Many photographers that are just starting out always wonder how they can have more flexibility and power over the photos they took. How do you go about correcting the white balance of your shot without long and tedious hours spent in an image retouching program? One way is with shooting in your DSLR's RAW setting.
What does RAW mean in photography? A quick definition for RAW is a higher quality file format to shoot your photos in. The default setting on most cameras is to shoot in the .JPEG format. RAW is just another format for pictures. When you upload a RAW image to your computer, you will have to convert it in an image retouching program to be readable by the computer. After the RAW file is converted, it will most likely have the file format of .TIFF attached to it. The difference between .JPEG and .TIFF is that while .JPEG will compress the image more, .TIFF will not. Since .TIFF is not compressed at all, the photo will be of higher quality.
This will give you the ability to do more editing with your photos with less effort. When you shoot in RAW, you can easily change the white balance of the picture with the click of a button instead of messing with the levels of the picture for hours. You can also edit the exposure of the picture while doing minimal damage to the pixels when you shoot in RAW.
There are not very many drawbacks to shooting in RAW, but there is one main negative impact of shooting in this format. RAW files, or .TIFF after converted, take up considerable more space than .JPEG pictures do. Many RAW files can take up to 20 megabytes of space. Because of the large amount of space that RAW photos take up, you need to make sure you have considerable memory on your computer and SD / CF card to shoot in this format. Otherwise, you will only be able to take a very limited number of pictures. The reason for RAW files being larger is because RAW files are not compressed.
I hope that now you have learned the answer to the question "what does RAW in photography mean" and try shooting in this unique file format. Shooting in RAW is only helpful if you utilize all of the advantages that it provides you such as more editing flexibility.