Any experienced photographer will be able to tell you the indispensable utility in shooting RAW as opposed to JPG. If you just got a new camera or haven't heard a good explanation for why RAW is so great, just look at this one GIF, made with images by Glyn Davis.
A RAW photo contains substantially more information that a compressed JPG. The added depth allows you to make changes in software like Photoshop, Lightroom, or other processing apps that can completely transform your images from boring throw-away to spectacular favorite. Even after years of editing RAW photos, sometimes I'm still blown-away at the possibilities.
Of course, it takes a bit of know-how to extract the detail and color out of a RAW file, but it's really not that hard. For a great walkthrough of how the image in the GIF was processed, watch this video by photographer Glyn Davis.
JPGs are great for speed, quick sharing, and small file-size. But if you really want to take advantage of digital photography, put that camera in RAW mode and see what you can do. [FStoppers]