RAW or JPEG?

This week’s Q&A comes from EVERYONE, and they ask,

“Should I shoot RAW or JPEG? What’s the difference?”

I shot the images below using the JPEG+RAW feature in my camera. Then, I edited the photos in Lightroom with the same settings. Notice the difference in Evan’s shirt, and their skin tones. The image on the left is the JPEG and the right is the RAW.

[image-comparator left=”https://weddingsbyheather.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/08-5172-post/HJL_0921.jpg” right=”https://weddingsbyheather.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/08-5172-post/HJL_0921-2.jpg” width=”100%” classes=”hover”][/image-comparator]

In this free video, I share the attributes of RAW and JPEG files.

If you’d like to submit a question for me to address via video, please CLICK HERE.

  • Annette Elliott

    Heather,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with fellow photographers!!! After watching the raw or jpg video it leads me to another question. Saving the edited file…TIFF, Jpg, or DNG…? I have always saved mine as JPG, but have heard information is lost. Is that much info lost that the quality of the photo is affected? Saving as a TIFF would be HUGE files that would fill hard drive fast. And DNG, not really sure what exactly that is, it’s still a raw file, right? And would also use a lot of hard drive space..? This is what confuses me…how should I save my images…?

    Thanks again for always sharing!!
    Annette

  • Heather

    Hi Annette!
    DNG stands for digital negative, or an open source RAW file. That is, any RAW converter could read a DNG file as it is not propriety. The thought is that older RAW files may not be recognized in the distant future and that one should convert their RAW files to DNG for the sake of archiving. I’ve been shooting RAW for 12 years and this has yet to be an issue. I can still open my older RAW files and I don’t see the necessity for conversion.

    TIFF (tagged image format files) can be compressed or uncompressed, but they are lossless. Unlike JPEG files, which lose quality due to compression. TIFF files are significantly larger and might be option for archiving intermediate files which you may edit later, since it introduces no compression artifacts.

    HOWEVER, I process straight from RAW to JPEG for client delivery and printing. There isn’t an intermediate step for me, nor would it make sense to indefinitely store these large TIFF files. The compression of JPEG files is not an issue (you won’t detect a quality issue) unless you save/edit/save/edit/save/edit multiple times. But that typically isn’t the case as most of the edits are being performed at the RAW stage.

    Hope that helps!

  • Love it! You pushed me to shoot in RAW and I am never going back!

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