What is RAW?
RAW is an image format that is favored by most professional photographers. To sum it up, it is an uncompressed photo. Think of it like this, when shooting JPEG the camera uses a compression system to lock all the detail into a JPEG, a RAW image completely bypasses that compression system and goes straight from the sensor to the memory card. This produces an image with incredible amounts of detail.
The benefits RAW gives the photographer is flexibility in post processing. The photographer can change everything about the image after it has gone through the lens: white balance, ISO, and contrast. When I edit my RAW photos I enjoy going back them and making dramatic changes to the image's appearance. I've pulled off HDR's, recovered highlights, fixed white balance in certain areas. Shooting in RAW is the way I go.
Aside from all these great things I have mentioned about RAW there is one downside to shooting in RAW. It uses huge amounts of memory. On my Canon 70D a RAW photo can take anywhere between 25MB-30MB per photo, a JPEG is usually less than 12MB per photo. This will cause the photographer to need bigger memory cards and spend more money getting them. I personally do not have this issue because I own two 32GB SD cards, one of these cards can hold up to 1200 RAW photos.