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Photography Question 
Ralph E. Jostes

Shooting in Raw

It has been recommended to me that I try shooting in Raw format for my landscape photos. I know nothing about it, or where to begin, other than I understand there should be some software that came with my camera that will allow me to work with Raw photos. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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3/3/2012 5:55:17 AM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  I'm a fan of Raw for ALL photos, not just landscapes. It isn't so much that Raw is "better" for this or that kind of photography - it is a different workflow for all your photos.
Rather than let the camera make decisions on how to format/present your final image in a JPEG, you make all the decisions, while converting the Raw file to a JPEG (or other format) in the Raw processing software. Raw files are not compressed (so they take up MUCH more memory chip space, and hard drive space) but it also means they have all the data in them that the camera sensor can capture - whereas a JPEG made in the camera will have to throw out a lot of data without your input. As a result, there's much more data to work with in Raw, which is critical, say, when you want to recover details lost in deep shadow, or tone down near-burn-out highlights.
I can't find any details in your gallery or elsewhere about what camera you shoot with, but yes, the software included with the camera is a great place to start exploring Raw. If you use Photoshop, and have a high-enough version to include Adobe Camera Raw, that is a great tool as well for performing edits on your Raw files to prep them for JPEG/TIFF conversion.

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3/4/2012 6:47:45 AM

doug Nelson   You don't have to have the most expensive digital SLR to benefit from Raw format. Sometimes the brightness range in an image is such that your highlights may blow out to pure white, or your shadows may block up or both. You can deal with this in Raw processing.
Your camera might come with Raw processing software, but I don't use mine (Canon and Pentax). If you don't have a recent edition of Photoshop or Elements, Adobe Lightroom 3 is available right now at incredible discounts from the major online retailers. I suggest you get it, if you need it.

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3/5/2012 9:08:00 AM

Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  I always shoot in raw......I like the feel of the wind against my bare skin. Just make sure no one is around though, you could end up in jail
Yes to what the others have said, raw format is the way to go, it gives you much more control as to how your photo will turn out.


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3/5/2012 1:49:52 PM

David    I agree with Nick, and if you do not have any decent photo editting software, and do not want to purchase a product, you can download Gimp for free. It does virtually everything Photoshop does, but is a little more complex to use, and you will need to download numerous plug ins for it


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3/6/2012 4:46:54 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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Ken's Gallery
  Ralph, another advantage of RAW is that you can post-process several exposures from the same parent image. For example, one that's minus 1 for exposure, another at zero, and the last one at +1. Then, you can use HDR software to combine the three into a more pleasing photograph.

To see the concept of HDR, visit this site:

If you enjoy landscape photography, you might want to consider this advantage of shooting in RAW.

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3/6/2012 5:15:01 AM

Nancy de Flon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/24/2006
  Ralph, may I suggest that you look into taking Charlotte Lowrie's introductory course on Raw, which she teaches online at BetterPhoto? I took it about two years ago and it certainly demystified for me all the basic elements of processing in Raw. If you're serious about your photography, this is a skill you need to have.

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3/6/2012 9:11:18 AM

Ralph E. Jostes   Thank you all for your great advice!

I shoot with a Nikon D80,and have been using PhotoImpact Pro edting software.

I am anxious to dive into the world of RAW...and I will do my best to stay out of jail!

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3/6/2012 9:19:06 PM

Nancy    My partner uses RAW for all pics. I use it for only things to be published. For processing we use Paint Brush Pro 4X by Corel. Check it out for user friendly and the cost of the program.

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3/7/2012 2:44:06 PM

Ralph E. Jostes   Nancy,

Thank you very much...I will definately take a look at that program.

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3/7/2012 7:48:15 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Carlton's Gallery Editor's Pick   Tribal Wear
Tribal Wear
When I absolutely must wear something - I pick these 4 :) Canon 5D Mark II, f/5.6 @ 70 mm, 1/60, ISO 500, No Flash

© Carlton Ward
Canon EOS 5D Mark ...
Ho Ralph,
I echo Nancy's suggestion. I took a RAW processing class from Jon Canfield and it made my editing so much faster, efficient and better. The 1st page of Photoshops ACR program is all I use with sometimes a little curves adjust or the Grayscale tab for B&W pics. I still use PS for layers but burn/dodge, spots, White Balance, etc.. are quick, simple and effective with ACR.
Ken stated, you can create a HDR by manipulating the exposure and I have used this technique as well when I did not shoot multiple frames that I should have shot and the result was better overall exposure & detail :)
My friend used Canons RAW processing software until Photoshop CS3 came out, and then he bellied up the $$ mostly for the ACR program. He liked the Canon software and it came with his camera but when he watched me edit with ACR, he had to have it.
Here is my "Shooting in the Raw" pic :)

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3/14/2012 12:55:27 PM

Ralph E. Jostes   Carlton,

Thanks again, and I really like your "Tribal Wear" photo!


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3/14/2012 8:45:23 PM

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