Lots can be said about raw vs jpeg and there are plenty of articles online that you can read through. Before I began this post I thought a lot about what I wanted to share and how I could break down this post so it wasn't overwhelming and of course made sense. I shot jpeg for a really long time, without thinking twice about. One reason was because for the longest time I didn't really know what raw was. Once I learned about shooting raw I kept putting it off because I didn't' have the software I needed to edit the photos.
So, for all those out there wondering what the big deal is regarding raw vs jpeg, I'm going to do my best to break it down. If you were to ask me casually I would tell you it's basically all about processing. I'm not one to say I only shoot in raw because that's not the case. If I'm not interested in editing photos, I'll shoot in jpeg and not worry much about it. It's all about what I'm wanting to accomplish.
Some may say that shooting in raw is so much better, but again it's all about preference and circumstance. Is the raw file format better then a jpeg file format? Well, yes, but will talk about that later on. If your not currently shooting in raw, it's not a big deal. Now, let's break down the difference between the two.
When you shoot in jpeg your camera will process the photo image right in your camera. It takes all the information you chose from your settings and will add contrast, brightness, sharpening, ect and then it will render the image. Once the image is render the camera throws out any other details. These jpeg files are good to go from printing to sharing online.
When you shoot in raw the files are unprocessed. The camera maintains all the details and information of each file. Because these files are unprocessed they come out a little darker, flat, and lacking sharpness. In order to view, print or share these files they have to be processed. That is where Photoshop or Lightroom would come in.
: Above you can see how the raw image looks darker and a little flat and the jpeg looks a little brighter and vibrant. Initially one might think that the jpeg file is better. However, as mentioned above the jpeg file has already been render so it's editing cababilities aren't as great. However, when editing a raw file you have more range, since the file has yet to be render.
WHY SHOOT IN RAW
Shooting in raw gives you the opportunity to develop you image. You have all the controls to do with your image as you wish. You can adjust your exposure, adjust the contrast, clarity and brightness. You can change the temperature of you photos and the tone of you photos, and then some. Shooting in raw is ideal for editing.
While I'm not super jazzed at being at a computer all the time I really enjoy the development part of photography. I can't be in a traditional dark room, but I can develop each of my photos in photoshop. If you are wanting to create your very best photos then I would recommend shooting in raw.
*Raw files are a better file format because of the ability to develop your own photos. But that doesn't mean there is no reason to shoot in jpeg.
WHY SHOOT IN JPEG
I often opt to shoot in jpeg when we do personal photos. Photos that I know I may not get around to editing. Random photos from around the house or a slew of photos from our trip back home that are just for Tyler and I. Shooting in jpeg takes that pressure off of editing the photos. We can view them and if we chose we can share them right away as well.
Can you still edit photos that are shot as jpeg? Absolutely, you just won't have as much information in the photo to work with. You can still manipulate the photo, but you'll have less options.
So, in simple terms the difference between raw and jpeg files is processing. Raw files give you the ability to develop your photos, while Jpeg files are processed in camera allowing you to view and share immediately. Do both have great uses, absolutely. It's simply up to you to decided which one is best for you.