The Domino Effect of Buying a New Camera

You’ve just purchased your new camera, taken your first raw photos, uploaded them to your computer and _____, and _____.  A big fat nothing.

Your raw files from your new camera won’t open in your old software!


So, then you try to update your software to the current version, and BAM another roadblock, that software doesn’t work with your computer OS. So, then you update that and you realize that in order to open raw files on your new camera, you now need a new computer too! The domino effect!

Judging by the amount of views on this video and traffic to this webpage, this is one of the most common problems people shooting raw files, have.

Photography is an expensive craft. People have this conception that digital photography is cheaper than film photography because you don’t have to pay for film and processing.

BUT that is not the case. If you plan to continue developing your skills as an image maker, you will need to keep all the parts of your workflow up-to-date. And that requires an ongoing investment.


If you want to shoot RAW files this is especially true. If you buy a new model camera and shoot raw files, there is a good chance that those files won’t open in your older versions of Photoshop. I get several emails a week from people asking for help with this problem.

These people are frustrated that their older versions of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom won’t open their new camera’s raw files. I’ve got some news for you.

In reality you need to keep your software, hardware and cameras within about a 2-year window from each other. If you don’t, you’re going to run into problems

This happens with all types of software, not just Photoshop and Lightroom. If you use other software and you update your computers operating system, make sure that the old software will still work. For example, I had to change my accounting software because it wouldn’t run on my new Mac OS. That was a pain too.


  • If you are set on using Photoshop, then get the Adobe Creative Cloud bundle for Photographers. You get Photoshop CC and LR for a monthly subscription cost of $10. BUT before you do that, check that it will work with your current computer operating system.
  • If you are a hobbyist photographer, you can try Photoshop Elements. Raw files will open in Elements, and it sells for less than $50 on But first, make sure your computer operating system is compatible with the newest version of the software.
  • Try other software like Luminar. Again check system requirements before jumping in!
  • Use the DNG converter to convert your new raw files into the universal DNG (digital negative) format.
  • Use the raw software that comes with your camera. Yes, it’s true. Every camera ships with software that will open the raw files from that camera. But again, make sure it will run on your computer.

image: shoot jpgs instead of raw files

The best way to avoid problems opening raw files from your new camera, is to shoot jpgs.

That’s what I do now. There is no shame in shooting jpgs. I think it shows that you really understand your camera, if you can get a perfect jpg out of it. And you do that by pre-processing with things like: setting up white balance, ISO, file size, file quality and being able to read the histogram. I teach these basics in my free e-course.

Final Thoughts

If you are planning to make a living with your photography, you must keep your software and computer hardware in step with your cameras or you will always be fighting with them. And fighting with cameras, computers and software is not very conducive to creativity.

But in all cases – and I cannot stress this enough – you must check your operating system first and make sure that you don’t cause a domino effect of losing the functionality of other older software when you upgrade your OS. You want to avoid a big mess like that. In the long run it’s easier to keep in step with all your software and hardware.

Thanks for reading this blog post, and watching the video. Please share this and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more photography tutorials.