Have you heard the terms RAW and JPG when it comes to photography?
Quite simply, they’re different file formats, and we have the choice to shoot in one or the other…. so which do we choose, and is one better than the other?
JPG is the format type produced from your camera, phone, tablet, etc. It is the most convenient image format in that it’s recognisable by most image viewing and editing programs, and web browsers. It is a compressed version of the image, so it’s a smaller file than RAW and slightly lower quality. The camera makes simple processing decisions, so it’s a finished file, ready to go straight out of camera. (SOOC)
A RAW image is unprocessed by the camera and so it’s a much larger file and allows us to make the processing decisions. The RAW file records a lot more data about the image and this is why it’s so large… but because it’s unprocessed it can look flat or less sharp or vibrant than compared to a JPG once out of camera. A RAW file requires us to open, and “process” the image out of camera, and so we need a software program to do this, such as Lightroom.
So you’re probably wondering if JPG results in a loss of quality, why would you choose to shoot in JPG at all?
Or if RAW files are so big and we need special software, is it worth it?
When you’re advancing in photographing and learning the art of processing and editing then I absolutely recommend shooting in RAW! It gives you the full scope of potential in processing the image in the way that you desire… compared to a smaller jpeg which will limit what you can achieve!
For printing, art images, creative processing, or blowing up big… then use RAW for beautiful, high quality results!
But sometimes I also shoot JPG!
I use jpg files for personal use as they’re a smaller file size but still great quality and fine for printing for albums and medium sized wall prints. When I’m taking pics of my kids at home, traveling on holiday etc.
I always shoot in RAW if I intend to print large, or if I’m taking photos I KNOW I’ll want to play with in editing… such as macro or abstract fun type images. I also shoot RAW for special occasions or client because I want those files to be as high quality as can be, and because I know I’ll be processing them for a finished, polished image!
Lightroom is my favourite editing tool! I use it for 99% of all my edits, and I find it quick, easy and perfect for creating simple, effective edits that enhance an image!
I put together a behind the scenes video to show you exactly how I edit my RAW files in Lightroom!
Related: Watch the Free Lightroom Class
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