Usually, JPEG is shot either by green beginners who have not yet understood why the RAW format is needed, or by super-experienced professionals. When shooting in JPEG is more useful than RAW, what to expect from images in this format and how to process JPEG in Lightroom, we understand this material.
Every novice photographer who first tried to work in RAW, as a rule, immediately becomes an adherent of this format. This is understandable: RAW gives much more freedom to the hands in post-processing and great unloads the head on the set.
However, there are cases where JPEG may be preferred over RAW.
When to shoot in JPEG
Additional JPEG Features
Creative camera modes
How to shoot in JPEG
How to Process JPEGs in Adobe Lightroom
Shooting in JPEG is more convenient when you need to shoot a lot and give it back very quickly. For example, photographers working with sports photobanks most often shoot in JPEG. Their task is to shoot as many frames as possible and deliver them as quickly as possible. Earnings directly depend on the speed and number of frames. In this regard, JPEG is the best choice for a number of reasons.
- JPEG weighs less, which means it allows you to fit more material on one card. For example, JPEG from Fujifilm weighs about 5 MB, RAW — 20–30 MB. The file size may vary slightly depending on the system, but in general the correlation between the numbers will be comparable: JPEG is usually 4–10 times smaller than RAW;
- when shooting in JPEG, most cameras increase the burst speed and the number of shots that the buffer can hold;
- JPEG does not need to be converted to another format, it is ready to use, unlike RAW. If the shot is clean and good, JPEG can be immediately given to the customer;
- if the JPEG does need to be processed, copying, importing, and exporting to Lightroom takes significantly less time than in the case of equals.
To summarize, shooting in RAW is about more subtle and thoughtful work, JPEG is about faster.
Camera manufacturers spend a lot of time and money to get beautiful jeeps. As a rule, each camera, when shooting in a jeep, has several color profiles. Often they are adapted for shooting a specific subject: portrait, landscape, and so on.
To put it very simply, a color profile is a color and contrast setting. These settings are not directly related to exposure or other parameters that can be adjusted by the user. It’s more about how the camera interprets light and contrast.
Fujifilm cameras are very interesting and indicative in this regard. They also have several profiles that change color and contrast to mimic classic Fujifilm films: Velvia, Astia, Provia.
Interestingly, to repeat in Lightroom what the in-camera profile does automatically for JPEGs, sometimes you have to make a lot of effort.
The picture on the left (JPEG) looks better. Moreover, it can be considered ready and not processed further if you do not want to. But the picture on the right (RAW) with an overexposed face is an obvious technical defect with a loss of detail (overexposure), which definitely needs to be finalized.
In addition to in-camera profiles, JPEG allows you to use the camera’s artistic modes: it can be sepia, soft-filter and tilt-shift effects, partial color. Often professionals treat such effects a little condescendingly. But sometimes they can be helpful.
It may seem that such modes can only be in very amateur soap dishes. In fact, such settings, as a rule, are in almost all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, except for the oldest models. For example, they are found in the rather serious Nikon D750 and Olympus OM‑D E‑M1 II.
Shooting in pure JPEG is worth it if you are absolutely confident in yourself, in your technique, in the shooting conditions.
Ideally, you should switch to JPEG if you have already shot three times in this registry office with this camera at this time of the day in this weather, and you know for sure that there were no processing problems. Then there are chances not to merge the shooting and save yourself space on the maps and time for processing.
Shooting in JPEG is best in calm conditions, such as on an overcast day or at sunset when the light is soft. At noon in bright sunshine, too much contrast can get in the way.
Difficult conditions in which to shoot in JPEG with caution include:
- shooting in the evening when there is little light;
- shooting with flashes;
- shooting in backlight;
- shooting with snow (it is easy to knock it out or not to light it up much).
When shooting in JPEG, you can not score on white balance and exposure. The white balance must be set manually. Or, if you trust the machine, when shooting, make sure that white is white, and people are the colors of people. With RAW, there is no such problem — this format retains much more color information. If the picture was taken with a strong balance error, you can easily fix everything in RAW. But not in JPEG.
In the image on the right, some of the color shades are lost forever, the image has become flat, there is a feeling of a general spurious hue. The average image does not have these problems.
Many cameras have the option to shoot RAW+JPEG. It can be used in cases where the rate of fire is not too important, since this combination reduces burst speed and buffer size for most cameras, except for the newest and top-end ones. Another problem is that when shooting RAW + JPEG, the memory card will fill up faster.
The same problems can arise with strong exposure errors. If from RAW you can safely pull out 2 steps of underexposure or overexposure, then with JPEG such a trick may not work.
This is how it might look when shooting in backlight.
JPEG processing in Lightroom is different from working with equals, although not too much. It also imports them, gives all the possibilities for batch processing and working with presets, but there are a few nuances.
If you look at the working panels, the first thing that catches your eye is a different kind of white balance sliders.
Changes in the scale are unusual, but nothing more. The second, more unpleasant feature is that for JPEG it will not be possible to use presets created for RAW. Due to the fact that a preset may contain settings that jeeps simply do not physically have (for example, the ability to change the color profile), when you select a JPEG file, such a preset will simply disappear from the presets column. It will not be possible to select it.
For JPEG, you will have to either create presets again or use the following life hack: find a RAW photo with the desired preset applied to it. Click on it with the right mouse button and select the command Develop Settings / Copy Settings / Processing Settings / Copy Settings.
In this way, Lightroom will transfer all the settings that are in the preset and are available for JPEG at the same time. The only thing you need to be prepared for is that the preset can lie crookedly, especially in terms of color. The white balance and HSL settings will most likely need tweaking.