Beginner Photographers Guide to RAW vs JPG

As a Beginner Photographer if you are doing any research you will stumble upon RAW photos. Suddenly every pro you see is saying they shoot raw. But what is a Raw photo? Today Im going to tackle what a RAW photo is and how it compares to JPGs.

Before we start talking about what a RAW photo is, lets talk about what a JPG photo is. When you take a photo your camera takes all the information that came into the lens and landed on your cameras sensor and gets rid of some details it doesn't think you will miss and then compresses whats left into a JPG photo that you can share with family and friends right away. A JPG is a "finished" product. It gets rid of a lot of info that the camera deems useless to your photo. Info like shadow or highlight details or colorspace. Because if the JPG is a finished product then you don't need all that extra info.  This leaves editing capabilities very limited. Possible but limited. So if you never intend on editing your photos and you just want to share them once you've taken them, then shooting might be the right option for you. 

Ok now lets talk about RAW photos. When you take a photo your camera takes all the information that came into the lens and landed on your cameras sensor and puts it ALL into a file called a RAW  photo. As in all of the RAW sensor data. It hasn't been altered. This is great if you intend to do ANY editing of the photo. Having all of the availible information gives you more flexibility when editing your photos. Even if you try your hardest to shoot all of your photos perfect in camera we all know that doesn't happen 100% of the time. RAW is a bit of an insurance policy for when that happens. You walk from outside to inside and take a quick snap without adjusting your settings and now your photo is quite underexposed. If you shot in RAW you would have much more flexibility to correct the mistake when you go to edit the photo. 

So to wrap it up, if speed is the name of the game and you are confident in your shooting abilities then JPG might be the way to go for you! If you need full control or will want to manipulate your photos, Shoot RAW. If you're unsure, shoot RAW. You can always save a JPG version of the RAW if you dont want to edit it. But you never know what the future will hold. There are plenty of times where I wish I had shot old photos of my kids in RAW so I could edit them now but cant. 

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