Diamond in the ‘RAW’

“The Diamond in the Rough”; It’s a metaphor meaning there is beauty in not-so-obvious places. Diamonds come from rough rocky clusters and don’t always sparkle and shine until they’ve been cut and polished.

For the first 5 years of my photography experience I used Jpeg file only. I didn’t know about RAWs, and I was getting frustrated with my images and lack of progress.

From a distance my color and composition seemed to be improving. However, up close, my images seemed blurry to me.

I took a digital photography class. They discussed RAW but didn’t actually teach us how to use it. My images were still not sharp and I soon began to believe that my camera equipment was faulty.

I got a new camera and lens. To my frustration, things fared……the SAME!

If you feel my frustration, My friend thank you.

I became determined to learn this mysterious RAW file. My wonderful Husband bought me a Wacom tablet that came with PS Elements and had a RAW platform.

BAM! Over night my images moved to a new level. Oh sweet victory of Progress!

In one year after moving to RAW my skill improved, not only in post processing but in camera as well. My quality ratio went from 20/80 to 70/30 and rising.

In these two ring images. The one with baby feet was before I edited exclusively in RAW and this was the maximum sharpness I could achieve for rings. The rings in the box are from a wedding we photographed in RAW. Wow! It’s a bit over sharpened in my humble opinion, but the progress I felt was giddi-fying. ๐Ÿ˜€

Before and After screenshots

These are screenshots of SOOC beside RAW after adjustments


RAW at Dusk

RAW saves lives-sortof

RAW saves the Shadows

why shooting in RAW is better

Glowing RAW Beauty

The RAW file is the Diamond in the Rough.

Jpegs are rough. They can only save so much data, and so it must compresses it the image information to save space. In it’s nature, Jpegs destroy the image in it’s attempt to enhance it.

Raw’s save all the data and, at some bad times, can give you a second chance to salvage the beautiful bits out of a poorly shot image. And always give you control of the sharpness.

There are some con’s:

  • RAW files are larger and take more time to save on you sd/cf cards, and slow down your camera.
  • You have to open and edit each file and save in a usable format. (if editing in photoshop like programs. If you edit in Lightroom, you can open all the RAWS ๐Ÿ˜€ )
  • These files take up a TON of hard drive space in comparison to jpegs. I keep my files on an external hard drive these days.
  • You can’t simply look at the image thumbnails in a folder like you can jpg’s. —> Windows Users, there is an update for this issue, I no longer have this problem.

In some jobs I will opt for Jpg only shooting. That usually involves same day printing at a booth and I simply take the photo, print it and give it to the customer’s, no editing. However, I’m still super happy with my work and these images are great.

When it comes to my regular business in custom portrait photography, I will always shoot in RAW for the Highest achievable quality my lens is capable of.

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Updated to include clarity of subject and honorable mention of Lightroom as I now use it for all my basic editing.

Thank you for Reading


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