A lot of the photos we see on the internet are typically in the JPG or PNG format. However, when it comes to capturing these photos, many professionals prefer to shoot in RAW. This is because it gives them a greater degree of control over the post-processing. If you own an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, RAW is a feature that Apple has introduced to the native camera app.
But even if you don’t own the newer iPhones, don’t worry because we’ll show you how to capture photos in RAW anyway. Before we get started, for those who are unfamiliar, let’s dive into what is RAW.
What Is RAW?
The RAW format is one that is typically exclusive to more traditional digital cameras and is a format that is favored by most professional photographers. What’s the difference between a RAW photo and a JPG? With RAW photos, the photos are captured and have little to no processing done on them.
This is versus JPG where certain things are done to the image, namely compression to make the file smaller, but in the process, you do lose out on certain details. This isn’t to say that JPG is bad, but if you’re a professional who wants a greater degree of control over the final product, shooting in uncompressed RAW format will give you that freedom.
What Is ProRAW?
With the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, Apple introduced ProRAW. This is kind of like a hybrid format between JPG and RAW, which Apple claims is the best of both worlds. The problem with the RAW format is that the photos taken tend to look flat and underwhelming, but that’s kind of the point, but at the same time, we understand if beginners might be a bit put off by it.
At the same time, snapping RAW photos on an iPhone also means that photographers will most out on taking advantage of Apple’s Deep Fusion imaging technology, so with ProRAW, it offers the best of both worlds where photographers get a greater degree of control like they would of RAW, and at the same time are able to leverage Deep Fusion to allow Apple’s software to further improve on the image.
So it’s kind of like giving your photo a better “starting point” in which you can then make further improvements and enhancements on. After all, a photo that was badly taken to begin can only be edited so much before you toss in the towel.
How To Shoot RAW On The iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, And Newer
- Launch Settings
- Tap on Camera
- Choose Format and toggle on Apple ProRAW
- Launch the Camera app. You should now see at the top corner of the screen a “RAW” logo that’s been crossed out
- Tap on the “RAW” logo and capture photos like you normally would
- Your photos should now be captured in the ProRAW format
How To Shoot RAW On Other iPhones
If you don’t own the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, or the later models, don’t worry because even prior to the ProRAW format, there exists several third-party camera apps that support the RAW format.
- Launch the Halide Mark II – Pro Camera app
- Tap on the small grey bar above the grid icon and swipe upwards
- Tap the icon that says Pro+, it should turn yellow
- Photos taken will now be saved in both JPG/HEIC and RAW
- If you wish to change that, tap on the gear icon
- Tap Capture
- Under Capture format, choose RAW which means that photos will only be saved in RAW
- Launch Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor
- At the bottom right corner, tap the camera icon to launch the camera app
- At the top of the screen in the middle, you should see an icon that says DNG. This means that your photos are now being captured in RAW. If you tap on it, you can toggle it to JPG.
- Capture your photos as per normal and it should be saved in the format that you previously chose
Should You Shoot In RAW?
There are obvious benefits to shooting in RAW if you’re a professional or if you don’t mind spending time cleaning up your photos and editing them. However, if you simply want to take photos and share them quickly with others, then maybe RAW isn’t necessarily for you. Also, uploading to social media already compresses photos, so there might not be much point, especially if most of the time they’re going to be viewed through a phone’s screen.
Also, one of the drawbacks to RAW photos is that their file size tends to be much larger than JPG or HEIC. This means that over time as you capture more RAW photos, you’ll find yourself running out of space a lot faster compared to JPG or the HEIC format. At the end of the day, it’s your personal choice but hopefully this guide was enough to help you make a more informed decision.