Choosing The Right Photographer

February 16, 2015  •  5 Comments



So, it's been awhile since we've actually sat down and submitted a blog post!  We apologize for that.  Forever Photography has been booming and we are finally getting to a point where we have time to give our website the attention that it deserves!  Though it's been a hectic past few months, Scott and I have really come up with several blog topics to discuss over the next few weeks.

Today is an especially fun topic!  How to decide what photographer is right for you!  This will be a multi part blog post with different areas covered over the course of the next few weeks.  Hopefully, it allows you, the potential client, to learn valuable information on what you should expect from photographer for your next big shoot!  So, lets jump right in.

First off, lets get past the belief that every photographer is the same.  Really, we're not.  Every photographer is different in many different ways.  Some like softer edits, some like harsh skin edits, some like day shots, some like night shots.  When choosing which is right for you, it is just a matter of getting online and looking at the pictures yourself and seeing if their style fits to your liking.  However, when hiring a photographer for big events such as weddings, senior shoots, or even those special boudoir shoots for a loved one, there are certain questions that you as the consumer should be asking any potential photographer.  Today's Blog is about RAW Imagery!  This is a very important question that needs to be asked!  Lets get to the discussion.

Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?

So.  First off, you're probably asking what the heck is RAW?  Don't worry, it's completely normal not to know!  That's the photographers job.  Ever cooked a chicken?  Well, the best way to describe RAW is to say it's straight out of the package.  With a raw piece of chicken, you have to option to broil it, bake it, grill it, smoke it, stick it in the crock pot or fry it.  The choice is yours!  RAW in camera format is no different.  When a photographer shoots in RAW, they are basically taking what is in front of their camera, and capturing the RAW data onto their Compact Flash or SD Memory card.  What does this mean?  Well, it means the photographer can adjust the data as if they were retaking the picture all over again.  It allows them to shoot a portrait a little underexposed if needed, and bring it up to exposure in post processing (Photoshop) without the risk of a grainy picture.  RAW also allows the photographer to edit the HSL, or Hue, Saturation, Luminosity.  This is important as these are your basic color schemes.  In raw, greens are capable of being greener, reds stand out, blacks are true to color while whites come out beautifully.  In JPEG, these colors can be adjusted as well, however, the actual picture is being adjusted rather than the data collected in a RAW.  This means the overall edit will not come out as clean. 

JPEGS are easier to shoot.  The files are much smaller and the colors come out of the camera (OOC) truer to the eye than RAW.  For us, JPEG is shot during the action.  Sports are usually the only time we will switch over to JPEG.  Sports pictures usually don't take a lot of edits.  The client isn't looking for perfect skin tones, we aren't able to set up our lighting as we would during a portrait shoot, and we aren't able to pose the subject like we normally would during a session.  For sports pictures, you take as many pictures continuously and hope to capture that perfect frozen image of a touchdown, basket, or swing.  If you were to try to take continuous pictures in RAW, you would find your card freezing while it tries to catch up on the data being saved.  JPEG allows you to shoot in continuous mode, without the fear of a freeze up. 

So, which is right for your shoot?  Basically, if you are posing, you should be shot in RAW.  It's as simple as that.  Portrait photography should always be shot it RAW.  No excuses.  The benefits of RAW in portraiture far outweigh the benefits of JPEG.  Skin tones are flawless, lighting can be adjusted, colors can be toned, cloning in photoshop is much more effective.  The possibilities are endless.  A great example of RAW capabilities can be seen in the photos below.

Before Before

The first picture on the left, is a RAW image transcoded to JPEG.  This is the image that is straight out of the camera.  However, since it was shot in the RAW format, simple edits allowed it to transform into the after picture on the right.  Notice how the color scheme changed to fit the vision of the photo?  Notice how the skin tone look more manly and how the shadows are perfectly placed to give depth and drama?  These are all benefits of the RAW format that DSLR Camera's offer today.  RAW records anywhere between 4,096 16,384 levels of brightness while JPEG only catches 256.  You just simply cannot get these effects when shooting in JPEG without destroying the shot.  Weddings, Baby, Senior, Boudoir, or any other shoot that involves posing should ALWAYS be shot in RAW!  The artistic advantages it gives the photographer are endless.  And, lets face it, if the photographer is calling themselves a professional, then they should be shooting in what's considered the professional format.

So, what can we take from this blog post?  Simple.  Do not settle for anything less than you deserve.  Ask your photographer if they shoot in RAW format.  Ask to have it included in your contract that the shots with be in RAW.  Make sure they follow through with it and actually shoot it in RAW.  Here at Forever Photography, we keep all RAW files on a Cloud Drive.  We can pull them up for a client at any given time.  We have no issues showing our clients our RAW images.  To us, it gives the a perspective of just how much editing we actually do!  However, the question must be asked.  Before you spend your hard earned money, make sure that you are getting the best possible service.

Please, If you liked this post, feel free to hit the "Like" Button Below and give it a share on Facebook!  It keeps up going and lets us know our posts are helping others!  And stay tuned for next week when we discuss...

Basic Equipment every Professional Photographer SHOULD own!


I agree with the file formatting being a huge difference in the quality of the photos. The helmet photo is amazing. I love it!
Most people don't realize all of the technical stuff that goes into a session. Very true!
Mary Anne(non-registered)
Shooting in RAW is definitely the way to go for professional photographers. Your before and after image really demonstrates the power of RAW. It's great that you are helping to educate your clients in how to choose the best photographer for them!
Michelle Chapman(non-registered)
YES! I love ya'lls blogs! This one was very informative, as always. Can't wait for more.
Stephani Lowrey(non-registered)
Wow. I had no idea there was a file format that could make that significant of a difference! This is why we won't use anyone else but you all! Thank you so much for starting these back up!
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