RAW, JPEGS, both or how I for the moment thinking over output...

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by JensM, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. JensM

    JensM Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 6, 2016
    Oslo(ish), Norway
    Real Name:
    As screename
    I need to tap into the hive-mind for a moment, if I may.

    I had decided that I would shoot in RAW+JPEGs, which I think suits me fine, a bit for me to cut my teeth on (RAW, of which I have developed one-1 file) and in due time photo sites and a bit for immediate consumption (JPEGS) for non-photograpic social media etcetera. Then I stumble over this: Shooting in Raw + JPEG Mode: Why Most of Us Shouldn’t, And How to Set Lightroom Preferences If You Do and on it goes.

    Way back in the analogue days, I used to shoot and develop for a hobby (BW) and sometimes income (whatever feasible for the buyer), but have not done that in years, did a false start with Dslrs in 09, and have been on PS (Ixus) and advanced PS (Poweshots) since 03, with no workflow to talk about, other than dumping the pictures from the card into the machine, occasional back-ups of the photo files and resizing. That said, I have a somewhat workable filing system, based on dates. Today, I shoot more for documentation, but with an eye towards photographic principles in composition and such, at least here and there.

    I probably want to have my cake and eat it, too, but I want a couple of things:
    1. Keep on documenting as I go
    2. Getting back into photograpy, for its own sake
    To achieve this, I I must do a several of things:
    1. Bring a camera, no camera, no pictures
    2. Get a working knowledge on how to use the software (Adobe CC) have older versions of LR (3.6) and PSE (8), and have used them very slightly.
    3. Find the correct balance point between snapping for documentation and working photography.
    4. Actually produce something out of the pictures I take, be it for the non-photo web forums, for Flickr, for photo books ( analoge albums) or enlargements for framing and hanging or combined freelance stuff for the local rags.
    I have picked up enough to not work on the original files, but to work on copies.

    There are way to much info on workflow out there on the web, and I am seriously drifting into acute decision hinders due to information overload.

    I would sincerely appreciate comments, links, tips and opinions as to the feasibility of running two work-flows. One for, shall I call it, Consumerism pictures and one for "artisan" (not that I am there, but hopefully the meaning are understandable) photography.

    Sorry for the long winded post, I shall try to make shorter ones in the future.
  2. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Real Name:
    Storage is cheap, so I always shoot RAW plus JPEG at 1600x1200. The JPEG is ready for my family to copy immediately, and the RAW is available for me to process when I have time. I'm still learning the ins and outs of several processing programs, but I think it's essential to be able to adjust exposure, white balance, and crop.

    I store my images in folders by shooting date and subject so I don't need and don't want to import them into a program's library.

    Old versions of processing programs should do a fine job for you, as long as they support the RAW format that comes out of your camera.
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  3. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 20, 2012
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Real Name:
    I always save both JPEG & RAW, that is, Superfine JPEG + RAW because storage is relatively cheap & I use Sandisk Extreme Pro (95MB/s) cards & it's just fine. I generally only save by the month or particular events into my own folders without any input from software. Maybe I'm missing out on a lot of cataloguing system benefits but that's fine by me. I use OV3 for resizing & basic editing (or to try Art Filters on occasional images) & Capture One (Pro 9) for better results.

    My personal advice, keep saving JPEG & RAW & don't worry what others want to say if it works fine for you. That way you have the best of both worlds.
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  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Have shot almost exclusively RAW only for the last 7 or 8 years. The only time i shoot RAW plus JPEG is when I had a new camera not yet supported by my RAW convertor of choice - Aperture.

    I don't quite understand people who copy the files from their card to their own file system and then into some post processing workflow... Aperture and Lightroom will handle all of that for you.

    I don't buy the 'I need the JPEG for instant sharing' reasoning... My image files come straight into Aperture, where I can review them and send jpeg copies instantly via email or onto a thumb drive.

    The only reason I can see for shooting both is if you use the Art filters a lot

    anyway... thats just me

    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Real Name:
    Alan Grant
    I shoot raw and jpeg, but normally import only the raw files to my main computer.

    The main reason for the jpegs is that I sometimes am away from my main computer for quite a while - and that often involves being away from my family as well, for work reasons. I used to shoot Raw only, and sometimes found it frustrating, for example, if I took a shot that would be interesting or amusing for my children, but had no convenient way of sending it to them. Somehow showing it to them a week later when I got home and the moment had passed didn't seem the same. Having the jpg available means that I can use Wifi to transfer the photo to my phone and then share it as I wish.

    A minor extra benefit to raw+jpg is that I sometimes find the previews embedded in the Raw files (that are displayed on the LCD when reviewing photos) make the photo look worse than it really is - having the jpeg available means the LCD review gives a better idea of the photo's potential. Again if am going to be back at my computer soon this doesn't matter as I wouldn't bother reviewing the photos on the LCD, but it is useful when away from home.

    I guess I could shoot raw only when near home, when these uses of the jpegs don't really apply, but I find it easier to just leave the camera on raw+jpg permanently. In general I would avoid any approach that involves changing this setting depending on the circumstances as I just know I would forget to change it.

    So although I shoot raw+jpg I only have one workflow - I think of the jpegs as interim versions that get discarded once I have access to my computer and import the raws to Lightroom.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    With Olympus, even if you shoot RAW only, the JPEG conversion function is only two or so button presses away in-camera. You can even do some minor RAW re-processing of the keepers while you're at it, however many copies and variations you want (until the card is full I guess). You can then WiFi the JPEG directly to a mobile device.

    Annoyingly, on my Panasonic GM5 it doesn't work that way. If you shoot RAW only, you're stuck with no way to generate JPEGs. Since it will only transfer JPEGs it means you can't WiFi it over either.

    I agree that it's annoying how the embedded RAW previews are low quality. Personally I've learned to live with that for faster copies off the card and better RAW burst shooting (no JPEGs to buffer for writing to card).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I really can't see much point in taking in-camera jpegs. About the only use-case I can see is for instant transfer via WiFi to a mobile phone for upload to some social media site. That's not something I do - but if I wanted to, I'd still shoot raw but then process the odd shot for upload using the camera's ability to produce jpegs after the fact. That way I can also apply arty filters at the same time, and experiment with them if I wish. Of course, there are a number of apps on smartphones these days that will deal with raw files, so even that isn't a 100% requirement.

    Tools like LR etc are very easy to use and shooting raw delivers so much ability to bring a shot out to its best.
  8. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    If I'm traveling RAW+Medium/small JPEG so I can quickly transfer and send something via my phone if needed, otherwise RAW only.

    Once I'm taking the pictures off the card I discard the JPEG and only keep the RAW.
  9. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2015
    OK, I was in your situation exactly when, ten years or so past, I first encountered Lightroom 1.1. I was managing my file system and shooting raw/jpg. Within a year I was shooting raw only and allowing Lightroom to file my photos for me. For one thing, I was starting to experience difficulty coming up with snappy, apt folder names. ;) I was also at a loss for managing images that could logically be placed in more than one folder. For another, the ease with which Lightroom exports jpgs makes managing jpg duplicates not worth the effort. The price for this simplification (nothing comes free...) was disciplined application to keywording. The other, less obvious price, of course, was relinquishing control and trusting Adobe to implement the concept well and, for the most part, that trust has not been misplaced.

    Cut to today. My pre-Lightroom files are still in the same folders, with their idiosyncratically descriptive titles and the post-Lightroom files are deposited neatly in date-names folders. But finding pictures of Aunt Doris, Fluffy the Cat or Me in Bulgaria across tens of thousands of images is a task for a keyword search rather than a failing memory. All I need to do is 1., keep diligently assigning keywords and 2., remembering that Doris, Fluffy, Bulgaria, I, et. al. exist. ;)
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  10. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Real Name:
    I also like documenting life as I go so I would shoot basically RAW+JPEG Fine as I find that I usually nail the exposure right anyhow, requiring minimal tweaking. When I shoot in good light within the camera's dynamic range which I usually do, JPEG Fine is fine. It's hard to improve upon it with RAW when I nailed the exposure and white balance correctly. This is true with my current E-P5 and also true with my E-5 which has less dynamic range and a bit more noisy than my E-P5. But when I shoot in lower light, then I would use the RAW file exclusively and process it through DXO Optics Pro Prime noise reduction so I could get better detail and lower noise out of it. It is also how I can still use the Olympus E-5's 12MP sensor and be competitive thanks to DXO Optics Pro and Prime. I then do minor tweaking either in Photoshop or Nikon Capture NX2 in TIFF and then export to JPEG for social media stuff. DXO Optics Pro also helps improve OOC JPEG by correcting for lens distortions and helps retrieve more detail because of that. So all in all, I get the best of both worlds. I have RAID 5 server drives so I have plenty of storage for 16MP files. I am pickier with 24MP to 36MP files in regards to RAW vs JPEG mainly for storage.

    The only camera that I would not shoot in JPEG is the Olympus E-1, because the OOC JPEG is terrible. TIFF or RAW and yes I do still shoot with it occasionally just to get the nostalgic look of the Kodak CCD sensor especially in black and white.
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  11. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    A few thoughts:

    - Lightroom doesn't modify your original files. You don't need to make copies if you keep your photos in Lightroom.
    - If you don't want to commit to the Adobe CC rental agreement, you can buy Lightroom 6 and the latest version of PSE. That will get you a lot of the functionality of CC. Not quite all of the functionality, but much more than you have now, and perhaps enough.
    - One goal for using Lightroom is to make a general recipe and save it as a preset. If you can get 90 percent of your photos 90 percent adjusted with one click, that saves a lot of work.
    - Personally I shoot RAW + JPEG when I get a new camera. That way when I'm working on my RAW development recipe I can use the JPEGS as a reference point. I'm not trying to match the JPEGs, it's just a way to double check my work. Once I a get a good feeling for developing RAW from the new camera, I switch to RAW only.

    Have fun, and keep taking photos! :)
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  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I often do the same, but 1600x1200 is pretty small with current monitor resolutions creeping up. Like you said, storage is cheap so I do at least 8MP (Which is roughly 4K res). Then I have a file I can even print or edit if I don't see anything that warrants a RAW dive in.
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Minor thread jack, but it's related I think:

    I'm actually trying to decide if I want to get into Lightroom. I've been running a trial of LR6 and it seems like it could be nice. I have hundreds of folders sorted by date, but finding photos has become a real chore, especially trying to find photos of a specific person or a specific event. The date gives me a good starting point, but I still spend 15 minutes going through 6 months of photos to find the one photo I was thinking of. And that is if I even remember what I have! I think the facial recognition and keyword tags in LR could be extremely handy if I spend a few weeks (months?) going through my last 10 years of photos and getting them labeled and face scanned. I've resisted it in the past for some reason, but I'm getting to the point where my library of folders is just unmanageable. I've tried a lot of other programs to avoid LR, but none have left me satisfied yet.

    To be honest, I have really enjoyed SilkyPix (and for my Canon - DPP) because the JPEG settings are imported with the RAW and I get those as a starting point. This means that for many shots, I'm "90 percent" adjusted as you said above. I wonder if I could find some kind of similar recipe for LR to get there. I do like the SOOC JPEGs from my GX7 very much, so it would be nice to get close.

    One fear about the LR CC subscription that appears to be unfounded is the myth that "you can't access your files if you stop paying". Adobe has addressed this by giving you read only access to all your catalogs and edits. So if you want to stop paying, you can still have everything you have done up to that point as-is and/or use the program to export those to something else. I know ACDSee, for one example, says they can import most Adobe LR stuff without losing much. You have to pay again to keep adding new files and making new edits, but that only seems fair.
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    A lot of photos aren't "Art" and never will be. Shooting JPEG makes the workflow really short and sharing as simple as possible.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    This is the assertion I struggle to agree with... Given the need to transfer the images to a computer, put them in a folder, look through the images, select the images and then share them, its my experience that using something like Aperture or Lightroom, which facilitates much of this process, that the start to end workflow is not significantly faster using JPEG over using RAW.

  16. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I don't like the way LR will handle that for me, so I always copy manually.
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For one, I do not currently own LR, so I'm not there. I have to import into a folder and then pull it into a different RAW editor to process it and then export it again. Plus there is the tendency to try to fine tune every image just because I can. For some reason if I have a solid JPEG, I don't do this. So If I know the images won't warrant an edit, then I don't bother with RAW. Maybe when I get comfortable with LR (I'm testing it now as I mentioned earlier in the thread) I will feel differently.
  18. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    The procedure goes like this: Spend some time adjusting a few RAW files until you get them close to where you want. Save your settings to a preset. Automatically apply the preset on import of your photos. Realize that all of your photos from this camera would look better with a few more/different adjustments. Make a new preset, apply that to your existing photos and all new photos. It usually takes me about a month with a new camera until I am satisfied with my import preset. From then on, I get all photos from that camera looking the way I want when I import, before I even see them.

    Again, Adobe will sell you a standalone, infinite lifetime copy of Lightroom 6 without the perpetual rental charge. Adobe says you will get updates for compatibility with new cameras but you won't get updates for new features like de-hazing.
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  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If the past is any indicator, you get the free camera and lens updates until the next standalone version is released. So that's about 18-24 months. Generally by the time you want to upgrade your camer, ACR can't support it. So while the LR6 may be a "lifetime" copy, the usefulness will probably be 2 years or so.

    The CC sub comes with Photoshop and LR mobile, too, so that's a nice bonus. If I figure $150 for standalone every 2 years or $240 for sub, then $90 seems very reasonable for a Photoshop upgrade, too.
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  20. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Real Name:
    I agree with you provided we're starting with the assumption that the images are going to be transferred to a computer before being shared. For years I never shot anything but RAW, but with WiFi being added as a feature to recent camera models and the pleasing JPEGs created by Fuji and Olympus for example, I've been shooting JPEG or shooting RAW and using the in camera RAW converters to create JPEGs before transferring the photos via WiFi to my iPad/iPhone for either a little further editing or uploading to Flickr/FB/Instagram or what have you. I know that when you look at all the steps it does seem on par with just editing the RAW files on a computer, but in practice I find it much quicker and much more versatile since I can do it anywhere. If I had a laptop running Lightroom rather than a desktop I might feel differently I suppose, but I definitely have found it liberating to work this way with JPEGs as opposed to processing the RAW files (which I still do for paid work).
    • Agree Agree x 2
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