While I have been shooting with my Canon 5D MKIII for many years, I have only recently established a workflow that has me shooting everything in a RAW format.

Notwithstanding the workflow learning curve, I am so glad to have made this decision! Apart from having total creative control, the feature I like the most about RAW files is the ability to crop out compelling images within much larger files.

I have started making a habit of looking at many of my images for interesting compositions that could be created this way. Almost all DSLRS today allow you to shoot RAW and will produce files that are much larger and offer you the ability to effectively crop heavily while maintaining reasonable quality, even when under or overexposed. This is not something easily done with JPGS out of the camera.

The following is a recent image posted to 500px (and selected for Editors’ Choice) that was created this way from a large (22.43MB) RAW file.

RAW File (click photo for higher res):


This dancer was swinging suspended 25 feet from the ceiling (BTW… we are using high quality mountain climbing equipment). I am on the left as chief “flour thrower” and am simultaneously using a remote to trigger both the shutter and flash.

Final Image:

After developing, cropping, rotating and editing, this final image emerged from the one above.

The cropping tool is your friend.

I am now starting to review more and more of my imagery for this possibility. Do you have images filed as unusable that could use a second glance? Have a look. Also consider shooting RAW with this in mind. Maybe you too have (or could have) GOLD in your RAW files.

About the Author: At 59 years old, successful business man and long-time photo lover Derrick Senior decided to spend the rest of his days pursuing his passion for photography—income be damned. He joined 500px, moved into a large studio, and began experimenting with high-speed dance photography.

To see more of his work, be sure to follow him on 500px, visit his portfolio, or check out a selection of his work in this 500px ISO spotlight.