So, You Shoot in RAW

So, you shoot in RAW? Well, that’s great! Here at JPEGmini we are constantly hearing how you shoot in RAW and we’d like to address it head on. Before we go any further and explain why you need JPEGmini even if you shoot in RAW, we’d just like to say that we’re big fans of RAW. In fact, we are not against it in any way. Shooting in RAW gives us greater control in post production. But, what does it all mean for your images?


What is RAW? RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo. Let’s break that down a bit. When a digital camera makes an exposure, the imaging chip, whether it’s CCD or CMOS, records the amount of light that has hit each pixel, or photo site. This is recorded as a voltage level. The camera’s analog to digital circuitry now changes this analog voltage signal into a digital representation. Depending on the camera’s circuitry either 12 or 14 bits of data are recorded. So, if the camera records 12 bits of data, then each pixel can handle 4,096 brightness levels (2^12), and if 14 bits, then it can record 16,384 different brightness levels (2^14). The RAW files are therefore significantly larger than the JPEG files, because they are retaining more data.

Once you’ve captured your RAW files with your camera, they then need to be processed in order to collate all the data and compress it together to become the final image, which, by the way, usually ends up being a JPEG. With RAW you have control over the compression of the final image. You’re using software to edit and manipulate the pixels as opposed to letting the camera do it automatically. However, you’ll have control over things like white balance, contrast, highlights, shadows, colors and saturation. One little drawback is that you’ll need software in order to control it all. In short, you can make a decent photo out of a not-so-decent one when shooting in RAW. Did we mention that it’s not suitable for printing directly from the camera.


How many RAW images can you send in an email? How many websites use RAW images? The answer is 0. No one is sending any RAW image in an email, and they are certainly not putting up and RAW images on their website. At the end of the day, you are turning your RAW images into JPEGs.

What is a JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)? JPEGs are full-color images that dedicate at least 24 bits of memory to each pixel, resulting in images that can incorporate 16.8 million colors. The JPEG format is not suited for images with text, large blocks of solid color, and simple shapes with crisp edges. This is because when the image is compressed the text, color, or lines may blur resulting in an image that is not as sharp as it would be saved in another format.


What are some of the benefits of JPEGs?

  • Standard Format.
  • Easy to share via email.
  • A common choice for use on the Web because it is compressed.
  • Files are smaller than RAW.
  • Excellent print quality at high resolution.
  • Many photographers don’t have the time to post-process their files.
  • Many cameras (especially Digicams) can not shoot quickly when working in RAW mode.

So, for all of you out there who say I don’t need JPEGmini because you shoot in RAW, we dedicate this post to you. We know that you like to be in control which is one of the reasons why you like to shoot in RAW. However, we know that you are turning your RAW images into JPEGs. You’re sending those images out via email, you’re storing them somewhere, you’re putting them all over the web, why not be in control of your JPEGs?


You can be in total control of your JPEGs if you just add JPEGmini to your workflow. It’s a really fast and simple integration that will save you a ton of time and a lot of money. You will be in total control of your hard drive space, adding more images to your email, and even improving your websites UX. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take control of your JPEGs!