How much of your image do you want to leave behind?
I speak with Infrared photographers on a daily basis, and the issue of RAW files and workflow often comes up.
Now, I am not talking about whether or not you should shoot in RAW; that I hope is a given.
You WANT to shoot in RAW. You NEED to shoot in RAW.
What I am referring to is the next step.
Converting the RAW file.
Often, when we discuss workflow, I ask them what they currently do. Quite frequently they proceed to give this long series of arduous steps.
When I hear the workflow, in my mind I see a large blackboard and a guy in a lab coat writing in chalk . . . . . .
Then there is always that moment where I am ask. “So is this what you do?”
My response “. . . . . umm,..uh ..no. I use my RAW Editor”
I then get that shocked look like I just told them the most amazing thing possible.
“You mean you don’t use blah, blah, blah,. . . . it’s so intuitive, it’s so slick, it’s so stylish, ….. everybody’s using it.”
Then there is that pause and “Raw Editor??? What’s that?”
Here’s the thing.
Every camera manufacturer has a proprietary format to their RAW file. If you want to access all the information within that RAW file, to create the highest quality image possible,
. . . . . . . you must use the RAW Editor that is native to your camera.
This is not my opinion, this is what the camera manufacturers will tell you. Most of them give the RAW Editing software to you when you purchase the camera. Several make you download it from their site, and one makes you purchase a full version of it.
So, what are we talking about?
Let’s use an example:
Let’s think of your RAW file as what it is, Computer data. Now, let’s say each piece of data is a penny.
Here’s your RAW file
How much of your RAW file do you want to have access to?
And how much data do you want to leave behind?
Basically, how much money do you want to leave behind on the table?
It’s really that simple.
The RAW Editor made for your camera will give you access every cent of information in that RAW file.
Now, . . . there are other ways to open your RAW Files, and they will open, but you are note getting access to all the information (data) in that RAW file.
Life is about choices. You make choices on what to shoot, when to shoot, and how to shoot. You have a choice on how to open and convert your RAW files.
My workflow is very simple
- Take a great image in RAW. Sometimes the percentage that falls into that “great” category is not as high as I’d like.
- Open my RAW file in my RAW Editor. In my case as a Canon shooter that is Digital Photo Professional
- Make the adjustments needed to my RAW file.
- Save the image as either a jgg or tiff (depending on my needs)
- Open the image in Photoshop
- Make something cool. Once again, that percentage is never as high as I’d like.
THAT IS IT!
I work hard to make my images (most of the time) and I want access to everything I made.
How about you?