Should You be Shooting in RAW?

If you are even a little experienced with photography by now, you must have heard the term RAW photography. A RAW photo is basically an uncompressed image file that contains all the data captured by your camera’s sensor during a shoot. So why should you be shooting in RAW? Here are some reasons:

  • Image Quality – A RAW photo will give you the best possible image quality your camera sensor can produce. This is because there is no compression, no changed settings, no over-sharpening, and no filters applied.

 

  • More Tweak-ability – Where a JPEG image captures in 8bit, a RAW image does so in 12 or 14bit. This gives you much more control over the exposure settings of your images. You can tweak the look of your photos without sacrificing image quality, unlike JPEGs.

 

  • Control over White Balance – With a RAW file, you have the option to easily set your white balance however you want in post processing. This lifts the added stress of nailing your white balance settings in-camera every time you take a shot.

 

 

  • Non-Destructive Editing – As mentioned earlier, RAW image files have all the image data captured by your sensor. When you edit this data, you’re not doing anything to the actual image but rather telling this data how it should be saved when your export it as a TIFF or JPEG image file. This gives you heaps of control over how your image looks without affecting the actual image quality.

So if you haven’t shot in RAW before, maybe it’s time you gave it a shot. You never know how creative your mind may get once you see the amount of control you can have as to how your final photos look.

How to Choose Your Shooting Mode

All high-end cameras come with a variety of shooting modes to let you choose the amount of manual controls you want over your images. These modes are designed to help photographers use their cameras in the most efficient way possible in any given situation. But just which mode is best for your particular needs? Read on to find out how you can maximize the efficiency of your photography:

Automatic Modes:

These modes are the ones that most beginner photographers use to grasp the controls of their cameras. They utilize the camera manufacturers’ preset processing parameters to create the best image for a given situation. Most cameras’ Auto mode fluctuates between various presets like Sports, Macro, Portrait, and Night on its own by changing every setting of the camera automatically.

Manual Modes:

If you want more control over your images, you need to be familiar with three of the most useful manual modes on your camera:

  • Shutter Priority:

Like the name suggests, Shutter Priority mode lets you set the shutter speed of your camera and then adjusts the aperture value on its own to achieve the ideal exposure for your given shutter speed and ISO. This is most useful in sports photography and other events where you need to freeze movement.

  • Aperture Priority:

Aperture Priority mode allows you to set the aperture of your camera sensor, and the camera then adjusts the shutter speed accordingly. This is most useful when you need to control the depth of field in your image, for example in portrait or landscape photography.

  • Manual Mode:

Manual Mode offers complete control over your camera settings. You can adjust the shutter speed, aperture value, as well as the ISO value of your camera in manual mode. This option is preferred by many professional and fine art photographers who want to achieve a very specific look for their photos.

When and How to Shoot HDR

Having a good amount of dynamic range in your photos is very important, especially in the case of outdoor shots like landscapes or architecture. If your photos lack the necessary dynamic range, they may either be too bright to the point where the sky appears white or too dark where you lose all the details from the shadows.

This is why it can be very helpful to shoot HDR photos instead of normal ones. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, photos are a combination of two or more photos of the same scene but at different exposure settings. Merging these multiple exposures ensures that the final image you get has all the necessary details. You can visit aurorahdr.com to see how this works in more detail.

How to Shoot HDR

Making HDR photos is very simple. As mentioned, all you have to do is expose your photos for different parts of the image. For example, if you are shooting a portrait on a bright day in an urban setting you should take at least three exposures. One of these should be exposed to capture the details of the subject’s face. Another one should capture the details of the sky, and a last one should get the details of the surroundings. When you merge all three of these images in post processing, you’ll see that the resulting image is well exposed all around.

 

So you see how easy it is to make HDR images in a matter of minutes. You don’t need high end equipment for such images. All you have to do is be mindful of whether the scene you are shooting requires to be shot in HDR mode or not.