I have talked about this before but recently came across another excellent example of the benefits of shooting RAW.    My parents now have chickens and I took a quick shot on a cold day a few weeks back.  The heat lamps were on and casting a serious red hue on everything in the coop.  I left my white balance set on auto and fired on a few frames before closing the door to keep the little guys warm.   Later while reviewing the pictures I realized that the heat lamps played havoc with the camera’s sensor and the images looked blown out with red, didn’t seem like the camera even made an attempt to adjust.  Because I shot Raw I clicked the WB selector in Lightroom and clicked on the back of one of the chickens, they are a lovely light tan or buff color and voila the image instantly looked MUCH closer to reality.   I always love an opportunity to showcase the power of shooting RAW so  I took an unedited RAW version, exported it as jpeg and reimported.  How well would the WB selector be able to adjust a JPEG image?  Take a look at the results below

why you should always shoot RAW
Raw Before and After Auto WB
Avoid Shooting in Jpeg
Jpeg Before and After Auto WB

Common arguments against shooting RAW is the hassle of dealing with the files. . .

I don’t see a hassle – Even if I shot JPEG I would still need to download the files to the computer, make adjustments, tag and export.  Lightroom(and other programs inlcuding iPhoto, Picasa etc) make this process identical, it doesn’t matter if my files are JPEG or RAW.  The RAW files do take up more space and take longer to offload the flash cards, but with storage being as cheap as it is the trade off is more than worth it for me.

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