I have started to play around with photographing in Raw on my digital camera. The photography books I have been reading all recommend taking photos in Raw, so I figured I should give it a shot.
I took this photo in RAW and edited it with UFRaw, increasing the temperature and tweaking the white balance.
My camera lets me take photos either in JPG (in a variety of qualities) or in Raw. As best as I can tell, JPG photos can be readily previewed and opened on any computer, but they compress information from the camera and you have less control at the editing stage. On the other hand, RAW photos can not be readily previewed or opened on any computer and require an additional editing step with a specialized program to be ready to view, but they record much more information and give you more control at the editing stage. In my experiments, I did not notice a difference in photo quality between the two. However, keep in mind that I have a Canon s90, which is a point-and-shoot with manual controls, and I do not have a DSLR.
Of course, I immediately found out that after I shot many photos in RAW, I could not even preview them without downloading an additional program. This is where UFRaw came in. UFRaw is a free program that is a plug-in for GIMP (a free photo-editing program), which gives you editing control over a variety of areas including photo temperature, white balance, and color matrix.
I am still learning how to use it, but I already love the temperature controls and the white balance control.
This is the basic RAW file with minimal processing, only conversion to JPG.
This is the same photo, only with the temperature increased and the green color enhanced.
This is the photo with the temperature and green tones decreased.
I highly recommend UFRaw as a great, easy-to-get-started with program to open, edit and convert RAW files. I do not plan to shoot all of my photos in RAW, as most of my common editing can be done to JPG files in GIMP, but it is definitely a great control feature to start using.
Shot in RAW with temperature and green tones amped up, fantastic!