When to Choose RAW Files for Your Dog Photos - dummies

When to Choose RAW Files for Your Dog Photos

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

When photographing dogs, you need to consider capturing images as RAW files. The RAW file format is an uncompressed digital file that’s usually much larger than JPEG in size. For example, a JPEG photo that’s 2MB could be 8MB when taken as a RAW file, so if you use the RAW file format, be sure to have a decent sized memory card on hand!

After you snap a dog photo with your camera set to the RAW file format, your camera saves the information from your image sensor directly to your memory card. This means that your computer, not the software inside your camera, processes the data into an image file.

Because computers are more powerful than internal camera software, they always do a better job of processing image data. Plus, you have the advantage of being able to manipulate that image data before you even process it into an image file!

The major advantage to using the RAW file format reveals itself in postprocessing. Because RAW is a lossless file format, you can actually make exposure adjustments after you take the photo. It’s as if you had made those adjustments in-camera at the moment you took the photo.

You’re literally working with the raw data of your photo. It’s kind of like the difference between having an original document on your computer screen versus a photocopied one in your hand. With a JPEG file, you have only so much leniency with postprocessing and you see a degradation in quality much faster than with a RAW file.

Another aspect of the RAW file workflow to consider is that these are not actually image files that are viewable or printable right from the camera. In this way, a RAW file is akin to a film negative; it’s a step away from the final product (the print).

Before you can work with your RAW files, you need to bring them into a special program like Adobe Lightroom to make your edits and then process them into a digital image file, whether that be a TIFF, JPEG, or any other file format you can think of.

If you don’t plan on editing your photos, stay away from RAW, because the format can actually produce somewhat dull results if the photos aren’t postprocessed at all.

Don’t get scared though. If you’re really serious about taking the best photos possible, choosing the RAW file format is always your best bet. After you try RAW for yourself and see the final results, you may be reluctant to ever go back to JPEG.