Monday, April 28, 2008

Camera RAW or JPEG?

Example of Final ImageDoes your wedding photographer shoot in Camera RAW?

One very important question to ask your wedding photographer is “What format would you shoot my wedding photographs, RAW or JPEG?” If they answer JPEG, you might consider another photographer. While a skilled professional wedding photojournalist can deliver top quality images shooting in JPEG
, RAW provides the most control and flexibility over the final wedding image.

Lets look at the some of the differences between RAW and JPEG. Parameters for a JPEG exposure are set “in camera, before the shot” – allowing the cameras computer to process exposure, color balance, color temperature, sharpness etc. after the shutter clicks. The photographer would then have to manipulate the JPEG image in a program like Photoshop to achieve optimal end results. A RAW exposure records the same data as the JPEG file, but hold’s the processing of those same items until after the file is downloaded to a computer – then the photographer can take full advantage of the digital photo file. This adds time to the photographer’s work flow but is well worth the results. Think of it this way: a RAW file allows the photographer to control process after the exposure. The JPEG shifts the processing work to the automation of the cameras computer based on parameters set by the photographer prior to exposure.

Let’s look at a Real World example. In this
Austin Texas wedding photo taken at Angel Springs Event Center, we have a “toast” – inside exposure w/flash and an exposure outside the window with natural light. The JPEG file provides a “best guess” for exposure both inside and outside with a single process done by the camera…. But the same RAW file can be processed 4 times or more! Once for inside, once for outside, once for the dress/highlights and then a final BASE image. (Note, on the final image, we also opened the eyes of the best man and removed the wall plug near the bottom left of dress).

While this technique could be accomplished by duplicating the JPEG several times – and using other Photoshop blending tools. We feel the finest results come from RAW files processed after exposure, then blended for a natural look. At EverafterImages, our we look at each file and adjust as needed for the most pleasing wedding images.

1 comment:

DJ-RJ said...

Good article. I will consider it with my future shoots.