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The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin

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Lesson 5. Exposure: Optimize Your RAW Exposures

Photographers, instructed by well-meaning pros to shoot in RAW format, are often not told why this matters or what it requires of them. RAW formats are powerful, but they assume you plan to refine these images in the digital darkroom later, which is a must if you’re in RAW mode; otherwise, the files can look low in contrast, and often too bright and uninspiring. So let’s talk about the best digital (RAW) file.

The digital negative is really just information, a series of ones and zeroes. The best digital negative (RAW, not JPG) is the one with the most amount of data. Why? Because we need to refine that image in the digital darkroom, and more data means greater flexibility and ability to do more ...

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