How to use ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max

How to shoot photos in ProRAW on the iPhone

It seems like everyone on the internet is talking about this update. So what is this ProRAW format, and how can you use it with your iPhone? Sadly, Apple has only made it accessible for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max for now. Does that mean the other iPhones cannot capture photos in RAW mode?

I am sure you are as curious as I am.

This blog is a holy guide for all interested in ProRAW format and the tiniest details possible. Let’s explore what the buzz is all about now, shall we?

What is Apple ProRAW?

ProRAW is a format that gives you an upper hand while editing your photos. It does not preset the lighting of the image so that you can enhance it in whichever format you want. In layman’s terms, if you capture an image in night mode and wish to brighten the image to make it look like a daytime image, you should capture it with ProRAW mode.

You might wonder how is this even possible? This is because Apple ProRAW merges the information of a standard RAW format with iPhone image processing. This lets you play with the exposure, color as well as white balance of the image.

These captures can be edited using any of the third-party applications or in the Photos app itself. The program format images will be larger. Hence they might drain your storage quickly.

Note: ProRAW format can capture pictures with Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Night Mode features but cannot be used with Live Photos, Portrait Mode, or shooting videos.

What’s the difference between RAW and ProRAW? 

Most photographers prefer taking pictures in RAW Mode as it gives them unprocessed data with the capture. This lets them play with the composition according to their preferences and go crazy with their imagination. This means RAW images are as flat as you can expect them to be and may not look appealing. This is precisely why it gives you room to work on the image as much as you want. This is the beginning of computational photography.

The ProRAW Mode, on the other hand, is adding Apple’s touch to the RAW format. This means it is a slightly processed image, thus in a better format than a RAW image. This means ProRAW covers the groundwork for you and gives you equal opportunities to tweak the image according to your demand. The program is the Midas touch to RAW format.

How about you get that iPhone of yours, and I will walk you through the experience in real-time?

How to use Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max

While the internet is going gaga over the format and how to make the most out of it, it is a very simple format to capture images in. I hope you have your devices handy, for I will walk you through the format while I write this article in real-time. I cannot wait to show the endless possibilities with the format and unleash the hidden photographer in you.

To turn on ProRAW, you need to check if your device is compatible with the feature or not. Your iPhone should be updated to iOS to 14.3 or later; if not, update your device first and then follow the steps mentioned below.

How to Turn on ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro Max

  1. Head over to Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Camera.
  3. Tap Formats.
  4. Enable Apple ProRAW. You will find it under the PHOTO CAPTURE menu.Turn on ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Once this is done, you can choose to capture the image in RAW format from the camera itself. Next;

Shoot photos in ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro Max

  1. Open Camera on your iPhone.
  2. You will find the RAW Mode disabled. (Top right with a strike on it: RAW ). Tap it to enable RAW Mode.Shoot photos in ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro Max

If you want to capture every photo with the ProRAW Mode ON all the time, preserve your settings by heading over to SettingsCameraPreserve SettingsToggle Apple ProRAW. I do not recommend this because you might end up using all your storage, and you don’t need every photo in its RAW format per se.

Difference between ProRAW and Normal Photo Shoot

That’s it. Head over to your favorite location and capture the moment in ProRAW format. Here is my favorite snap from the few pictures I captured.

How to edit and share Apple ProRAW photos

ProRAW images are stored in standard DNG format. Ensure the image is saved with the .dng extension to edit them later. They can be edited using Photos on iPhone as well as any third-party RAW photo editing apps supporting .dng. I prefer using Lightroom since I get many professional features to tweak the image according to my convenience.

Here are some of the preferred apps to edit ProRAW pictures:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Lightroom
  • Snapseed
  • Apple Photos

ProRAW images can also be shared using the .jpg extension. However, it might look different than expected because it is partly compressed to a jpeg format. To export these images in the Apple Ecosystem, AirDrop the images or use iCloud to access them.

Simplifying Apple ProRAW Format: FAQs

When should I use ProRAW on my iPhone?

If you need to edit the photo, either the composition or change the image’s lighting, click them with ProRAW format.

What is the difference between the RAW, HEIC, a JPG photo format?

  • RAW files are stored in the .dng extension; they carry all the unprocessed data of the image.
  • HEIC is Apple’s method to store photos. It is not a format per se but a container to store images. This means the images stored are of better quality and use lesser storage. They are stored with .heic extension.
  • JPEG is the most common format to store a photo and has been in use for a quarter. It’s best suited to export images because it is a universal format and can be accessed by almost every device that can open images.

Which photo editing apps support editing RAW photos on the iPhone?

Photos App, Lightroom, Snapseed, to name a few.

Why should I shoot RAW with iPhone?

Using the iPhone to shoot RAW generates an image somewhere in the middle of a JPEG and a RAW one. Use an iPhone to capture the ProRAW image to have the image with the groundwork done right.

Why do RAW Photos look blurry in the Photos App?

RAW Photos take a lot of your memory. They might look blurry at times due to the memory hog and may not look as sharp as expected. However, you will not face this issue if you update your iOS to 14.3 or later and macOS to Big Sur 11.1 or later as they support the format.

Are RAW photos flagged in the Photos App to identify them?

Yes, raw photos are flagged with a RAW tag at the top-right corner.

How to shoot RAW photos on other iPhones?

You need to install third-party apps to shoot RAW photos on other iPhones. Halide, Manual, ProCam 8 are some of the apps you can use.

Become a ‘pro’ at shooting ProRAW photos on iPhone 12 Pro Max!

How is the ProRAW format working for you? I thoroughly enjoyed capturing beautiful moments with the format and satisfy my creativity with some editing. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Happy exploring!

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