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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

When You Shouldn’t Shoot RAW Images

RAW images contain a lot more data than JPEGs. If you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you should be shooting with RAW most of the time—it makes the most of what your camera is capable. You can even shoot RAW on your iPhone. There are, however, a few situations when you don’t need to shoot—or even shouldn’t shoot—RAW.

RELATED: How to Take Good RAW Photos

If the Photos Don’t Matter or You Want to Be Able to Share Them Quickly

Occasionally I’ll get roped into taking photos at a Christmas party or family event. These aren’t high-quality portraits; they’re just snapshots of—normally, drunk—people. The only reason I’m asked is that people know I have a good camera. Once you get a reputation as a photographer, this will almost certainly happen to you.

When I get badgered into one of these events, my go-to is to set my camera in aperture priority mode, put a flash on my camera if it’s needed, and then wander around doing my own thing, occasionally shooting photos. It’s one of the few times I deliberately shoot JPEG because it means that at the end of the night, I can drag all the photos into a Dropbox (or whatever) folder without even looking at them, and send them on to the organizer. They get all the photos, and I don’t have to spend a few hours working with them in Lightroom.

When You’re Shooting Lots of Bursts

When you shoot a burst with your camera, all the images get saved to a buffer before being written to the storage card. The size of this buffer is one of the main things that limit how long you can shoot a burst. Since JPEGs are much smaller than RAW files, most cameras can store more JPEGs in their buffer and thus shoot longer bursts.

RELATED: Why Does My Camera Slow Down or Stop Shooting Bursts?

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