When you take a photo with a digital camera set to RAW, the resulting photo file contains all the information collected by the camera’s sensor. (Images saved as JPEG or TIFF don’t include all of that information.) Photos can access all of a RAW photo’s data, giving you more flexibility for adjusting color and exposure.
To edit or print a RAW-format photo, you need an app (such as Photos) that can convert the unprocessed RAW photo file to another file format, such as JPEG. A RAW-format photo is sometimes called a “digital negative”—the photo file contains all the information needed to create an image, but you can’t use the file itself as an image. Photos imports RAW-format photos and stores all their data. Photos also automatically creates JPEG versions, which you can edit or print just as you can any other photo.