So for the past couple of months, I've been hiding a little secret. Mostly because I didn't want to admit it was true, but it's time to tell you what's going on. For the longest time, I've been a HUGE advocate of shooting jpeg. I have worked really hard to be able to nail shots in camera (I shoot 100% in manual mode), and I also shoot BW in camera. This way, after the wedding, all I have to do is select the photos I want to keep, upload the gallery, and go! I don't fix or retouch photos until they are ordered or chosen for an album to avoid retouching literally hundreds of files that my brides and grooms don't even look at. Plus, with manual exposures, they come out looking very good anyway!

Here were my primary issues with RAW:

1. I shoot so fast that my CF cards couldn't keep up with me
2. I don't like doing excess work on images that don't NEED excess work
3. Shooting RAW causes a space issue because the files are so big

But I think I've finally found a way to solve all three problems, so shooting RAW images is now something I've incorporated into my workflow! Here's what I did:

Invested in CF cards. Hoodman cards are the only ones I've found that can read images as fast as I can shoot them. Their downloader is also amazing--I'm not kidding when I say it's maybe twice as fast as other Firewire 800 downloaders I've used. I am exclusively using 8 and 16 GB Hoodman cards now.

Hoodman also has ZERO defects or corrupt files in two years with tens of thousands of cards in the field. Personally I'd rather have cards that don't fail than ones that require a helpline because they fail so often. They also have a lifetime guarantee.

I know, they're more expensive than other CF cards, but the truth is, I charge a lot for photography, it's my whole business, and there's no way I'd put images on cards that were less than the absolute best, even to save a few bucks per card. It's just not worth it.

Do yourself a favor and go pick yourself up a few on
the HOODMAN store.

#2--not liking excess work. Yes, but there are those times when the photo would just be SO much better with a few extra stops of flexibility! By shooting jpeg most of the day and shooting RAW in tough situations, I am now able to get back some information when there's just no other way to shoot what I need. A few examples:

(the befores are at the top, or on the left in the vertical ones. all before images are SOOC)


Notice the veil in the back left of the one on the left, as well as the dress. The one on the right has that detail recovered:


So much better!


I pulled the wrong shot by mistake but you get the idea:


Mostly subtle detail recovery:


I know, it opens a whole can of worms of possible retouching, but I think the trick for me is to ONLY do this work on photos that either can GREATLY benefit from it or desperately need it. And I'll make that decision on the fly as I shoot :)

#3--the space issue.

As we all know, the price of external storage has greatly dropped in the last year or so. I've been buying these little 250 or 500 GB drives from the Apple store called G-Drives:

I used to delete off of them when I backed up on DVD and onto my servers, but this year I'll be phasing out DVD backups and just using these drives exclusively. For $179.99 for 500 GB, they're small, light, reliable, and a done deal!

So that's it--my dirty little secret. I'll always be primarily a jpeg girl though :)