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Why We Shoot in Raw…

Or: Successful Orificial Extraction Saves the Day…

Given that I’ve posted the technical details of some experiments I’ve been running to inexpensively allow the use of all the various equipment we have together with the the most flexible way. Budget is an overriding issue, but so is the use of the mix of older/dumb strobes with the smart new remotely controllable Nikon flashes.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the smart flashes did not see the flash from the camera and so did not go off if I was too far in front of them, even with a bounce off a sheet of white paper. The distance away and the umbrella in between their sensors and me cut down the light too much for them to be triggered by the bitty on-camera flash.

I believe I now have a solution – I just need to package it up and make it usable and reliable out on location. That’s all fine and dandy but what about the photos that ended up getting get lit with little more than the ambient light (which was cut down because I was shooting at 1/200th of a second) and the bitty on-camera flash?

Well, the long and short answer is shoot in raw. Jacci was an early adopter and started shooting raw before I became convinced that despite the humongous file sizes in comparison to JPEG, raw was the way to go if you forgot to adjust the white balance beforehand with the D80 or did not get the exposure right and needed to push it.

The photos below are from the Confirmation, left are straight from the camera and the right are tweaked in Adobe Lightroom.

The top set is when I first realized that I needed to step forward to fill the frame with the small group and found out that the strobes behind the umbrellas on the light stands behind me just would not fire even with a bounce off a white sheet of paper. Quickly I adjusted the camera to use just the on camera flash but still ended up under exposing it because it was too weak and I was too far back. By the time I got it adjusted upwards, the little girl blinked and that group was done. So Panic ensued again (it first happened when I filled the buffer in the camera shooting 5 frames per kid and the camera would not shoot again until the card caught up. I worried that the card had stopped recording at all…) I worried that the groups shots would be a total bust.

When I got home and was finally able to offload all the photos onto the computer, I started playing with them in Lightroom. In the end, I was surprised at how well the end results came out when they were finally exported and Noise Ninja run on them.

Shooting in JPEG may be faster and take up less space, but shooting in raw can really save your behind if you screw up…

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Posted in Behind the Scenes by david on June 1st, 2012 at 1:05 pm.

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