“If you want that look, you’ve got to shoot RAW. JPEG Recipes are for amateurs, and nobody serious would ever use them. RAW editing gives you complete control.” —Anonymous person on the web trying to be a gatekeeper
I get tired of being told that if you’re serious about photography, you must shoot RAW and not JPEG. It’s such a worn-out argument that keeps getting repeated. I discussed it at length last year in The RAW vs JPEG Debate Needs to End… Again.
Simply: do whatever you want, and don’t worry about what other people think. There are a lot of people who play gatekeeper, but they shouldn’t have any say in your photography. They have a way that works for them—which is great—but it’s wrong to suggest that their way is the “best” or “only” way, and that you must approach your photography the same as they do. My personal approach works best for me, their way works best for them, and what works best for you might not look anything like either. You have to decide for yourself what works best for you. There’s no right or wrong way to do photography, only what does or doesn’t work well for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about my approach, I’ve discussed it extensively in various articles on this blog for years and years. It’s been a journey, and I invite you to travel along with me if you’re interested; otherwise, I published an article on Moment’s website earlier this year where I typed out my approach and why it might be preferable (click here). I don’t expect that everyone should approach photography this way—it’s simply what works for me, and it might or might not be what works for you. If you think it might work for you, too, that’s awesome, and I hope you’ll follow this website.
I just don’t appreciate when people tell me that my way is the wrong way. I’ve actually been told that I’m doing great harm to photography by suggesting that RAW editing isn’t a requirement. Or, more condescendingly, if I just learned to use RAW software, I’d realize why it’s superior (which ignores the years and years and years of experience I have RAW editing…). If you have a way that works for you that’s different than mine, that’s wonderful! Different strokes for different folks. But please don’t go around telling people that your way is the only way or the best way or the way that all serious photographers must use, because that’s nonsense and factually untrue. It’s simply the approach that you prefer, and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. It may or may not be what works best for another person.
One day the argument that you must shoot RAW will end. Shoot RAW if you want to and if it works for you, or shoot JPEG if you want to and if it works for you. Or shoot film. Or whatever other technique you like. Or do one approach sometimes and another approach at other times. There is no single path, and you get to choose your journey. Whatever anyone else thinks about it doesn’t matter at all.