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      12-02-2013, 03:53 PM   #1
ibarry92
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How do you handle RAW files?

So, I have been shooting with a Canon 6D for the last year, and I am loving the camera. My editing software of choice is Apple's Aperture. I first started out with shooting JPEG than switched over to RAW to get the maximum control of my images as possible. My question to you guys is:

1) What do you do with your RAW files? Do you keep them as RAW files or transfer them to JPEG?

2) Are your photo cover flow all RAW or JPEG files? Do you convert them back to JPEG after editing?

3) Will I lose any quality or detail when converting to RAW or JPEG?

4) When you backup your RAW files onto an external hard-drive, do you have to convert them over to JPEG or can you leave them as RAW files and open them back up onto another computer that uses software that supports RAW images?

I am asking these questions because I not 100% clear when I get to this process in my photography. Hopefully this will help clarify other people's questions as well.

P.S. - Actually I am debating whether or not I should switch to Lightroom 5 since there has not been a solid update to Aperture. Supposedly there will be new updates to Apple's professional line-up of softwares with the release of the new Mac Pro, but we will see. Besides Lightroom only costs $89 today.

Thank you in advance.
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      12-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
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Lightroom is actually $72.99 today at Adorama.

When you save a jpeg from a RAW file the RAW file remains. You can always go back and re-edit it. I back up my RAW files to external hard drives and I keep backups of my jpegs in cloud storage (in my case, box.com).
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      12-02-2013, 04:44 PM   #3
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I usually delete all the RAWs that aren't keepers. The rest i keep on a drive somewhere. Exporting from RAW to JPEG post edit is fine as long as you specify the quality you wish to have. And since you can't really post or print RAWs, JPEGs are the most flexible format.

Lightroom is the way to go, super useful and very inexpensive.
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      12-02-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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Keeps getting cheaper, too. Down to $69.99 on Amazon.
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      12-02-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by druu
I usually delete all the RAWs that aren't keepers. The rest i keep on a drive somewhere. Exporting from RAW to JPEG post edit is fine as long as you specify the quality you wish to have. And since you can't really post or print RAWs, JPEGs are the most flexible format.

Lightroom is the way to go, super useful and very inexpensive.
I have about 1000 RAW files. If I convert them to JPEG, I will have 1000 RAW and JPEG files?

Also, I am switching up laptops and moving memory from one to the other. If I back up my computer to an external hard-drive, I will have no problems moving my RAW files around if I have a software that supports it?
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      12-02-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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I only keep the "keepers" but then I convert them all to highest quality JPEG using DxO Optics Pro. I save both the Raw and JPEG file.

If the file requires work in PS (dust removal, HDR, stitching), then I save to TIF in DxO and then work it in PS, save as TIF again and finally convert to JPEG in DxO.

Storage and backup are on external hard drives, one at home and the other in my office network.

My main camera is a Canon 5D MKIII, with the same sensor as your 6D. I've printed JPEG files as large as 50" on the long side, with fantastic detail and color depth from the JPEG file. Always use highest quality and you'll be good for most uses. Sometimes I make a resized smaller copy to send to someone that's network challenged. I don't save those resized files. (My printer doesn't even want to see my huge TIFF files).

A perfectly exposed JPEG out of the camera will be just as good as one derived from a Raw file. The problems come when you need to raise shadows or recover highlights, etc., then working with the Raw file gives you much more data and is less likely to add noise. Also, the conversion profile will be yours, not the profile dreamed up by a committee of Japanese engineers. Your idea of S-curve, color, contrast, etc. is likely to be more pleasing than theirs, so long as you don't get carried away.

Dave
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      12-02-2013, 06:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
Lightroom is actually $72.99 today at Adorama.

When you save a jpeg from a RAW file the RAW file remains. You can always go back and re-edit it. I back up my RAW files to external hard drives and I keep backups of my jpegs in cloud storage (in my case, box.com).
If I convert a RAW file to JPEG, will I be able to edit that same JPEG file the same way as a RAW file? Will it be a good idea for me to keep all of my RAW and JPEG files onto my laptop; or should I keep JPEG on my laptop and RAW on an external hard-drive? I am a little hesitant because I do not want to screw something up and lose all of my files.

By the way, thanks for the cheaper references. Now I am really feeling tempted.
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      12-02-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibarry92 View Post
If I convert a RAW file to JPEG, will I be able to edit that same JPEG file the same way as a RAW file? Will it be a good idea for me to keep all of my RAW and JPEG files onto my laptop; or should I keep JPEG on my laptop and RAW on an external hard-drive? I am a little hesitant because I do not want to screw something up and lose all of my files.

By the way, thanks for the cheaper references. Now I am really feeling tempted.
Hell no! Your laptop is voted most likely to get lost or stolen. You need an external HD where you keep ALL of your keepers, both Raw and JPEG (Many of us here throw away 90+% of our Raw files and don't waste time and space messing with them, but you ideally want double backup of your keeper files).

Flickr gives you 1TB of storage for FREE. Why not back up your JPEGs there? (They dont' take Raw files). Then keep an external HD for your archive. That's not a totally safe system, but you would need an off-site HD or complete Cloud backup to get better.

You can work with any JPEG like you do today with your in-camera JPEGs. Using the Raw file simply gives you more data and more latitude in your adjustments. LR, DxO, Digital Photo Professional and other Raw converters all will allow you to recover more dynamic range from your image than your in-camera processor. Do your levels, white balance, saturation, shadow recover, highlight recovery, S-curve, crop, horizon leveling, etc. in Raw conversion. After that, there's usually very little added processing needed.

Dave
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      12-02-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibarry92 View Post
I have about 1000 RAW files. If I convert them to JPEG, I will have 1000 RAW and JPEG files?

Yes, after you are done in post, you export another file that is a JPEG, your actual raw is untouched actually.

Also, I am switching up laptops and moving memory from one to the other. If I back up my computer to an external hard-drive, I will have no problems moving my RAW files around if I have a software that supports it?
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Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
Hell no! Your laptop is voted most likely to get lost or stolen. You need an external HD where you keep ALL of your keepers, both Raw and JPEG (Many of us here throw away 90+% of our Raw files and don't waste time and space messing with them, but you ideally want double backup of your keeper files).

Flickr gives you 1TB of storage for FREE. Why not back up your JPEGs there? (They dont' take Raw files). Then keep an external HD for your archive. That's not a totally safe system, but you would need an off-site HD or complete Cloud backup to get better.

You can work with any JPEG like you do today with your in-camera JPEGs. Using the Raw file simply gives you more data and more latitude in your adjustments. LR, DxO, Digital Photo Professional and other Raw converters all will allow you to recover more dynamic range from your image than your in-camera processor. Do your levels, white balance, saturation, shadow recover, highlight recovery, S-curve, crop, horizon leveling, etc. in Raw conversion. After that, there's usually very little added processing needed.

Dave
+1, back up everything onto a drive. Losing photos is heartbreaking and such a waste. If my pc was stolen, and i was given the choice to take my RAWs back or take my pc back, i might actually take my RAWs because i have so many.
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      12-03-2013, 09:30 AM   #10
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I shoot in RAW and keep every shot I've ever taken. I shoot mostly in single shot mode so this adds up to 1.5 to 2 TB total for the last 10 years of digital files. How much does a 2 TB HDD cost these days? Certainly less than $100 so I feel little compulsion to delete to save space. Right now I store files in several offline external drives, but as I recently set up a NAS system at home I'm getting around to transferring it all there.

Where I'm selective is in RAW conversion. I convert maybe 1 in 10 of my RAWs (and still use DPP, though all the Lightroomers around here will probably laugh) and save the resultant 16 bit TIFFs as well. Most of these get PP'd down into some final JPG form and again saved, but only again maybe 1 in 10 of these get displayed for external consumption.
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      12-03-2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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I see unprocessed Raw files only as a potential file management problem in the future. I file my keepers with a separate Folder for each date. Of course, I leave all the metadata attached and add tags, with location, subject, characteristics. I just re-processed an image from two-years ago last night and it only took me two-minutes to find it.

There are times, like when the bald eagles are active and cooperating, when I might take 1000 images per hour. The time that I invest reviewing those files and picking the best is significant and I don't want to reinvest the time at a future date, so I am brutally selective in my keeper process.

Dave
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      12-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #12
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Thanks very much for the advice guys. I just got a couple more questions:

For backing up your files to an external hard-drive, are you guys using the photo editing software to import your photos to the drive or using a regular backup process (like time machine on OSX)?

Are guys guys making separate folders for JPEG and RAW files on the external hard-drive?

Once you are done editing 100 RAW files and convert them to JPEG, do you deleting the RAW files?

Can you convert from RAW -> JPEG -> RAW, if you deleted the RAW file after converting to JPEG?
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      12-03-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
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I have separate folders for everything. Raw, Jpeg, Edited, Unedited. Then they are all sub categorized. I never have any issue finding what I want, when I want. I've seen too many people try to "keep it simple", but takes them forever to find what they want.

My biggest thing is getting rid of the not so well taken shots right off the bat, rather than review, then delete. Everything is backed up on my external, no cloud or anything. I've never had any issues with my external, but I have had computer problems where I had to wipe out the hard drive and restore to factory, so I did lose all the pictures I had on my desktop.
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      12-03-2013, 03:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibarry92 View Post
Thanks very much for the advice guys. I just got a couple more questions:

For backing up your files to an external hard-drive, are you guys using the photo editing software to import your photos to the drive or using a regular backup process (like time machine on OSX)?

Are guys guys making separate folders for JPEG and RAW files on the external hard-drive?

Once you are done editing 100 RAW files and convert them to JPEG, do you deleting the RAW files?

Can you convert from RAW -> JPEG -> RAW, if you deleted the RAW file after converting to JPEG?
Basically, a RAW file is a digital negative (it has all the photo's image details encoded in). You can create a jpeg out of a raw, but not the other way around. I used to save every single RAW, but now I only do it for very special events or paying jobs. Otherwise, the JPEGs do me just fine. Rarely will I go in and edit an old photo again, that's just me though.
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      12-03-2013, 04:08 PM   #15
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I keep my various versions (Raw, TIF, JPEG) together in the same Folder, with a Folder for each date.

Many people let their software organize their images (LR, Bridge and others want to do this), but I've never understood the point of that. It's nice to have a software that'll do things like add Tags to a group of images, so it'd be easy to Tag everything taken today with "12-03-2013" and whatever Tags would be common to the whole group.

I don't get the logic of separating JPEGs and Raw files into separate Folders. You can see the file type and grab the one that you need. Also, if I Redo an image, I keep the file name the same, except I add a Suffix, like "Redo". I keep the numerical name assigned by the camera usually, but if I change it, then I make the numberical name into a Tag. Those numerical names are handy for file Search. (Oh how I wish that there were six-digit numerical file names and not 0001 through 9999 repeating over and over).

Dave
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      12-05-2013, 04:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
I don't get the logic of separating JPEGs and Raw files into separate Folders. You can see the file type and grab the one that you need. Also, if I Redo an image, I keep the file name the same, except I add a Suffix, like "Redo". I keep the numerical name assigned by the camera usually, but if I change it, then I make the numberical name into a Tag. Those numerical names are handy for file Search. (Oh how I wish that there were six-digit numerical file names and not 0001 through 9999 repeating over and over).
Keeping file types separate makes browsing easier; you don't see the same image twice. I usually browse through the JPEGs because they have some correction applied in camera so they look better than unedited RAWs.

Some cameras allow you to change the file name (default is usually "DSC_%") You can do this each time you get to 9999 on the current settings, so you will never have duplicate file names)
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      12-05-2013, 07:12 PM   #17
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So I'm exporting my files (with first RAW then JPEG versions) out from Aperture 3 into my external hard-drive, but all of the file descriptions/kind show up as "Aperture Library." Also I am not able to individually select each image. How can I be certain that I will be able to open up these same files in Lightroom even though the file description says Aperture?
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      12-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibarry92
So I'm exporting my files (with first RAW then JPEG versions) out from Aperture 3 into my external hard-drive, but all of the file descriptions/kind show up as "Aperture Library." Also I am not able to individually select each image. How can I be certain that I will be able to open up these same files in Lightroom even though the file description says Aperture?
Whoops never-mind, I finally figured it out.
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      12-05-2013, 11:23 PM   #19
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In Aperture 3, I can only back up original RAW files. How can I back up the adjustments/edits that i made in Aperture 3 as well? Is that possible? I checked the box for "include metadata and IPTC," but that did not solve the issue. How do you guys do it in Lightroom or other photo editing programs? Maybe there will be some similarities.
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      12-06-2013, 08:11 PM   #20
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I stopped shooting RAW awhile ago, I just didnt see the apeal. Mostly because other than the fact that I'm photographer in the military, I don't make money off my photography so I dont feel the need to shoot RAW. If I was being paid off of a final product I probably would shoot RAW though. One thing I learned early on was processing like color correction can become obsessive and frustrating as you spend forever getting every photo to be "perfect". This is one thing that drove me to learn how to get photos the way I want them in the camera.

Other than having a really large file for undistorted color correction and printing billboards, why do you guys shoot RAW?
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      12-06-2013, 08:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate4641 View Post
I stopped shooting RAW awhile ago, I just didnt see the apeal. Mostly because other than the fact that I'm photographer in the military, I don't make money off my photography so I dont feel the need to shoot RAW. If I was being paid off of a final product I probably would shoot RAW though. One thing I learned early on was processing like color correction can become obsessive and frustrating as you spend forever getting every photo to be "perfect". This is one thing that drove me to learn how to get photos the way I want them in the camera.

Other than having a really large file for undistorted color correction and printing billboards, why do you guys shoot RAW?
I have default presets that allows quick Raw conversion is quick and easy. I apply the preset, adjust shadows as needed, crop, straighten the horizon if needed and do any other fine tuning. 60-sec. max and usually much less. I suspect the key is not to obsess.

Even though I Expose To The Right, I still like being able to adjust shadow detail with little risk of adding noise. Also, highlight recovery is superior to anything the camera can do, as is noise reduction.

I spent under 60-sec. processing this image:


Incoming... by dcstep, on Flickr
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      12-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #22
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Oh, I forgot, how do you know you'll never print an image 50" of the long side? I've just done that with several of mine, mostly taken years ago.

Storage is so inexpensive that I see no reason not to retain the highest quality image files that you can take, at so long as you're serious about your images.
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