I shoot RAW!

I just did something I don't do very often... dropped of some film to be developed.  In the film vs digital debate I fall solidly on the side of digital.  I love digital for it's instant gratification and feedback,  I love how much less space I have to dedicate to image storage and how much quicker it is to find an old image, and I love how much easier it is to process the images to my liking.

Don't get me wrong, I love shooting film as well.  I treat it more as a fun diversion or a treat.  I live in Portland, so walking around town with my dad's old Pentax ME Super immediately breaks the ice with hipster girls.  Once they've fallen in love with your classic camera, they aren't afraid to stand in front of it and pose.  Last night when I was doing this I took a few shots before I realized that a friend who was looking at the camera earlier had changed the aperture setting and I'd just shot 3 of my 24 frames at the wrong exposure.  Here is the beauty of negative film, it has what is called wide exposure latitude, so even though I over exposed the shots by 1 1/3 stops I think they still will make good prints. (we'll find out tomorrow)

Because I'm not perfect (I know you don't believe me, you think I'm flawlessly awesome) I use the same idea when I shoot digitally and I almost always shoot my camera in RAW.  Shooting in RAW verses jpeg is similar to using negatives verses prints in the film world.  Remember back in the day when you went to a cheap photo lab the pictures never looked just right, but those same negatives could be turned into amazing prints by a good lab?  When you shoot RAW you can really make the image sing because you're dealing with every piece of information the camera has.  I just recently switched all of my photo editing to Adobe Lightroom, and it amazes me the amount of control and ease of use it gives you in crafting the final image.  Just like a negative in a darkroom, a RAW file in Lightroom can be tweaked in any number of ways to make an image look the way you want it.  It can even fix some of your in camera mistakes like over or underexposing to a certain degree.

My best advice would be to make a perfect exposure in camera every time.  For the rest of us may I suggest RAW files and Lightroom?  Check out some of my before and afters below.