Should I use camera settings if I am shooting in raw file format?

Modern digital cameras offer a wealth of features, functions and settings that can not only enhance your product photography but assist those who are less experienced. For those who shoot in JPEG format, it is vital to develop an understanding of these settings and how to utilise them in different scenarios, such as for fashion or jewellery photography.

Shooting in raw file format offers a way to capture more image information and allow for greater potential in editing. However, it makes many of the settings on a camera redundant. We’ve summarised some of the main settings you can consider less important as a raw product photographer.

White Balance

One of the most frequently used settings on any camera, whether you work in professional product photography or not is white balance. The colour temperature setting often includes six options, as well as automatic and a purely custom option.

If you’re shooting in the raw file format, with the aim to have greater flexibility in post-production then you don’t need to be concerned about the white balance setting. The majority of editing software out there will allow you to adjust this however you need. Having said that, many people still like to choose a setting anyway, as you can correct it in editing.

Lens Correction

In product photography, it is common to face challenges with lenses. They will always have some kind of minor imperfection depending on the shot you’re conducting and modern cameras offer support in correcting these issues. Whilst it isn’t guaranteed, many of the corrections using this setting are not applied when shooting using a raw file. Check your cameras manufacturer’s user guide to find out what is and isn’t included.

Image Aspect Ratio

Utilising the aspect ratio setting is a common skill for anyone working in product photography and jewellery photography. The flexibility to change this ratio, such as from 2:3 to 16:9, can really transform your subject. However, all raw files will stay in the standard image aspect ratio so there is no point in using it.

Noise Reduction

You will notice there are two types of noise reduction found on a camera. The one we need to flag here is the high-ISO noise reduction setting. Changes to this setting don’t get added to the raw file and you will need to complete this step in post-production.

Colour Space

Most cameras let you choose between different colour spaces but it is important to note that this choice is then assigned to the JPEG file and now the underlying raw file. When you open up a raw file in editing software, it will generally get automatically assigned a colour space, making your camera setting choices redundant.

Summary

As you can see, by choosing to shoot in the raw file format you do away with the concern about setting up so many settings perfectly. No matter whether you’re working in jewellery photography or any other area of product photography it is about what is right for your individual circumstances. There are other settings that may be less important for the raw file format, or a camera may offer greater flexibility. Take the time to test, review and implement the best plan.