Novak's Blog

When to shoot RAW, when JPEG and when BOTH

Posted on: Јули 24, 2009

Аs I mentioned before, in my previus blog RAW format is it a Plus or just a waste of digital space? most of the time i use RAW + JPEG mainly to check if the composition is right, the light is correct overexposed/underexposed areas and other minute changes in the photo.

This depends on whether you are shooting outdoors or in a studio, if you shoot outdoors and your work depends on a fast workflow process (Sports, Fashion, On Site shoot for a client) you need to check fast whether you got it right. Plus the added value if something is not quite right you got both formats with you, if you need to share your photos fast with your client, your model or someone else and working on a tight time frame you give them the JPEG’s and use the RAW’s latter on in the post-production (development) process.

As in my photos first I used JPEG’s to post-process:

Model 001

Model 001 - Copyright © Novak Dimitrovski 2009

Model 002

Model 002 - Copyright © Novak Dimitrovski 2009

And then when I had a little bit more time I used RAW for the post-processing:

Even do the end result was a JPEG image, there are some small diferences and the reachnes of detail remains in the images that ware made from the RAW format. This is due to the nature of the RAW format and the way it captures the image.

If you shoot in the studio you are probably already using some system for fast transfer (wired or wireless) your shots to the PC or MAC directly to a software that can process both JPEG or RAW or both formats at the same time. One more reason for me to use RAW and JPEG at the same time is because I use Adobe© Bridge® most of the time when I make selection and ménage my photos. In Bridge® I usually line up my photos in my right side thumbnail bar, both formats side by side so you can instantly see the differences in your image, this contributes to the fast workflow process and you right away know what you RAW image needs improving and in which direction.

Model 003

Model 003 - Copyright © Novak Dimitrovski 2009

Model 004 - Copyright © Novak Dimitrovski 2009

Model 004 - Copyright © Novak DImitrovski 2009

One more added comfort is that if you go for the described HDR process or the photo-stitching process (in my previous blog) you already have one JPEG to start with and only need to create from RAW just a couple more to merge them in Photoshop® or any other program to create HDR image. If you need to produce a large panorama or other composite image for faster workflow and lesser CPU and RAM exploitation use JPEG’s for faster results (and in most of the time JPEG’s will be enough for a final result).

I hope this will be enough convincing for anyone at least to think when to shoot just RAW and when both RAW + JPEG.

Best wishes,



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