Monday, June 02, 2008

It Was Cold, Wet, and RAW This Weekend

No, it wasn't cold and wet, but yes, it was my first wedding shooting RAW this weekend. I have to admit, it was kind of scary - heck I only had 96 gigs of cards with me - OK, just a joke. But, really I was a little nervous. Here's why.

Normally, I'm a crazy man when it comes to shooting a wedding. The camera is on the high speed drive setting and I have no compunction about shooting 4000 images on a job. Shooting RAW made me think twice about that this weekend - In fact, I shot about 2000 images. I was concerned about how fast I was using up my 4-gig cards.

Now the upside of that is less time editing and that's a good thing. Also, another observation I made was the fact I tried to make each shot count more. But, I have to admit, I "hated" that perceived shooting constraint this weekend. I mean, isn't the beauty of "digital" that every exposure is free? So that's one issue I've still got to sort out.

Also, I'm not looking forward to needing 5 DVD's to back up the data. I know some people say shoot RAW, make the corrections, save in Lightroom, save the high res images, then ditch the RAW files. Sorry, that doesn't work for me - I'm just too much of a pack rat to ditch the images. Maybe the new Blu-Ray discs are a possible answer. It probably means more and bigger cards. Again, I'll keep you posted on my new workflow situation.


  1. I have always wondered at photographers who put their cameras on auto drive and shoot that many images. Many amazing photographers do it, and it does lessen the chance of you missing something great, but it can also encourage laziness. Did you get a good shot? Probably, you took 100 shots! You simply don't have time to take a minute of downtime to preview those in the field to make sure you are getting the composition and shots you want.

    However, the big reason I don't shoot that way is post-processing time. I try to take good shots the first time, and while I will leave a shoot with hundreds of images, I never come back with thousands. Who has time to scour through thousands and thousands of images to find the gems, when you may have 50 to 100 of each idea? That's not how I like to spend my processing time, personally.

    Each photographer has their own style (as it should be), and if 4000 images works for you, more power to you. I simply don't have the time to go through that many images, especially when odds are I got a good shot in the 10 to 20 I took, as opposed to the 50 to 100 rapid fire shots I might get.

  2. Please do keep us posted on your workflow. I have just started working with RAW images myself and would like to have some tips on the workflow with RAW images. Thank you.

  3. I completely understand where you're coming from David. I switched from JPG to shooting nothing but RAW almost a year ago and I too don't want to throw anything away. I've become accustomed to bringing home just under 2,000 photos from a wedding and using 4-5 DVDs to back those originals up before I do anything.

    While I also experienced concern at running out of memory, I find that using RAW actually encourages me to shoot more freely. If there are any blunders, RAW has enough in reserve data to save me.

    In the studio, where I have time and a controlled environment, I'm less likely to need the safety net of RAW but in the run and gun world of wedding photography, I'll take RAW any day and will just accept the small inconvenience of large files.

  4. I just switched to a 40D from a 20D and the amount of memory needed to contain all the files is enormous - the RAW files are almost twice as large. . .So after two years of shooting RAW I'm finally learning to shoot JPEG!!

    I usually take about 3000 images for a wedding, which means that on RAW I would need 32Gigabytes of memory - and that doesn't even include the pictures my second shooter makes - yikes!!!

  5. Boy am I ever surprised that you are playing around with RAW after so many jokes about it. But what the heck, the safety net RAW shooters talk about appeals to me too. It will be interesting to see it play out as the technology continues to evolve.

  6. Well, I really don't think *you* need the safety net of raw:-) But having as much data available from the camera as possible can't be a bad thing. If you want to do a HDR image, or white balance after the fact, raw is the better choice.

    Not sure who would say to ditch your raw images after processing! If you're going to bake in the settings you might as well shoot JPEG. I believe DNG format is slightly smaller than the native camera raw but you are probably losing some proprietary information.

    With Lightroom you do save space with virtual copies using different treatments. This is better done on Raw files than jpeg. And exporting high res jpegs of virtual copies may waste some space.

    As far as backing up the raw images, consider a Drobo (I've heard great things though I'm still using DVDs). Filled with 32TB it should hold over 1000 weddings at 25GB each. A second Drobo off site, or the large stack of DVDs. But at least there's not two stacks of DVDs:-)

  7. Holy Donuts Batman! 4000 images! How many of those do you toss? I'll shoot 1-1.5k and toss what I don't like and always seem to have what I need. I do shoot RAW and I do rapid fire a few shots, but wow!

    My work flow starts by downloading all files to the computer, next do a quick run through and delete what I don't like and separate images to folders for ceremony, reception and etc. I then burn all images to dvd's.

    At this point I do my edits and burn again. Yeah I know twice as many disc, but if something happens do you want to go back to the beginning?

    Thanks for a great blog


  8. Welcome to the Raw club David. I know what you mean bu feeling your shooting a lot, and taking too much space.

    You'll get over it soon though and storage is cheap (though I admit I do look forward to larger capacity DVD's that are practical)


  9. Mr. Ziser,

    When you shot weddings on film, did you shoot 2000-4000 images, as you currently do? I suspect not, and am curious why you're shooting so much more now at a wedding? Are you getting more saleable images than before?



  10. David-- a thought that may help lessen the load of files is the reception photos going back to JPEG. My wife and I shoot as a team and we will do all formals and ceremony in RAW, switching out cards between to ensure nothing gets lost in the event a card goes down. But when we shoot a reception we typically switch to the JPEG mode (except for cake cutting and first dances.) this has helped a bit on the memory issue. Just a thought...

  11. I just switched over from jpeg to raw this past weekend. i am very new to photography and just purchased my first DSLR, but am looking to soak up all the info I can, esp about this new discover of RAW images!