Take Better Photos Using ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max


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If you’re one of the new users of the iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, lucky you! Both devices offer upgraded features and one of them is the RAW photo format called ProRAW if your iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max is running on iOS 14.3. Aside from the usual benefits that you’ll get from shooting RAW, you’ll also be able to enjoy Apple’s iPhone image processing. Get to know how to use ProRAW with your iPhone 12 or Pro Max.

First off, this new feature utilizes the universal DNG file format. If you’re a photographer or a photography aficionado then you probably already know that file sizes for RAW photos are considerably much larger compared to the common JPEG compressed pictures. Apple stated that most ProRAW photos would take up to about 25MB of your memory space, though it can rack up to 40MB. That’s at least 10 times bigger than the usual JPEG file.

Despite this huge difference, some people still prefer to shoot raw due to a number of benefits. For one, you’re shooting an uncompressed image. This means that you can get as much data from the sensor as possible all the way to the saved image. Consequently, you also get to be more flexible when editing RAW photos. This difference can also be attributed to the 12-bit color support, which may not sound like much to beginners, but is actually a big difference. From 256 RGB shades, you get to jump to 4,096. Amazing.

So, if you’re using an iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max, you’re in luck! You can use ProRAW together with Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Night Mode. In addition, you can also edit ProRAW photos using either Apple’s Photos app or a third-party app like Lightroom. Don’t know how to enable ProRAW on your iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max? Simply follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down the list and select Camera.
  3. At the top portion of the screen, tap on Formats.
  4. Enable the Apple ProRAW feature by changing the toggle to green.

Now, how will you shoot ProRAW photos in your Camera app? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone. The RAW icon should now appear at the top right corner of your screen in portrait mode. In landscape mode, it should be located on the top left corner.
  2. Tap on the RAW icon to enable this feature when taking a photo. The diagonal line crossing through the icon should disappear when this feature is enabled.
  3. Take a photo using the ProRAW feature. After shooting, you’ll find that the RAW icon would appear on the top left corner of the Photos app while viewing the RAW images.
  4. You can opt to edit your photos in the Photos app. Simply tap Edit and you can start working on the ProRAW image. Do note that ProRAW photos take up a lot of memory space.
  5. If you want more editing tools, you can also choose to edit your ProRAW images using a third-party app like Lightroom. Just manually import the photos from your Camera Roll into the app and you can already start editing. Once you’re done, you can simply export the edited photo into your Camera Roll.

If you’re not familiar with how to shoot ProRAW photos yet, here are some tips or insights that you might find helpful:

  1. The most significant change that you can see from using ProRAW is in extreme conditions. An example would be a place where there is indoor mixed lighting. It’s hard to take photos of places where there are cool lighting and warm lighting. ProRAW helps you take a more balanced photo.
  2. General camera algorithms also have a hard time shooting images in extremely low light. A good example would be when shooting stars at night. ProRAW enables you to shoot a clearer image than the normal camera feature.
  3. ProRAW works great when shooting extremely high dynamic range images. This can come in handy when shooting a shadowy or dark foreground against a sun-lit or bright background.
  4. ProRAW images, as the name suggests, are still considered raw. That means that you would still need to edit and process it first before it’ll be ready or good enough for sharing or printing.
  5. Unfortunately, you still can’t use ProRAW in Portrait Mode (where the background gets blurry) or in Panorama Mode as of the moment.
  6. When you shoot a ProRAW image, there’s an automatic shooting of the same image in a regular JPEG file as well. Hence, if you try to this the unedited ProRAW photo in an iMessage, the JPEG version would replace this when sent.
  7. You need to turn on ProRAW for every shooting session. This helps you to not accidentally shoot mundane photos in RAW and take up memory space on your phone.

Also read “Top Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and iPad

Picture of Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

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