Street Photography Tips – RAW vs JPG
Perhaps the biggest debate in the world of digital photography continues to be RAW vs JPG. The big difference between the two is that with JPG the processing is done in camera. While RAW processing takes place after the fact and with software on a computer. Both come with advantages and disadvantages.
I’ve been shooting RAW for almost 10 years now and I swear by it. A RAW file can be compared to a negative in film photography. When you process a RAW file a JPG is created leaving the RAW file in its original state. Processing is an entirely different activity and it has its own learning curves just like processing and printing in film photography. I don’t find processing difficult and maybe that’s because I’ve been doing it for so long. But when you shoot RAW you don’t have to worry about messing up your negative. (I will talk about processing in a later issue.) As I learn new processing tricks, I can go back and reprocess older photos.
I do actually shoot JPG from time to time for various reasons. Recently I’ve been in the mood to shoot square again. Yes, I can crop square after the fact. But that changes the composition. Shooting square means composing square and in my cameras it also means shooting JPG.
The above photo was composed and shot square as a JPG. But I didn’t give up shooting RAW to do it! I decided to try something new! I’m shooting RAW + JPG simultaneously. I didn’t do any post-processing to the photo. While I am often happy with the results of the in camera processing, it doesn’t give me the option to later process as black and white without data loss. Shooting both RAW + JPG is an experiment for me at the moment. So I haven’t made a decision about the results yet or how long I will continue to do so. If I forget, ask me how I like shooting in both formats.
If you’re not ready to get into processing your photos, but you think that maybe you will in the future, it’s a good thing to shoot both. If you’d rather shoot just JPG you can save your original photo and only process a copy of the photo.
The thing about RAW vs JPG is that RAW files contain more information. They capture more of the raw data that the sensor records. As well. it means that you can also print your photos larger if that’s a consideration. Yes, RAW files take up a lot more space on your hard drive. But hard drive prices have been coming down and I think that it’s worth it to have a negative of my photos.
From Issue 38 of the Shoot New York City Newsletter. You can subscribe here
Thoughts on Street Photography
In my experience, most people are happy when they discover that they’ve been photographed. So not everyone is going to be happy about having their photo taken. But that isn’t enough reason for me to stop. I often talk to people on the street as well. They aren’t always welcoming either. So that’s life! There is an element of chance involved. But I’ve never been threatened or feared for having taken a photo.
I live in a city where there’s as many as 10 million people in it at any given time. And yes, I’m an extrovert. But to not engage with other people is a strange concept to me. We all live together in this world and connecting with others seems like a natural thing to do. Street photography gives me permission to be in the world. Did Diane Arbus say something like that?
While in London out with friends and shooting the streets, I saw a man standing talking to another man. He had a beautiful film camera in his hands. I walked up to him and said what a beautiful camera! He said that he was going to give it to a woman photographer friend. I said, oh that must be me! He handed me the camera and said it’s mine! I responded that I was just kidding. He said that he’s serious. He had bought the camera at a market. It’s a beautiful Voigtlander Vito B film camera. Okay so it’s a beautiful paperweight as the shutter release doesn’t work. Regardless, I had an exchange on the streets of London with a stranger and it turned out better than I could’ve imagined!
I don’t talk to people before I take their photo. But I do sometimes talk to them after I’ve taken their photo. Shooting the streets and talking to people on the streets are both methods of connecting with the world that you live in. I find it very satisfying to meet people in a random way and to be surprised by their humanity and generosity. So maybe this article isn’t entirely about street photography but more about a mindset that makes it more conducive. And perhaps it’s my curiosity in life that really drives my desire to connect with the streets! Street photography is about connecting with life and participating in the world. Happy shooting!
I provide photo tours in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and it is great for street photography. Brighton Beach is called Little Odessa and it’s residents are mainly Russian and Ukrainian. It doesn’t look like Manhattan! Here are some photos from a recent photo tour that I did there. On my site it is listed as Coney Island and Little Odessa. You can do either one or both!
Photos from a recent street photography workshop in Soho.
La Maison Francaise from a recent photo tour
London Street Life – From my recent trip to London We had 2 great street photography workshops Thanks to the attendees and my co-host @joshuaevan