Photo Tip #12: Silence the Photo Police (Pt. 5): Always Shoot In Raw

Today I will discuss the merits of shooting in Raw. But first what is Raw? Raw files are the largest files you will be able to get from your camera. Although, not all cameras are capable of shooting raw, today raw files are not limited to DSLRs, many point and shoot cameras do too. There is a belief that if you are able to shoot in raw then you should! But why? First, why you should; you should shoot in raw because this is what you paid for. It's expensive to deliver a raw image and if you have that capability much of the money you paid for your camera went into delivering that file to you. The most amount of information you can gather from your system comes from the raw image. By capturing more information you will also have a lot of elbow room to manipulate the image later, in case you didn't get the best exposure.
Now that you have main reasons why you should shoot in raw, here are the reasons why you should shoot in jpeg. You may want to shoot in jpeg because: 1. you are not printing your images, 2. you are not printing your images large, 3. you only need to make minor corrections to your images, and 4. you want to post your images onto the Internet quickly without having to go through a program like photoshop to convert it to a jpg. These are the reasons why you might want to consider shooting in jpg rather than RAW.
The reasons for choosing one file type over the other are not clear cut. Which file type you choose depends solely on your own particular needs and goals. What are you doing with your images and how much time you are going to spend with post processing that image also plays a role.