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  • Writer's pictureDavid B Photography

Shooting Raw VS Jpeg

What do you shoot in? Its a question that comes up every time photographers get together. I was shooting a concert the other night and that question came up and as in every other instance I have been in when that arose everyone starts defending their choice. Its one of the things you can count on, right after what kind of gear do you have and what's your lens?

The woman I was speaking with prides herself in shooting raw, in fact shoots everything in raw. She showed me some of her images and they were very nice, a great body of work for certain. I however only shoot raw in rare instances, portrait work and landscapes, everything else is large JPEG. She immediately questioned that and wanted to know why; for me it comes down to speed, if you're shooting an event whether its a concert, a sporting event or a wedding my concern that while the camera is processing your massive file you are missing moments in the action.


The down side is that I'm throwing away a truck load of data that my Nikon D4 has the ability to capture. I think it also comes down to what are you going to use the images for on the back end. If your images are simply going to be used for web or maybe a small print then to me shooting raw is not the best option.

My son and I are planning a trip to the southwest in the next couple of weeks and the plan is to shoot the Milky Way and hopefully do some star trails, and he asked what the difference is. He has taken one photography class in college and hasn't really had a chance to do a deep dive into what is camera can do.

If you're not familiar with shooting raw it really has some huge advantages the amount of data that your camera captures is more than the human brain can process. The eye see's everything its our brain that filters things like shadow and highlight and color hue and such. I strongly suggest playing setting your camera raw whether your camera is Cannon, Nikon or Sony it doesn't matter, and see how much data you throw out every time you shoot JPEG. Again for me sports and events I'm in JPEG, missing that one little perfect moment that little expression is what we do is all about. After all as photographers we are preservationists when you get right down to it, we are stopping and recording time for that one instant.

Tommy Shaw of Styx in concert Oklahoma City
Tommy Shaw of Styx

By the way if you are of a certain age you might recognize these two bands, the first one is Tesla the other is Styx and Tommy Shaw. I was a bigger Styx fan than anything else, but I had a chance to shoot their concert and I took it.

Tommy Shaw of Styx in Oklahoma City
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