3 reasons why you should shoot RAW (Part two)

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This is the second part of a two part series on shooting raw. You can see part one, from last week, here.

Merge multiple frames

RAW conversion software such as Adobe Lightroom can offer additional features that can help you be creative with your RAW files. One example is an HDR Merge, where multiple images of the same scene but at different exposures levels are merged together to make the most of the dynamic range in the frame.

Because you’re using RAW files rather than JPEGs, you have far more tolerance to make the most of the shadows and highlights in the scene and this technique works especially well in high contrast scenes where there is a vast difference between the dark and light tones in the frame.

Shooting RAW makes recovering shadow detail much easier.

However, there’s even more you can do with the merging options in RAW conversion software as Lightroom also offers a panorama option, where multiple RAW files can be merged to create a single file with a wider field of view.

Obviously, you will have to shoot images with a panorama in mind by capturing an arc of single frames, overlapping each picture by around 20% to give the software the best chance of successfully merging the files together and making the results look natural.

Perfect Presets

While working in the RAW file format does give photographers a great opportunity to fine-tune settings to create a certain stylistic look to your frames. However, doing this to each photo you’ve captured can take up far too much time.

This is where RAW Presets come in super useful and offer a one-click solution that will change multiple parameters in the blink of an eye. Lightroom offers a range of different default Presets covering everything from Landscape presets, portrait presets and plenty of black and white options.

As a photographer, creating a signature look to your frames can establish you in the industry and help you stand out from the crowd. Presets in RAW conversion software such as Lightroom helps you achieve these looks in just a few clicks of a mouse, speeding up the process.

However, once you’ve created a look you’re happy with yourself, you can save this as your own Preset and, as a third option, you can buy in Presets from other photographers and import them into Lightroom too.

When not to use RAW

Yes, believe it or not there are times when shooting RAW may not be the best option and these situations are generally reserved for when you have to capture huge amounts of imagery.

For example, say you are shooting a sports game under the floodlights. In this controlled environment, the lighting is unlikely to change so you can get your settings right and then shoot away.

JPEG format is also useful if you are digitally transferring images on the fly - many sports photographers have their camera linked to a laptop that automatically transfers the images back to a photo editor at base. ❂

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