Are We Still Debating This?

I’ll be honest with you… I actually thought this debate was over. I thought that enough time had passed… and that the argument had been hashed and rehashed to the point of ridiculousness. But apparently not. It seems that the RAW versus JPG debate is still alive and well.

Papa Bay, Miloli'i - Big Island - Hawai'i, USA

In the years since digital photography started gaining in popularity, I’ve heard every possible argument for shooting JPG instead of RAW. I’ve been told that “RAW is for photographers who don’t have the guts to shoot JPG.” I’ve been badgered during presentations, called-out during classroom discussions, and once, I even had a guy corner me after a talk because I wouldn’t concede to his opinion that shooting RAW was cheating. Some say that shooting JPG is about delivering a “real” product with no excuses. That JPG files are “truth”. That shooting RAW lets photographers create colors and tones that never existed in reality, and that the final result of RAW conversion is a picture that is more painting than photograph. Well… so far, I haven’t found anyone who could convince me to quit shooting RAW. Still – you’re more than welcome to go ahead and try if you’d like.

But first – if you wouldn’t mind – maybe you could read some of the posts I’ve already put out on the subject. That way, at least we’re starting out on the same page.

RAW versus JPG – In which, explain the difference between RAW and JPG in an heroic attempt to save a dog.

Is it Ok to Manipulate your Photos? – In which, I defend Photography as an art form.

Is this Photograph a Lie? – In which, I tell the truth about manipulation.

Go ahead and state your case – whether you shoot RAW or JPG – but do keep it respectful, ok? Your artistic choices are your own. Own them. Stand up for them. Feel good about them. But let the rest of us make our own choices too.

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.