Those family snaps

We had a first birthday in our house yesterday (happy birthday Rowan!), and it prompted me to write about the "happy snaps" that we take.

Most of us prefer to work with Raw files for any commercial photographic purposes – you can’t go past the quality and flexibility of that wonderful raw data.

But the inescapable fact is that Raw files are big – darn big. So for that reason, it gets a bit cumbersome to store and backup thousands of candid photos of our own kids if they’re all in Raw format. Therefore, I’ve seen many people say that they switch to Jpeg if they’re taking everyday snaps around the house.

But the irony is that those family shots are often the ones that really need the benefits of Raw. If you’re capturing the kids as they’re running around the back yard, in and out of shady areas, etc, then Jpegs can let you down.

So, here’s a suggestion – opt for the best of both worlds. Take the photos in Raw format, then as soon as you upload them to your computer, batch process them to Jpeg format.

I've written about batch processing in ACR. When used with Bridge, it’s lightning fast to process a bunch of Raws and save them as Jpegs. Of course, Lightroom and Aperture can do it too.

You don’t have to do much – all I usually do is open a bunch of similar snaps, make any necessary white balance, exposure and noise adjustments, and save them. Then I delete the raw files. The result? I’ve got the Jpeg files that I would have had anyway, but I’ve had a few seconds to fix any little problems, and make those Jpeg files better than they would have otherwise been.

And there’s one added advantage … if, while shooting those happy snaps, you capture something amazing, you’ve got the Raw file to enhance and print a masterpiece for your wall.

Food for thought …


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