I switched over to shooting in RAW about 3 months ago and LOVE it, so I thought I would tell you a bit about it. (I apologize to my point n shoot friends, but this will be just a one day photo tip for DSLR people…..)

When you shoot in jpeg mode, your camera decides what it likes/dislikes about your shot. It will over/under expose a shot, make its own color choices, white balance decisions, etc….then that darn thing throws away all the information and details that it didn’t use! (THE NERVE!)

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d rather make my own decisions! Who made the camera boss anyway?

So let’s review: when you save in jpeg, you commit to whatever the shot looks like when you press the shutter.


in Camera RAW, you get the whole scene: ALL the data! Your camera doesn’t get to decide – YOU DO! (really, isn’t that the way it should be?)

In this next photo, the left side was shot in jpeg. The camera decided that the photo was perfectly exposed. I’m sure you can see that the fur on the meerkat’s back is too dark.

It is possible to do some photoshop work on a jpeg, but things don’t always correct properly. (If I try to lighten that meerkat, the whole photo would look wonky.) But the photo on the right had been shot in RAW, so it lightened beautifully!


Now, I will admit I was REALLY SCARED of Mr. RAW

RAW just sounds evil and messy doesn’t it? Sounds like you need to use cookbooks and fancy processes just to make it work, huh??? Or perhaps you think he will eat your photos?

NO! Mr. RAW is your friend!

I started out my big scary introduction to Mr. RAW by setting my camera to RAW+JPeg, just in case. And even that was worrisome and scary – I felt like I was jumping off a cliff or something!

Well, after my first download I was IN LOVE and immediately switched to RAW only.

The only thing Mr. RAW will do is allow to you easily and simply make changes. How innocent is that?

Tke this next photo. I was 100 feet away and it was a bit difficult to nail the exposure. You can see in the second shot the RAW photo cleaned up nicely-it even brought up the details in the black tux!


With RAW, you will be able to fix and adjust things without any loss to the quality of your picture.

I’m not kidding–every little piece of data is still there (remember, you won’t be letting your camera make any vicious decisions when you press the shutter, so everything will still be there!)

As long as you have some memory available in your computer, there’s really NO downside, as far as I’m concerned. Now your camera will mind its own business and won’t mess with your photos!

RAW captures the scene as is, at full strength and then lets you decide how to process it.


In my editing program (Photoshop Elements 7.0 —about $70) it is actually EASIER to process a RAW image than a jpeg photo because all of the adjustments are on one screen. No pull down menus, clicking here and there – just adjust a few sliders and you are done!


(You don’t even have to know what you are doing — just slide to the left….don’t like it?….then slide to the right!)


**If you don’t have a photo editing program for RAW, I’ve read good things about this one and it’s free: (I haven’t tried it though, so let me know what you think.)

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

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