Young smiling girl in staircase in Dangriga, Belize
When it comes to photography I like to be in control. O.k I might be considered on top of being somewhat of a rebel and have some authority issues, a control freak, but it is my artwork we are talking about and I like to be in charge of that. I do not like a slump outcome except If I decide so. It is my decision how the final image should look and how its final outcome is. I am the Artist.
O.k O.k not always true, it can be a joint decision of me and my client, but in order for me to deliver what I and the client have agreed up on I will have to be in charge of the process. I cant leave that to Wall Mart. Therefore the talk about JPG v RAW is to me useless. They are both good formats but each has its advantage and disadvantage. Asking which to use is like asking weather I am going to eat a soup with spoon or fork. I would have to answer that it highly depends. Noodle soup and I would use both, Minestrone and I would use spoon. In the case of Icelandic meat soup I would use spoon, fork and knife. Every situation has its on problems to solve. By deciding on using JPG you are in fact restraining your self. Leaving the outcome of your images in the hands of the camera manufacturer.
Making it simple Look at it this old way. You have a film. You need it developed. Do you take it do the nearest super market and have the lab there develop it or do you want it developed in a special manner. You can take it to a pro lab and have them develop it the way you want, and as you have done business with them before you can trust their quality. They can even make an enlargement just the way you want. Better yet as this is an HP5 film that you have shot under situation you know, you take it home and develop it in D76 1:1 and agitate the tank the way you usually do to get the desired contrast. Then you enlarge a selected frame from that film on your favorite barite paper and do dodge and burning and even selenium toning, all in the effort of getting the best out of your image. You want to get out what you saw in your mind when you pressed the button. Shooting JPG is like shooting a polaroid. Take that to your favorite lab and ask them to make a print for you. They can and will do it, but with all the degrading effects it will have on the image. They just do not have enough to deal with. They will have to re shoot that image develop the film and then make a copy. I know there are scanners but lets just forget about them for the moment. Make life somewhat simpler.
Shooting RAW is like having an unprocessed film in your hand. And not only that its like having your cake and eat it many times to. You can from the RAW file select if you want to have Black and white film, slide film, negative film or what. You can select to develop it normally and then cross process or what ever your mood or client wants. All this with out having any effects on the file. Shooting raw is you being in control. Your creative mind at work. No limits but the sky.
For my raw conversion I like to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Here are som good books on raw: