Night Photography Tip: Work with Raw Files

From Wikipedia:
"A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. Normally, the image is processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colorspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a "positive" file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation, which often encodes the image in a device-dependent colorspace."
The bottom line? Raw files contain much more information than JPEGs, which can be used to your advantage when post-processing, as this example demonstrates:

By working with the raw image (Nikon NEF converted to DNG, in this case), I was able to cleanly increase the exposure, bring out the details in the "shadow" part of the image, and reduce the exposure of the overexposed highlights, all without inducing any noisy artifacts, which likely would happen if I had processed a JPEG the same way.

If your camera supports raw files and you are a beginner to raw processing, I would recommend you set your camera to one of the the "JPEG + RAW" settings (I used JPEG (normal) + RAW) so you will still have the JPEGs to fall back on if you don't have suitable RAW processing software available.


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