Saturday, June 18, 2011

Exploring File Formats...

Warning...this post is all about photography blaa, blaa, blaa. Feel free to skip if photography is not your thing, I'm just playing again.

The other day over at The CoffeeShop Blog, Rita explained her take on shooting RAW vs JPG. (Image file formats.) And since I read her post, I've been thinking...

For a couple of years I have been shooting exclusively in RAW format. Why? Well because so many digital photography focused websites/books/chat forums have always said RAWs are a far superior file format for "serious" photographers. And for the most part I like shooting RAW files and playing with them when I edit, except for those times when I just want to snap a picture of every day life and slap it up on my blog (or on Facebook) to share with friends and family without the effort and time required for editing a RAW image. No to mention the computer on which I edit all my RAW photos is old, and tired, and needs more memory AGAIN (thank you huge RAW files even though I have most of you stored on an external hard drive +huge software program required to work on you), and contains exactly ONE program that can read my RAW files...a program mind you that has 4 newer versions but that I can not afford to upgrade. (OK, really I have 2, but I don't like to use one.) And then there's the point this post makes. Interesting.

So today while I was testing out my new light/flash reflector (aka the silver car window shade that I bought on clearance at Target for $6.31) I decided to to a little comparison of file formats to see just exactly what difference it makes. My subject, the flowers given to me over 2 weeks ago by my lovely husband for our anniversary. This shot is nothing special, but I thought provided enough variety in colors and contrast to be able to make some comparisons. The photo was snapped using my 50 mm lens with flash bounced off the ceiling behind me to add to the natural light coming from the window just to the right of the flowers.

First up, the RAW file straight out of the camera (downsized for posting obviously)...


Followed by the JPG file straight out of the camera...


Then I processed the RAW file two ways. First "by hand", or step by step as I had been processing RAW files before I started using action sets...


And finally a RAW file processed using action sets...


The end result...other than the unprocessed RAW file looking totally flat, there's not a whole heck of a lot of difference in the end image in this particular instance. In fact I might venture to say I like the JPG image which required me to do nothing besides take the picture the best. Which makes me think I'll be shooting JPGs a little more often in the coming months.

Tomorrow I'm taking pictures at a family event. Some will be inside in poor lighting. Some will be outside in the bright summer sun (well, maybe I should say available outside light given how many clouds we have had hanging around lately). I could have the need to white balance adjust the indoor images being that they will be taken in a church...so I think as a test I'm going to shoot RAW+JPG...which means I'll be eating up my memory card in large bites. Good think it's a biggie.

Pre-shoot nerves...that's basically what this is. I wonder if they ever go away?


peace

No comments: