What Does it Mean to Shoot in Camera Raw?

by Molly Park

While most digital cameras on the market do not offer the RAW function, more advanced professional versions allow photographers to switch between JPEG and RAW with the click of a button.

JPEG versus RAW

Most digital cameras shoot images in JPEG, named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group. This means that the camera edits the image with its own software and then stores it onto a memory card. A RAW image means that the image hasn't been processed yet by the camera, but can be finished with computer software by the photographer.

Fix Errors

When you are shooting in RAW or JPEG, there are photography errors that you can make that can affect the overall shot. For example, if your exposure was not correct for your shot, a picture that was taking in the RAW mode is more easily corrected with computer software than a JPEG image that has already been processed by the camera.

Sharp Image

An image shot in the RAW usually produces an image that is not considered to be very sharp, or polished. This can depend on either the camera used and what settings the photographer used. Images that are less than sharp can be polished up with an editing software like Adobe Photoshop.

Conversion to JPEG

Once you have shot your pictures in the RAW and then used a software program to manipulate the image exactly how you want it to look, you will then need to convert the image into a JPEG file. This is the format that is printable, publishable, and shareable between different parties. You cannot share a RAW image like you can a JPEG image.

About the Author

Molly Park has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been published on Americanchronicle.com and other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Science in political science and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Park is also a certified yoga teacher.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera digital camera age image by Steve Brase from Fotolia.com