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Digital Photography: The RAW vs JPG Debate 1

Design TrainingWith your converted RAW files, you have full control over what manipulations will be carried out to produce the final image, using packages such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements or Paint Shop Pro. The better RAW conversion packages also include basic contrast, brightness and color management controls, so you may not even need a separate image manipulation package. Some even provide tools for compensating for over- or under-exposed images.
By shooting RAW images, you give yourself complete control over color and exposure and it’s you, rather than the camera, that decides what adjustments are applied to reproduce the tones and contrast of the original scene. It also lets you maximize the quality of your final image for whatever output you want, whether that’s on a monitor, as an inkjet print or sent to one of the digital photo labs for printing.

Design Training to allow you to process digital images to the highest quality possible. “Capture One” and “Breezebrowser” are both highly regarded, although you have to pay for these. A demo version of Capture One is available so you can try before you buy. Probably like yourself, I shot all my photos in hires JPG mode until I got switched on to recording my images in RAW mode. Yes, I had to buy a larger capacity memory card, but even 1Gb cards are pretty cheap these days, and with image files being about 6Mb a piece, that still lets me record well over 200 images on the card – that’s equivalent to over 6 rolls of 35mm film (at 36 frames per roll)!

So, if you’re not already recording in RAW mode, make the switch today and take full creative control of your Stock Photography.
Just after I’d finished this article, I was looking around the websites of some professional photographers who use digital cameras to see if what they had to say on the topic of RAW Vs JPG. What I learned surprised me. Quite a number of them shoot in JPG mode rather than RAW. The reason is time. Professionals expect to get “the image” in camera using compositional techniques, filters and a knowledge of their subject and they simply don’t have the time to manipulate images to achieve a desired result. Any such time would cost them money by taking time away from being out there taking photos and earning a living.

The amateur photographer is in a more luxurious position. Our livelihoods don’t depend on our results and, if a photoStock Photography isn’t quite up to spec. we have the time to tweak it and bring out its hidden attractions, rather than junking it and moving on the the next photo. The lesson to be learned is that we should always try to get the best picture possible on the day with the camera rather than becoming lazy and assuming sloppy pictures can always be corrected, cropped and manipulated when we get home.

Post-processing of photos should be about making good pictures even better rather than so-so or bad pictures just acceptable.

Gary Nugent is a software engineer by profession and has been in the business for over 20 years. Stock Photography has been a hobby for an even longer period of time and he’s now even more passionate about it since making the switch to using a digital SLR camera.

Gary is also passionate about astronomy and publishes the “Photon” PDF astronomy ezine along with writing the acclaimed LunarPhase Pro and JupSat Pro astronomy software packages (available through his Night Sky Observer website).

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March 26, 2009 - Posted by | Stock Photography, Web Design | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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