February 21, 2024

Smartphone cameras and the software that automatically processes images have become so good at creating beautiful photos on the fly that most people don’t even carry separate cameras anymore (well, except for a few retro Gen Zers). There are plenty of apps for adding filters to photos to make them look better, but if you really want to improve your phone photography skills, consider the format the pros use: RAW.

Editing a RAW file is more work, but it allows photographers more control over the light and color in an image after it’s been taken—enough pixels in some cases to significantly crop a photo and make it still look sharp. Here’s how to get started.

“RAW” means raw data — and a lot of it.Many cell phone cameras automatically capture images and save them as JPEG format or HEIC file, compressing and discarding some image data to reduce file size.However, when you choose to capture images as Original file, you get uncompressed and unprocessed data from the camera’s sensor. Uncompressed, RAW images contain more detail and color.But the file can huge.

There are many camera tools in the app store specifically for capturing and editing RAW files. (More on these later.) But if you’re just dabbling now, here’s how to use the options and other free tools available on the latest iPhone and Android models.

On an iPhone 12 Pro (or after Pro and Pro Max models) running at least iOS 14.3 operating system, you can capture and store RAW files by going to the main Settings app and selecting Camera and then Format.Click the button next to Apple ProRAW, which is Apple’s variation on the RAW format. On iPhone 14 Pro models, you can choose the resolution at which to store RAW files: 12 megapixels or up to 48 megapixels.

then open iOS camera app, align the lens and select the RAW function in the upper right corner of the screen. Now all you have to do is tap the shutter button to save the file to your camera roll.

A 48-megapixel file allows for photos with good detail, even with heavy cropping, but each photo can be 75 megabytes or larger in file size. Larger file sizes aren’t a problem if your iPhone has 1 TB of space, but phones with less storage can run out of space pretty quickly.

Only images captured by the iPhone’s main camera can be saved at 48-megapixel resolution. Those photos taken with the phone’s wide-angle or telephoto cameras (or those taken in night mode or with flash) are automatically saved at 12-megapixel resolution.

Finding the RAW setting on an Android phone varies by device and its manufacturer, so check your phone’s support site for specific instructions.

if you have one of these Google’s Pixel phones Running Android 13, go to the Camera app and tap the down arrow in the upper left corner, then select More Settings, then Advanced. Next, tap the button next to the RAW + JPEG controls. The camera will capture images in both JPEG and RAW formats, but save larger files to a separate RAW folder on the Google Photos application.

On Samsung Galaxy phones, camera settings Includes professional mode and advanced picture options to save images as RAW files. In settings, go to “Format and advanced options” and click the RAW copy button. For the latest models of Galaxy phones, Samsung recently released free Professional RAW camera appavailable in the Galaxy Store.

If you have an iPhone, you can use Apple’s Photo application for editing RAW files. For Android phones, Google Photos offers “limited” support for the format, but its older photo editing app, fast play, there is a tool for editing RAW files. The Snapseed app, which is free and works with both android and iOShas a support site online tutorial and teaching video For beginners on YouTube.

At first glance, RAW files appear flat, blurry, and bulky. But you can take advantage of all this extra data once you start working with them in a compatible photo editing program.

In editing applications, you can use on-screen sliders and other controls to adjust the image’s white balanceto neutralize color casts; to alter exposure; to pull parts of an image out of shadows; to darken colors, and more.

Some photographers prefer to use tools to process RAW files Adobe Lightroomwhich has a mobile version android, iPhone and ipad equipment (free, with in-app purchase). Adobe’s website has tutorialas do many websites that specialize in digital photography.

To edit your photos on a larger screen, you can store files in a cloud server or use Wi-Fi to transfer files from your mobile device to a desktop computer or airdropthen use Adobe Lightroom’s Subscribe to Desktop or one of many desktop photo applications (including Apple’s photo for Mac).

Once you’re ready to use the more advanced techniques with your RAW files, there are countless professional photography apps you can buy or subscribe to in your app store, including VSCO (for android and iOS) and ON1 photo RAW (also available on Android and iOS).For those of you who use iPhones and iPads for editing, you may also consider these apps Halide Mark II, darkroom and raw power.

When you’re done editing a RAW image, you can save it as a JPEG or other popular format for sharing, printing, or making artwork.

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