When taking a picture and saving it, you save it in one specific format. It can be jpg, png, gif or any other format ,depending on what firmware you use. It makes it easy to work with, and easy to deliver to a platform or a customer. However, not all information fits in the different formats.
This is why we sometimes use RAW as a format. This is not one single format as jpeg, it’s a combination of over a hundred different formats. The jpeg for example, can only hold and show so much information. The raw format holds all the original information, just like the camera does before it converts a picture to another format. The RAW is the camera’s own language, and in this file every single detail and piece of information is available. A lot of the information disappears when converted to any other format, leaving just what that is designed for and what you need to see.
When you want to work wth a photo and edit it, it’s often better to use the raw file. This allows you to use the files full potential, and you can make very much more without it becoming bad quality. When saving in RAW, you also adjust the white balance directly in the camera. This is because you want the raw file to be as well balanced as possible, and reflect exactly what we see. The point of the raw file is that is should have all possible colours, details and balances, because it is the pure original.
When you decide to work with the raw file, the programme does not change the raw file itself. It takes a copy and saves it in a suitable format that also contains all needed information. It allows you to work more freely and get a better result after editing. It also makes it easier to edit and save, since you don’t loose any necessary information.
Even though it’s a very short explanation about saving as RAW, I hope you get something out of it. As with everything, the best way of learning is doing!