there to here?
    But the bad news is… you are not a woman, so I am afraid you may not join but we certainly welcome your conversation!

    If you have a program to “fix” your photos, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, then by all means try shooting in RAW. There is also a setting on most cameras where you can shoot both RAW and JPEG images simultaneously, but be aware that it will eat up a lot of space on your memory card.

    It took me a long time to decide to shoot in RAW but now I am glad that I made that decision. I do find Lightroom to be much easier for me to understand than Adobe Photoshop.

    So… thanks for your comment and we are pleased to have you following along with the Crazy Women’s Photography Club blog!

  3. Awwww, what a shame! I may not be a woman, but I could always flaunt my feminine side. Never mind, I’m a metal detectorist and understand discrimination!

    Good luck with your club and your blog … I shall remain but a lowly camp-follower. 😦

  4. This is how I want to take a picture. Not just look at at subject as one “object” but in different perspective. Thanks Lala for this very good information.

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