There has been a long standing argument about whether or not a wedding photographer should shoot his wedding photo gigs in RAW format or not. New photographers sometimes wonder why the more experienced and veteran ones in the field seem to really stand for this particular kind of method when it all comes down to it. This argument is actually pretty plausible. After all, RAW, when pitted against JPEG, do have their own pros and cons. But let us just focus on the RAW files for now since the JPEG discussion basically warrants a completely different article.
So you are probably wondering what it is about RAW that makes it so special. Well technically speaking, RAW is a file format. It captures all of the data of the image that has been recorded by the sensor of the camera. It means that all of the information in the file is complete and intact. JPEG files on the other hand, are not as comprehensive as the RAW files. JPEG has the tendency to compress the file in order for it to be able to save memory space and it tends to lose a lot of the information in the process. The reason why RAW is so great for wedding photography is because of the fact that because all of the information is still pretty much complete, you will be able to possibly correct any flaws that may be in the images.
High levels of brightness
You get to record higher levels of brightness if you shoot all of your images in RAW. What levels of brightness means is the number of steps that is required to take an image from black to white. The higher the levels of brightness, the smoother the transition is and the higher quality you get for the images that you produce. Just to help you wrap your head around why RAW is such a big deal in terms of quality, the levels of brightness that RAW images offer is anywhere from 4,000 to 16,000 or more whereas the levels of brightness being offered out by JPEG images is only limited to 256. That in itself is an extremely huge deal. It will get you a lot of adjustments and options such as contrast, recovery, brightness, fill light, exposure, and so on and so forth.
You will be able to easily fix any flaws in your images. The thing with wedding photography is the fact that you will always aim to get the best exposure for your camera. This can be a bit of a challenge because in events like these, things and people tend to move fast. You will either end up with an over exposed image or an under exposed one. None of the two will bid well for your images. If you would like to be able to recover any blown highlights or any clipped shadows or anything like that, then RAW is definitely the best way to go. It is one of the most important first steps to do so make sure that you make the right choice.
In wedding photography, image quality is everything. Shooting in RAW will give you just that. Technically speaking, when it all comes down to it, the long and short of it all is basically the fact that you are dealing with paying clients. Paying clients deserve nothing less. They require the highest possible quality of images. The thing with shooting in RAW is the fact that you basically get files that is recorded directly from the sensor of the camera that you are using. When you get to think of it, all cameras technically shoot in RAW format. The camera delivers you untouched photos straight from the sensors when shooting in RAW whereas you get photo that is already pre-processed by the camera when you opt to shoot in JPEG instead.
You get to record in more records of brightness.
RAW offers the highest levels of brightness compared to any of the other formats available out there. In case you are wondering what levels of brightness is and how it matters to your image quality; levels of brightness is basically the number of steps it takes to go from black to white in an image. Ideally, you should go for more. Less is not more when it comes to this particular instance. Just to help you put things into perspective, JPEG files have 256 levels of brightness whereas RAW files have 4,000 – 16,000 levels if brightness. That is tremendous and practically unimaginable difference when you get to think of it. It gives you a pretty smooth transition of tones. At the end of the day, smoother is always better.
Shooting in RAW will let you easily fix any flaws you come across in your images.
Wedding photography is all about getting the best possible kind of exposure for your camera. This is something that can prove to be a bit of a challenge though when you are trying to capture things that move fast. That is usually one of the biggest challenges there is whenever you are shooting weddings. People practically move all the time in occasions like these. When you shoot in RAW, you will be able to easily fixed any under exposed or over exposed images, or even clipped shadows or overblown highlights, because you have all of the information of the file intact. You will be able to have the photos recover without having to make any compromises on quality.
Images that are in RAW format will more or less let you easily adjust the white balance.
The thing about shooting your images in JPEG is the fact that the white balance is automatically applied to the images. It does not really provide you with any other options. When you opt to shoot in RAW, you get everything recorded on file. You get to have way more data than usual. Having access to a wide assortment of colors and white balance will always mean that you end up with excellent quality in the photos. Easier and faster adjustments at some point will yield better results.
You get to have access to powerful editing options for your RAW images when you pair them up with great programs such as Lightroom and Aperture. We’re talking about sharpening features and noise algorithms here. All good stuff.