Hi all, chasing some advice from those more knowledgeable than me.
I currently shoot all my photos in JPEG. Through a bit of research on forums like this I see the benefits of moving to the RAW format and would like to do so. However, before I flick the switch on the camera I was hoping to clarify a few points and get some more information. This is mainly to understand what else the JPEG to RAW triggers. There are a few parts to the question which I'm hoping for help on.
Where my confusion stems is where software such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP step in. As far as I can make out, the "fiddles" with RAW images such as white balance and the like happen across the entire image. I assume programs such as GIMP then do fine tuning of areas of the image (I have seen discussions in these forums about lightening areas of the image, e.g. a face or eyes). So my question is a little about the workflow. Do you get the RAW image right, convert to JPEG and then do fine tuning from there or are you still working in RAW? There is talk in the tutorials about sharpening - is this a RAW manipulation or JPEG? If it is RAW, does this happen in selective areas of an image or across the whole?
The other part of the question is more around software. I run on a Mac and use iPhoto to organise and store all my photos due to the user friendly nature and accessibility. I have also downloaded GIMP for that fine tuning aspect (as I'm new to this I thought I'd try out the concepts before switching to a more expensive software package). Now while GIMP is fine for playing with individual images, the interface back to iPhoto probably isn't ideal. Hence GIMP becomes more of a "play with on selected images only" basis. What I mean by this is that I wouldn't use GIMP for all images, just ones that I thought were of the quality they should go further. Is this correct?
Previous threads mention the need for a RAW convertor such as RAW Therapee and I assume that this fits in before the GIMP (see earlier query) and probably separate to iPhoto. The impression I get is that the RAW manipulation happens across all images (although it can be done in bulk). Again, not sure how it interfaces back to iPhoto.
Would something like Aperture fill this void between RAW conversion / organisation and touch up? I know this works well with iPhoto in terms of library management but apart from a few sentences on the Apple website, it doesn't really tell me its RAW abilities.
I realise that I probably haven't asked to many specific questions and the above may be a little unclear in places but I was just hoping to get a bit more information around this space before I head down the RAW path.
Thanks in advance.