Recently news has come across my feeds, which isn’t anything special to non-photographers or journalist, but Reuter has effectively banned the use of RAW images on their publications from now on. That includes images that were created from an RAW image. A memo was sent out about this recent change, which has been quoted below.
I’d like to pass on a note of request to our freelance contributors due to a worldwide policy change.. In future, please don’t send photos to Reuters that were processed from RAW or CR2 files. If you want to shoot raw images that’s fine, just take JPEGs at the same time. Only send us the photos that were originally JPEGs, with minimal processing (cropping, correcting levels, etc).
I read this bit of news on PetaPixel yesterday, 11/20, and again came across it on DSLR Lounge today. All in all, it’s an interesting bit of news. Right away it makes me think that it’s an attempt to create better images naturally, instead of processing them in Photoshop or any other image manipulator. It also gives the photographer less control over processing the photo, which in a journalism environment is key. Photojournalist are typically taught to take an interesting photo in the camera, with the equipment they have, then essentially review it and turn it in. As a photography & journalism major, I’ve had the interesting experience of seeing both sides of the coin.
In all my journalism classes, and my experience working for publications, they want the image in it’s rawest and most natural form. Occasionally you’re able to brighten it a bit or sharpen the image as need be. Say if I took the photo, and the shot was a bit too dark because I didn’t pay attention to my settings or I got it wrong. Perhaps it’s a little too soft around the edges of a person body or something in the scene. Even then these are always considered, at least in my experience, as pushing it a bit. Occasionally you can adjust the image a bit more in terms of brightness and contrast so that it can be printed. Like looking at a photo on your phone and then printing it, they never look the same between digital screens and printed versions. Of course, there are always processes for this that protect the image and make it more idea to print, without altering its news value or worthiness.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the RAW file format, let me tell you it can be an amazing tool and one of a photographer’s best friends. Essentially it captures more information when you take a photo while JPEG captures less and then compress it. At the risk of “dumbing it down” it would be the difference between, say, taking copies of the lecture and having all the information you could store inside of a folder, versus keeping a page or two of quick hand notes that may not have everything you need.
It does also make things more complicated as a lot of programs, and pretty much every web browser that I know of are incapable of reading the RAW file formats. The files can be huge, an average JPEG is about 5 to 8MB while an RAW file can be 20 to 35MB or higher for the same image, just taken in RAW format.That means you can’t send an RAW format to anyone, or typically upload it to most websites, as their systems won’t know what to do with it. So you have to convert it over to something like JPEG or PNG.
What do you think about this ban on RAW file format images?