RAW vs. jpeg (The Idiot’s Argument)

I read a great article the other day regarding the whole RAW vs. jpeg debate.  In this article the photographer said how he preferred to shoot jpeg.  He gave his reasons, he showed why he liked it better, showed photo samples etc… I personally thought it was a great article and made great points for why he would shoot in this particular format.  Now myself, I mostly shoot jpeg too, once in a while I will shoot RAW but I honestly prefer not to.  It wasn’t so much the article that got me as it was the comments below it.  Now this is something I think EVERY photographer should take into consideration, some of you may not like what I have to say, but oh well, that has never stopped me before!

The comments below the article were bashing this hugely published photographer who has worked for very major magazines that millions of photographers will only ever wish they could work for!  His work has spanned over 40 years and is really good, solid work, some of it has actually inspired me without me even knowing he was the one doing it!  Yeah, that is how many covers of magazines and editorials he has done over the years.  The comments below his article were telling him he doesn’t know what he is doing, one guy said that he has been shooting even longer than the writer of the article so basically that gave him more knowledge.  This is total bullshit.

I looked at the work of many of the “photographers” who were bashing this guy, I’ll just be honest and say that some of their work sucked.  I mean, not even good, not even close in some cases.  Yet here you are telling someone that they are giving bad information when you yourself don’t have a clue how to work a camera!  Now, photographers have always been a little arrogant and have always had major egos, but this whole digital technology has made this behavior skyrocket out of sight!  Just because you can afford a good camera does not make you a good photographer nor does it make you an authority on anything photography related.  Just because you read something online or in a photo magazine does not make you the all knowledgeable genius of the photo world.

Here is my advice on the whole RAW vs. jpeg debate.  Do what works for you.  End of argument.  Oh, and if your work sucks, you are not allowed to have an opinion until you actually show that you know something.  I said this yesterday on my Facebook page, it doesn’t matter what film you use, what brand of camera or if you shoot RAW or jpeg.  The how does not matter, it is the why.  What is your intention, what is the photo about?  I don’t give a rats ass how you shot it, and guess what, most other people don’t either.  Seriously think about this, when you look at an image, is your first thought “oh, I wonder if they shot it RAW or jpeg?”  No, it isn’t.  A good image is a good image no matter if it’s digital, film, shot from an antique camera on expired film or from a disposable camera.  Good is good.

So to all of you know-it-all’s out there.  Before you start spewing from the mouth about technical crap, how if you’re a professional you have to only shoot RAW and the difference between the resolution and bits and whatnot, I don’t care.  I do what I do, and guess what, the resolution of the expired Polaroid film I shoot is nowhere near as good as a RAW file from my 5D MkII, but guess what, I still think it looks better and so does the magazine who just published it.  It’s about the content, not about how it was shot.  Keep your technical data, I’ll keep depositing checks from happy clients.