Photography Techniques – How to Shoot Well-Composed Creative Images

For well-composed images, learn to shoot raw. Shooting raw makes it easy to experiment until you get the desired image quality, all the while saving different versions of your original image files.

You don’t have to be a professional to capture an image that makes you look like a pro. Shooting raw, will enable you to take several shots at different exposure levels with a single click of the shutter.

JPEG is a lossy-compression image file format meaning the pixels are of less quality when compared to TIFF or RAW formats. Shooting raw will give your images enough composure and make you want to show off your work to the pros’ with a nice print. If you shoot JPEG, no amount of post processing can get rid of compression artifacts in your images.

In case you’re worried about large raw image file sizes, hard drives are getting cheaper by the day. Even if you own a proprietary camera like a Canon 40d which won’t open in Photoshop, easily convert your raw files to DNG format which is smaller but still maintains most of the original raw image qualities and best of all, can open much faster in Photoshop.

If you’re serious about photography, consider shooting raw. Only shoot JPEG if you’re not quite up-to-speed on your post-processing skills. Unless you’re printing at full resolution, you will not visibly notice any sharpness or quality issues with JPEG fine mode. Why waste lots of time trying to reset photos by cropping, photoshopping, and curves when you could just practise enough to get the shots you need in the camera.

Raw isn’t hard to set up, doesn’t take along time to sort and post-process, is many times more flexible than when shooting JPEG and is more rewarding.

Shooting raw captures original light levels in a scene and not the tone levels that is, the simulation of film’s reaction to light through the exposure curve. It is hard to adjust settings like white balance correctly after the exposure step unless you have knowledge of the exact in-camera exposure curve applicable to each image and well, undo it yourself. A fundamental difference between working in light-space contrary to working in tone-space is almost never mentioned.

JPEG format can contain all the data from a camera sensor though with limited resolution levels. Most cameras clip data outside of a certain range of stops without giving you much choice or control.

Always shoot raw before converting your files to say DNG. Archive the image files separately in the two formats on different memory discs. Once archived, you can then delete the raw files from your memory disc and just work with the DNG files which are smaller and work much faster in photoshop.

Shoot JPEG if you intend never to edit your photos in any way. If you seek quality imagery and want to edit at all, shooting raw is the way to go.