Yesterday was National Dog Day and I wanted to honor my dog Freckles. As I looked through old photos, I found a whole series that were severely underexposed as shown in the JPG file below.
If you are shooting with a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, I’ve always recommended that all photos be captured in both JPG and RAW format. Read Fill Flash and RAW Files Can Help Editing of Photos for more details. The simple answer is that you can get a much higher quality edit from a RAW file than from a JPG.
I opened the RAW version of this photo in Photomatix Pro 5 (read HDR Software Tools Redux and Photomatix Pro 4 for more details) and used the Balanced preset to get a much better version of the photo. The result is shown below.
Could I have edited the JPG file to get a better version of the photo? Sure. But there is no way it would look as good as the result I got from editing the RAW file. And it only took a couple of minutes to get such a good result. So if you aren’t saving your shots in RAW and JPG, you should get started now!