It's only been the last 6 months or so that I have been shooting in RAW. I know, I was behind and thought that all of the RAW files would take up so much space on my HD. Turns out, it is the only way to photograph if you're wanting to do any editing. Here is a prime example of why. Take this photo, which was exposed terribly. I had captured a great moment, but wasn't exposed properly. Normally, I would discard this file but there was something about it that made me want to keep it. If I were to have shot in jpeg, there is no way I could keep it.
I'm not going to lie, salvaging this photo did take some work - work that I do not want to spend on every single photo (especially when you're snapping 400-500 photos per hour). That's why I emphasize that you properly expose your images whenever possible.
By shooting in RAW I was able to adjust the exposure, white balance, and clarity in order to create these two images. You'll notice that they have a little noise, but noise never hurt anyone. Embrace the noise!
Which do you like best?
I think I prefer the BW version because it gets rid of all the different color tones that were created from saving the photo.
Here is a great breakdown of RAW vs JPEG for those of you who are on the fence about it. If I wasn't being paid to photograph people, I probably wouldn't shoot in RAW. However, by doing so I'm able to save images in the situation that they are not properly exposed. 90% of the time it doesn't matter that I've shot in RAW because most of the files are properly exposed. This is a prime example of why I do it. There might be one image I really love, but messed it up. RAW lets me fix it.