Christmas Program + Shooting in RAW

The kids had their Christmas program at church this morning.  They ALL did a fantastic job!

Jessica Sprague Grunge Frame
Ali Edwards Christmas Frame Photo Overlay
Ali Edwards 31 Day Circle Accents
Font Myriad Pro

Katie Pertiet Stamped Stitches
Ali Edwards 31 Day Circle Accents
Jen Wilson Design Worn Foam Stamps Series 2

And one other thing.  Lately I've changed how I've been shooting my photos.  I've been shooting all my photos on AV mode with the aperture wide open.  I've been very happy with the results.  There has been more to work with in Photoshop when editing.  However...I've been reading much about photo taking and pretty much everyone has said that at some point shooting in RAW is what you want to do.

What is RAW?  Well here's a link to a site if you would like to read a little bit or you can read just the following JPEG vs. RAW...(the most interesting part to me was the italicized paragraph under Reasons to Shoot RAW.  I put it in bold cause it just shocked me how much info RAW give you vs JPEG.)

Reasons to Shoot JPG

— Files are smaller and therefore more of them fit on a card.

— For many applications image quality is more than sufficient (family snapshots, news images).

— Small files are more easily transmitted wirelessly and online. This is important to newspaper photographers.

— Many photographers don't have the time or inclination to post-process their files.

— Many cameras (especially digicams) can not shoot quickly when working in raw mode. Some lower-end models can't record raw files at all.

Reasons to Shoot Raw

— A raw file is comparable to the latent image contained in an exposed but undeveloped piece of film. It holds exactly what the imaging chip recorded. Nothing more. Nothing less. This means that the photographer is able to extract the maximum possible image quality, whether now or in the future. A good analogy with the traditional world of film is that you have the opportunity to use a different type of developer or development time at any point in the future if one comes along that you think might do a better job of processing the image.

— Raw files have not had white balance set. They are tagged with whatever the camera's setting was, (either that which was manually set or via auto-white-balance), but the actual data has not been changed. This allows one to set any colour temperature and white balance one wishes after the fact with no image degradation. It should be understood that once the file has been converted from the linear space and has had a gamma curve applied (such as in a JPG) white balance can no longer be properly done.

— File linearization and colour filter array (Bayer) conversion is done on a computer with a fast and powerful microprocessor. This allows much more sophisticated algorithms to be used than those done in a camera with its slower and less powerful processor and with less space for complex conversion programs.

— The raw file is tagged with contrast and saturation information as set in the camera by the user, but the actual image data has not been changed. The user is free to set these based on a per-image evaluation rather than use one or two generalized settings for all images taken.

— Possibly the biggest advantage of shooting raw is that one has a 16 bit image (post raw conversion) to work with. This means that the file has 65,536 levels to work with. This is opposed to a JPG file's 8 bit space with just 256 brightness levels available. This is important when editing an image, particularly if one is trying to open up shadows or alter brightness in any significant way.

Figures #1 and #2 below shows why. (You must read the article that is linked above to see figures.) Assuming for this example a 5 stop dynamic range, you can see how much data is found in each of the brightness levels in the image. In other words with a 12 bit file the two darkest levels of the file combined have some 384 brightness levels to work with.

An 8 bit JPG file on the other hand has considerably less. Both the sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces use a gamma 2.2 encoding. Gamma encoding reallocates encoding levels from the upper f-stops into the lower f-stops to compensate for the human eye's greater sensitivity to absolute changes in the darker tone range. Therefore an 8 bit JPG file has just 47 brightness levels available in the bottom two stops. (The remaining levels out of 256 are for the f-stops beyond the 5 in this example).

I've been resisting.  Number one reason...fear.  Number two reason read the following...Downside...huge files...so I'm going to have to get bigger memory cards for my camera...bigger hard drive space...ie more money.  Time...every photo must be changed/edited...but I seem to be doing that now anyway since I changed my settings to AV.  Upside...way, way, way more editing capability in your photos.  I was thinking...do I want to be a photographer?  A real honest to good one?  At some point I'm going to have to do this.  So today I tried it.  I switched the mode on my camera to shoot in RAW.  Of course my photo count went from like 150 down to 50 so I was nervous about having enough room on my memory card and I didn't have my spare with me...what was I thinking??? ;D  So I just shot one photo that way. (I have to add here that when I got home and I opened it up in Photoshop and saw ALL the options I had to edit I regretted not shooting more in RAW but anyway...)  Soooooo...I've been looking around at some photos on some other blogs wondering how they did this or that effect.  I found out today! ;D  I'm going to post my photo...even tho my photo itself isn't that great and a bit out of focus the reason I'm posting it is cause I'm so excited about the black edges around the photo.  I've been seeing this done on some blogs I read and wanting to do it and now I can.  I turned to Corey and said, "Ok I'm going to shoot in RAW now."  He just laughed.

1 Response

  1. Thanks for your article on RAW. I got into Candice Stringham's Oh Shoot! class (the class is over and I am still behind) and she didn't bring up RAW until near the end of the course! Recently I read Becky Higgins post on RAW and was intrigued to try it. It still is something to get used to. My fave feature of RAW is the white balance issue. I do not like not being able to preview my images in ACDSee before editing. RAW is still a learning curve for me.