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What Is A Raw Photo | Photo Tips

engaged couple kissing on a fallen tree

You’re engaged!!! YAY! So exciting, and a little overwhelming. There is so much

information online these days it can sometimes create unnecessary stress. You

have never been married and do not know where to begin to choose yours

wedding photographer. Wedding websites have put together lists of questions you

should ask, but honestly half the questions are not necessary. One question in

particular really confuses couples. Raw Photos.

What is a raw photo? Think of a raw file like a digital negative for film. You aren’t

going to hang them on yours wall. You do not have the tools to turn a digital negative into a print on your own. Raws work in a similar way, but for digital cameras.

Another way to think of it is as a baking ingredient. If you want to bake a cake you need flour, sugar, eggs, etc. All of those items mixed together would not be tasty. Now, in photo

terms you have your camera, lens and light to capture the uncompressed data.

Those are you “ingredients”. When you click your shutter those are your

ingredients mixed together, a raw file. It’s not until you put the cake in the oven

that it actually comes out delicious. For photographers, our editing software is our

oven. It’s not until we edit the photos and export them before they are done and


After the photographer loads the photos onto their computer they open a

special program to read the raw files. Raw files are very large, unlike photos

captured with your phone or jpeg images, and will only open with programs like

Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. These programs are designed

specifically for photographers and creatives to edit raw photos and more.

The simplest way to explain it is imagine an overcast, gloomy day. The colors

appears slightly muted, there is no contrast. Everything just seems

dull and flat. That is what a raw photo looks like. It isn’t until after we sprinkle a

little sunshine that the photo becomes vibrant and alive.



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