If you’re just starting out in wedding photography then the internet is a great place to look for tips and advice. There are so many websites and forums where people go to get answers to their questions.
One question that a lot of beginner wedding photographers ask is whether or not wedding photographers shoot in RAW. This is a very important question because it is one of the most crucial things that you need to get right when shooting weddings.
So, as I wedding photographer, should you shoot and in RAW? And if so, what are the benefits of shooting in RAW?
Join me as I answer these questions and more.
Do Wedding Photographers Shoot In RAW? Yes, wedding photographers shoot in RAW instead of JPEG because the RAW file format gives you more freedom to make adjustments in post-processing, which is often required in wedding photography. Shooting in RAW will give you a better opportunity to deliver high-quality and stylized photos to the wedding couple which can later be used for prints or publications.
What Is RAW In Photography?
RAW is an image file format that is saved by a camera with minimally processed data directly from the image sensor. This file format is named RAW because images saved in this format have not yet been processed. They are usually dull in appearance compared to JPEG images, but this is good because it allows you to make any adjustments in post-processing.
Benefits Of Shooting In Raw
Now that we’ve established that shooting in RAW is the way to go, let’s have a look at all the benefits.
1.) Preserves original image data
Shooting in RAW does not compress the data from the sensor. This means that you get the maximum quality of the image and there is no loss of information. As a result, your original image data is completely intact. This is particularly useful for wedding photographers who need to organize and edit photos for particular poses, lighting adjustments, or even for choosing a specific focus for a certain image.
2.) No image degradation
When you shoot in JPEG, the image that is stored on the memory card is already converted to a smaller size; hence, there can be some data loss and image degradation in JPEG images. This is not true with RAW photos. You get perfect photos every time when you shoot in RAW.
3.) Photos can be used for prints and publications
Many wedding photographers use RAW for their photos because they can be used for prints and publications. Often, a photographer needs to deliver images that are large in size for different purposes. For example, they may need a high-quality image for printing purposes while at the same time, they need to deliver a smaller version of that photograph to the wedding couple.
4.) Creativity and quality
Shooting in RAW gives you enormous freedom to alter your photos. While images shot in JPEG are compressed and limited to a certain color gamut, RAW files allow you to drastically change the image by manipulating white balance, changing exposure or contrast, or adding noise. Even though these adjustments may seem unnecessary at first glance, they can make the difference between a photo that is ready for publication and an image that is going to be rejected.
5.) Long-term protection
When you save your images in RAW, you have high-quality files that prevent the image from being degraded over time. With JPEG files, you will always be able to see the difference between the original file and the low-quality version that is saved. This is not true with RAW files; hence, these images are real treasures for wedding photographers who want to preserve their work for years to come.
Disadvantages Of Shooting In Raw
While shooting in RAW is recommended, there are a few drawbacks to using this file type. Let’s have a look at them.
1.) Bigger file size
When you shoot with RAW, the file size will be higher than what you see when you shoot in JPEG. There are no two ways about it; this is a disadvantage that wedding photographers have to accept because they need the files to be big enough for printing purposes.
2.) Takes longer to save to an SD card
When you shoot in RAW, it will take longer for your images to save to an SD card. This is because the file size is bigger and there may be no compression to make it smaller.
3.) More space needed on your storage device
When you shoot in RAW and JPEG simultaneously, there will be two files saved in addition to any files that are saved when you shoot in JPEG only; that is why more space may be needed on your SD card.
Do Wedding Photographers Keep RAW Images?
Yes, wedding photographers keep RAW images because these images are usually dull and unappealing in appearance, and therefore require post-processing before sending it to the wedding couple. Keeping the RAW files also allow wedding photographers to subsequently use them in print or publications.
Do yourself a favor and make a point of it to always shoot in RAW, not just for weddings. As mentioned, this gives you more freedom in post-processing and you can achieve the desired result with less hassle.
While JPEG images look better straight out of the camera, they are already compressed and lower in quality. This is not the case with RAW files because they are of the highest quality possible.