What does RAW stand for and why you should shoot in raw

Unlike the JPEG file type, RAW is not an acronym!

I’m not sure if it needs to be in capital letters since it’s a word and not an acronym.

RAW is written in capital letters here so maybe it is meant to be in caps? Not that any of this really matters… Just the ramblings of my thoughts. Moving on >>>

RAW is written in capital letters here so maybe it is meant to be in caps? Not that any of this really matters… Just the ramblings of my thoughts. Moving on >>>

 

I see how this can be confusing since the other main image format is in all caps, JPEG, as it is an acronym! It is an acronym that has nothing to do with what a JPEG image is. “Joint Photographic Experts Group” is the group of individuals who created the JPEG image, take note of the first letters of each word there.

What does raw mean?

A raw image is a file that contains all of the raw image data that the sensor recorded.

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Why should you shoot in raw?

With a JPEG image your camera bakes a preset (imagine presets on Instagram but much simpler. Contrast, saturation, sharpness, white balance, etc.) into the photo and compresses all of that data. What we are left with is essentially what we see. Once its edited again the amount of data left in the photo to pull shadows or drop highlights with is too low to work with. When you take a raw photo you have all of the information gathered by your cameras sensor to pull insane amounts of detail from almost black shadows and even have a little data in your highlights to pull them back down to make an amazing photo!

 

See what you can do with a RAW file by clicking through the slideshows below!

 

Who would benefit from shooting in JPEG?

Lots of people actually! If you don’t intend on doing any editing other than on your phone JPEG is a great image format to use! Since raw files are generally very flat and muted overall as they are meant to be edited, the small preset adjustments that your camera bakes in to the photo will make your photos look awesome without having to touch them!


In conclusion, raw is a word while JPEG is an acronym and you should always shoot in raw if you intend to do any editing.