Real Estate Photographers – Always Shoot RAW!

January 5th, 2015

Over the holidays, Willie asked:

“Why shoot in RAW instead of jpeg?.

This reminded me of the days years ago when we used to have heated discussions here on PFRE about whether or not you should shoot RAW. The video to the right by Jared Polin is a funny argument from that era. Nowadays there’s no discussion. Always shoot RAW, no exceptions! Here is my response to Willie:

The reason to always use RAW is that when you shoot JPG the camera makes all the exposure, color, saturation, sharpness, etc decisions and bakes them all into the file before you even get your hands on it. On the other hand with a RAW file you get all the data directly off the sensor and you get to make all these decisions about finishing the photo yourself.

You can see this at work when you work with a JPG vs RAW file in Lightroom. With a RAW file you can adjust the exposure or white balance in either direction by a large amount and you can move the highlights and/or shadows + or – by a huge amount. However, try the same thing with a JPG file and you can’t change the look of the image that much.

The important reason real estate shooters should shoot RAW is that you can take one shot and then move the typically overexposed windows with the Highlights slider so you can ssometimes even see the view out the window and then move the underexposed interior with the Shadows slider so it looks brighter. This is a huge benefit and time saver that makes the larger file size of RAW files well worth it.

Is there anyone left that will take Ken Rockwell’s side of this argument?

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52 Responses to “Real Estate Photographers – Always Shoot RAW!”

  • I have only ever shot RAW. My priority is to make the best of my limited talent, knowledge and equipment while aiming for continual improvement. It’s this aspect of photography that gives me the biggest kick. I want to be a much better photographer than I am now, and I want to shoot bigger and better projects. I’m generally busy these days, and have a good balance of more than enough work to pay the bills while being able to devote more time than strictly necessary on many of my jobs in order to improve my skills, technique and end product. I can certainly see the benefit in cramming as many jobs into a week as possible and tailoring my workflow to suit – perhaps that would mean shooting jpeg – but that is simply not what I’m striving for.

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