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New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-28-2013

uploading raw images

I'm having trouble uploading files since beginning to shoot in RAW. I am a beginner at all of this, and really didn't know what RAW was until a fellow photo buddy said to shoot everything in RAW then you can edit. So that's what I've been doing but now I'm not albe to upload to Facebook or my shutterfly acct. to transfer photos for file. Please let me know what I'm dong wrong.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,369
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: uploading raw images

You can't upload RAW images. The fact is that a RAW file isn't an image but just computer code. You convert that code to an image using a software program such as the one that came with yout camera or maybe a Photoshop program or one of the many other image editing programs being sold. You use the program to modify the file to suit your eyes & then save to a jpg for uploading. You may also want to save at a lower resolution if it's just for the web. 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 123
Registered: ‎05-26-2013

Re: uploading raw images



RAW files are so large you wouldn't want to upload them to Facebook, Photobucket, etc., anyway.  Use your image editing program and convert RAW images to uncompressed TIF files, carry out the editing you want, then save the final file to share as a JPG.  People will thank you if you're sharing a file that's only 500K instead of multi-megabytes.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 790
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: uploading raw images

[ Edited ]

You've gotten some good responses already, but a little info more might help...


There are many types of digital image files, created for different purposes.


JPEGs are some of the most universally used, but are compressed to smaller sizes to save space on memory cards, hard drives and to speed up their use online...  and lose a lot of the originally captured data in the process.


RAW files are actually TIFFs, which is a much more complex and uncompressed form of digital file. Canon CR2 RAW files are TIFFs with a bunch of additional, proprietary data added (EXIF plus all the shooting parameters from the camera), plus a smaller embedded JPEG used for image reviews/previews.  


To give you some idea of how much more information is retained in a RAW file, as opposed to a JPEG...


Most common JPEG files are "8-bit", which means that each of the three color channels (Red, Green, Blue) has 256 levels or tonalities of that color. Now, considering that you can blend colors together to make another hue, this gives you a total of almost 16.8 million possible colors (256 x 256 x 256). Sounds like a lot!


However TIFF files are usually "16-bit", meaning that they have 65,536 levels or tonalities per color channel. With blending between colors, that works out to 281 trillion possible colors (65,536 x 65,536 x 65,536)! That means that 16-bit images have potential to contain over 1.6 million times as many shades of possible colors! So the RAW file simply has many more shades of color to choose among to record the image. Not every tonality is needed, of course, so while RAW files are larger they are usually not more than 2X or 3X the size of JPEGs. The difference is finer or more precise record of the images actual tonalities. And, if the image is saved as a JPEG in-camera, the difference between these two file types is simply discarded! That's potentially a lot of data tossed away converting to a JPEG in-camera! And to further save space JPEGs also commonly use a form of "compression", such as where similar hues are recorded as just one tonality. RAWs (and their basic TIFF component) are not compressed.


Now all digital cameras capture a RAW file initially.... always. When you set the camera to record "RAW", it simply saves everything captured. If you set the camera to "JPEG" instead, it does the RAW conversion to JPEG in the camera, according to various settings you've made, and throws away all that "extraneous" data. So if you wanted to go back and change things latter, to make more adjustments to your images, there is far less data to work with if you saved the image as a JPEG in-camera, than if you have the original RAW.


So, yes, your friend is right. It is good practice to keep the RAWs by setting your camera to record in that format, as the RAWs are sort of like a "digital negative". But, just like negatives, they generally aren't the final product that's displayed. For many common uses, that would be a JPEG instead. So you need to make a conversion from RAW to JPEG outside your camera, in your computer.


When you "open" a RAW file on your computer using a conversion software, you are basically looking at the 16-bit TIFF file at the core of the RAW and can do all sorts of adjustments to it at that level, working with all the data originally captured. If, instead, you had shot it as a JPEG file, you would only be looking at an 8-bit file with a lot of data already deleted, and will be much more limited as to how much adjustment you can make to it. Once you are done adjusting the RAW (16-bit TIFF), you can save it as any number of different types of image files... including as an 8-bit JPEG that's most convenient for printing or sharing online. This doesn't change, harm or damage the original RAW file in any way, so you can always go back and do different changes to it if you wish.


Canon provides good RAW conversion software in their Digital Photo Pro, included when you purchased the camera (you can download and install more recent versions from their website, free so long as you have the original version already installed). Alternatively, there are third party RAW converters, often built into more general image cataloging and/or editing software. Adobe, for example, offers Photoshop (the "big daddy" of image editing softwares), Lightroom (providing high volume batch processing and cataloging), and Elements (sort of a "Lite" version of Photoshop, with some of Lightrooms cataloging capabilities added). All these use a built-in Adobe Camera Raw converter that's able to handle not only Canon CR2 files, but also RAW files produced by most other manufacturers' cameras.


There are other image editing and RAW converter softwares, besides Adobe's products. But if you want to try a third party software for this, I'd recommend Elements as one of the easier starting points (in contrast, Photoshop is a massive program with all sorts of tools and tweaks.... so large and complex now that I doubt anyone ever uses all of it, or even knows how to use all the different aspects of it). Adobe Photoshop Elements - as it's properly called - might well be all you ever need. Or it can be used as learning tool, where you eventually graduate to more sophisticated Adobe programs if you wish.


Being that you are new to this, you might try setting your camera up to shoot RAW + JPEG. This fills up memory cards and hard drives a lot faster, but you get both the RAW file and an in-camera JPEG conversion saved with each shot. This way you still can later fool around and make changes with the RAW file if you wish, but will also have the JPEG available to compare and can later see if you can improve upon the JPEG as produced in the camera. You would also immediately have available JPEGs for uploading and sharing online, if you are okay with what came directly out of the camera. Eventually, when you feel you have mastered the art of RAW conversions, you might stop saving both types of files and just retain the RAWs (from which you can always make new JPEGs).


It's sort of the difference between "snapshooting" and "making a photograph". A snapshooter pushes the shutter release button and expects whatever "pops out" of the camera will be the finished product. A "photographer" knows that pressing the shutter release button is just the first step, that some of the most important work comes later when crafting, fine tuning, and putting the finishing touches on the image in what we sometimes refer to as "post-processing".


A couple more notes....


In all likelihood, your computer monitor is lying to you. Most consumer grade computer monitors are overly bright and don't display colors very accurately. This causes you to mis-adjust your images and makes it difficult to get good final results, whether shared online or printed out. For photography, it can be important to "calibrate" your computer monitor. With a lot of practice and some skill, this can be done by eye... But there are devices and softwares that make this pretty fast and easy. It should be repeated periodically (say every month or two), as computer monitors change color and intensity constantly over their lifetime. (I should also note, laptop computers and other portables are particularly difficult to use for photography... Changes to the viewing angle and the fact that they are used under a wide variety of types of ambient lighting makes it near impossible to calibrate them accurately.)


Also, being new to this you might really benefit from some books about these and other aspects of digital photography. If you get Elements, for example, I highly recommend getting one or more of the guide books that can help you get up to speed with it. Another called "The D.A.M. Book - Digital Asset Management for Photographers" also makes a good read and helps set up good habits with your images.... naming, organizing, saving, backing up, etc. This is referred to as your "workflow" and it's always better to start out with good habits and then build on those.  You don't have to rigidly follow every step in these books, but will be better informed to make your own choices after reading them. There are also online tutorials and seminars, if you prefer those instead of books (or in addition to).




Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories







New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-07-2015

Re: uploading raw images

Thank you so much for this information. I am about to start shooting RAW for the first time for scenic photos and this will help me tremendously.
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-07-2015

Re: uploading raw images

Thank you so much for this information. I am about to start shooting RAW for the first time for scenic photos and this will help me tremendously.

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