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sunlight 2014-07-23 12:26pm

I am trying to upgrade the quality of my picture to accurately reflect the item. I have difficulty shooting outdoors because there is either no sun or it's too windy. Indoors I have color balance issues. I heard saving pictures in RAW makes it easier to deal with color balance. Is that worthy of pursuing.

Do any of you save in RAW? If so what processing software do you use? My camera comes with Digital Photo Professional or is something like Lightroom or Photoshop element better.

Alaska 2014-07-23 2:07pm

Everything is shot 100% in RAW. It just makes it easier in PS to make the necessary corrections. Then save the resultant image in PSD for future processing and save for the web in either JPG or PNG depending on your needs.

Be sure to take your first frame using a gray card and use that in PS to make your color correction. Like the card type that has a white, black and two grays. Helps facilitate setting the exposure as there is black (shadows) with white (highlights) plus gray for PS color correction.

What is also helpful is to is to shoot everything at the same exposure if using stable lighting. Here use flash which is has more control than available light.

fjbremer 2014-07-23 6:11pm

By your use of Digital Photo Professional I assume you are using a Canon camera. DPP is designed to work with Canon RAW files.

Dale M. 2014-07-24 8:18am

RAW format is how camera sees image, its not the edited, corrected, compressed image you see after processing.... Its up to you to do what ever retouch and save image in graphic format you desire... Very powerful image and needs great photo processioning tools, struggle through learning curve on your chosen image processor program it will be rewarding....

I always shoot in RAW formats and process image into either JPG or PNG... IF you want simplest photo processing software, something like IRFANVIEW (which I believe supports Cannon RAW) will crop, sharpen, color balance (correct), resize and save image in many formats of your choice... Its a very simplified image processor program, but powerful...

ITs free, and just try it, if you do not like it, nothing lost...


sunlight 2014-07-27 7:42pm

Digital Photo Professional is the software that came with the camera. I have a Canon T3.

I have been shooting in JPG and using GIMP2. But am looking for something easier and gives truer and more consistent results.

Mike Jordan 2014-08-13 4:14pm

I also shoot in raw only, even when the lighting is perfect. Shooting in raw is not for everyone though. The learning curve can be a bit steep so that you can take advantage of the benefits of raw and the cost of shooting raw can be higher, unless you don't worry about keeping the original and backup copies of your files. Raw files are much bigger than jpeg images (I have lots of terabytes of space taken up by my images) and to process raw to tif or jpeg can put a strain on your computer unless you have lots of memory and a fast CPU.

And after going to all of the trouble, time and expense to set up a raw workflow, you may find that you still end up with sub par images because shooting raw is not a magic bullet to over come poor exposure, extreme color balance issues and lousy lighting. It's a lot easier and cheaper to fix those issues when you take the picture than it is in the computer.


Laura B 2014-08-15 5:48pm

My camera does not shoot in RAW so it's not an option for me.

dsglass 2014-08-28 6:39am

I always shoot RAW, and process the images in Lightroom; I use GIMP for "creative" post-processing - filters, textures, combining images, etc...

Doug Baldwin 2014-08-28 1:45pm

The challenge with using the sun as a lighting source is that it changes color and angle over the course of the day and the year. Variations in the weather also affect outdoor lighting. The sun is a "point" light source, meaning it's very small in relation to the object being photographed. This results in harsh, specular, burned out highlights and deep, hard-edged shadows, not at all pleasing for beads and glass. Regardless of whether you shoot RAW or JPG, software cannot solve the lighting issues of using the sun. Yes, you can lighten and darken the photo, try to retouch in the harsh highlights and soften or remove the deep shadows, but that's a poor way to approach the photography. Better yet is to use a consistent, stable, soft light source indoors and avoid all the negative aspects of using sunlight. Softboxes used indoors fulfill the requirements of soft, even lighting, regardless of the weather.

The basis for professional photography starts with an understanding of good lighting. Light the subject properly, set the camera for a correct exposure, and you're on the path to a great photo.

Capsalty 2014-10-30 5:24am

Shooting in RAW gives you much higher quality photos. I'm not sure why some people are making it sound like it's much more difficult to shoot something in RAW, it's not really. Take the photo, import into photoshop, save as JPEG. Not too bad. I'm sure there's lots more advanced stuff than this, but you don't have to be a professional photographer to shoot in this format.

Also, I'm not a professional photographer, so take this advice in that light (pun not intended). If you are willing to invest the time and money to shoot professional quality photos, it makes sense to use artificial light. But if you're not that invested, the sun can make up for your lack of skills, and the results can be more interesting and organic looking. I would recommend shooting at sunset or when it's overcast though; otherwise it's just way too bright.

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