Bring out the best in your photography:
RAW vs JPEG
In a world of stock photos, custom photography sets you apart from the crowd. Get the most out of your photographs by learning the difference between the two major file formats: RAW and JPEG.
RAW Takes the Cake
Imagine you’re baking a cake for the company picnic. You really want to show up Cathy from accounting this year. She swears her desserts are all homemade (yeah, sure 🙄). You can:
- Start from scratch with carefully measured ingredients, or
- Use the box of vanilla cake mix that has been sitting in your pantry since 2006.
The choice is obvious– to earn the admiration of your office, you’ll need to mix only the best ingredients.
Now that we’re all salivating… What does this have to do with photography?
RAW file formats (such as NEF, CR2, SRF) include all of the “ingredients” (things like exposure, brightness, contrast, and temperature) that the camera can pick up. These “ingredients” are made up of uncompressed information that include more depth and range for you to fine‐tune.
Compressed file formats, on the other hand (such as JPEG, PNG or TIFF) are the boxed cake mix– they’re processed file formats that flatten the image and remove all of the adjustable data. Sure, you can boost the brightness and adjust the saturation, but since you’re working with the data that’s in the flattened image, you won’t get the same depth as you would on a RAW file.
Don’t get me wrong– compressed file types are absolutely necessary. They are much smaller than RAW files, and you need them to post or print your image. Less information in the file means they don’t edit well, though. Always edit your photographs as RAW files. Make sure you start with the RAW file and wait until you’ve finished editing to convert it to JPEG.
Next time you are working with custom photography, be sure to take the photos as RAW files. With some editing expertise, your photographs will bring your brand to life.