What Is RAW In Photography?

Raw In Simple Words

RAW in photography, refers to the format in which you capture images with your digital camera without any compression or loss of quality.


When we capture a photo using a digital camera, it gets saved on a memory card. Typically, the photo is saved in the JPG format, which is widely used for images.

However, JPG images are compressed, resulting in a loss of data. This compression is done to make the file size smaller and more memory-efficient.

Most digital cameras are set to save photos in JPG format by default. Nevertheless, photographers have the option to switch to the RAW format.

What is RAW in Photography?

So, What Exactly are RAW Photos?

RAW photos are image files that store unprocessed and uncompressed data captured directly by a digital camera's image sensor.

In contrast to formats like JPG, which undergo in-camera processing and compression, RAW files preserve all the original data from the sensor, including a wider range of colors and tonal information.

Should I Shoot in RAW Format?

If you're serious about photography and want to improve, shooting in RAW is the way to go. It gives you more editing control since it captures uncompressed files.

But if you're just taking casual photos, not planning to edit them much, and need to save memory, JPG is a great option.


Each camera manufacturer has its own format for saving RAW photos.
Sony uses .ARW, Canon uses .CR2 and Nikon uses .NEF. Another popular format is .DNG

RAW Files and Compatibility

When it comes to RAW files, compatibility can be a challenge.
Specialized software is required to open and edit RAW photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop (Camera Raw) are both excellent options for this purpose.

The editing interface for RAW photos is nearly identical to editing JPG, as seen below.

RAW photo editing in Photography

In conclusion

RAW photos are unprocessed and uncompressed images directly captured by the camera sensor. They contain more data, providing greater flexibility in editing. However, special software is required to open and edit RAW images.

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