Raw or JPEG, Adjusted or Straight Out of The Camera

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

It’s strange to be thought of as old-fashioned in the digital photography world, but I’m beginning to feel that way. Last week I received an email from a reader who asked if I corrected or adjusted my images. Then I see people online using the phrase “Straight Out of the Camera.” To answer his question: Yes, almost every image you see of mine has had some correction.

Before and afterWhen digital cameras first started competing with film cameras that had pretty bad dynamic range. The only way to overcome that was to shoot RAW files and attempt to recover the highlights and shadows using Adobe Photoshop. The images also needed a fair amount of contrast adjustment and sharpening. RAW files are meant to be corrected since they look flat and less saturated than JPEGs. Also you can change the white balance after the image is shot in a RAW file.

I don’t think an image is meant to been used straight out of the camera (SOOC.) Back in the films days I worked in photo labs and every image was looked at by an technician and corrected. I see programs like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as doing the same thing for digital images.

I see the images that came out of the camera as something for me to work with and show how I interpret the scene.

For a different slightly different take on the always contentious subject of RAW vs. JPEG, read Joe’s Post “Why I Mostly Shoot JPEG” on his blog ‘Saving the World, One Pixel @ a Time.