FAQ : Raw or Jpeg?

efore I begin this week’s FAQ, here’s a disclaimer: I’m SO not a workflow guru, so please don’t think I’m trying to portend I’m all that and a bag of chips. And, yes, I use disclaimers because I went to law school and now know how important they are! ;) The end.

“Do you shoot Raw or Jpeg?”

Well, the answer to this question is YES. Yes, I shoot raw. Yes, I shoot Jpeg.

Truth be told, when I first started my business, I was looking for the quickest way to improve both my skills and knowledge. I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work, but one thing I learned in law school is that it’s not as important as hard you work, it’s about how smart you work. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I tore apart my favorite photographers’ workflows and chose one that would work for me.

In the end, I completely and whole-heartedly adopted David Jay’s raw workflow. It’s allows for me to batch process my images and ensures my clients have consistent images that are all color-corrected and have a little saucy punch to them added by raw presets.

Why jpeg? Two reasons:
1. At every wedding, I show a slideshow of images from the wedding day. While guests are eating dinner, I download my favorite images from the day (about 30-40), retouch them lightly in Photoshop and display the slideshow on my laptop at the reception. The slideshows are an AWESOME way for clients to see the images and guests are equally excited to see instantaneous images. Because I do this, I need my images already in jpeg format so I can immediately open them in Photoshop. Yes, I can convert the raw to jpeg, but that’s one extra step during a time crunch that I really don’t want to be concerned with.
2. I like jpeg better. Plain and simple. I love the color and crispness I get with a jpeg and whenever I convert an image from raw to jpeg, something’s missing. Please don’t ask me what that ‘something’ is because I couldn’t tell you…I just love jpeg (FYI, everything on my blog and slideshows are shot in jpeg). When I first started my business, I shot completely in jpeg (which forced me to start nailing exposure because I didn’t have too much latitude for mistakes), and I would have stayed shooting that way, but I was literally killing myself trying to retouch so many images before they were posted online (and, yes, I could’ve posted unprocessed images online, but I seriously have OCD and perfectionism-issues, so that totally wouldn’t work for me!).

So here’s my workflow after a wedding:
*Download my images using iView and tag my favorites (blog, slideshow, portfolio) with color codes
*Edit blog favorites
*Edit a slideshow
*Pour the remaining 800-900 raw images into Adobe Bridge and use presets to process them.
*Convert to jpeg
*Upload to my online lab, Pictage

I know this is a very, very basic breakdown, but if you want to learn more about what to do exactly, David Jay is the main man. Be sure to check out his Freedom Club for video tutorials and latest news. He’ll also be speaking at Pictage’s PartnerCon next month here in Los Angeles, so be sure to check him out! I’ll be there too, so be sure to holla back!

Again, the FAQ blog posts are just to kinda-sorta help push people along in their business. If only one person found this helpful, then I’ll feel like it was worth it! :)

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Because my sister once told me she hates reading my blog without any pictures, here’s a picture of JD…some people have hinted that he hasn’t made a blog appearance in a while, so here’s my main squeeze at Sandy and Jesse’s wedding

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Sky Simone - That's very interesting! I shoot in CR2 and display a slideshow in Adobe Bridge of Cr2 without retouching.. It takes long enough to pick the images heheh. I've never heard anyone say that they feel jpegs have a better quality though. Merry Christmas!  12.24.15 - 9:45pm
Beth Powell - This might not be quite the right post to pose this question, but I need to try cause I need answers desperately! I shoot with a Canon 50D. I shoot JPEG. My images poop out at 72ppi. Ah yes, in walks the age old questions circling PPI. I've been told I need to make any images I give to clients for print at 300ppi, that 72ppi is not print quality. So, I've been painstakingly going to Image Size in Photoshop on every image and changing them from 72 to 300. My biggest source of confusion stems from the question of Does That Resample Box Stay Checked Or Do I Uncheck It? OMG. My confusion is making me crazy. I have read that you DO NOT check that box because in reality, that is having photoshop shove pixels into the image that were never there. Unchecking that box before changing to 300 simply means I'll have more pixels per every square inch in my image and thus, it will print better. More smooth. Better quality. So, please help me. Lol Am I going about this the correct way? Do you, or anybody who reads this for that matter, do you make sure your for-print images are at 300ppi? Do you check the Resample box or not? Why, or why not? I might seriously lose the last remaining strands of my sanity if I don't figure all this out!   04.23.14 - 1:56pm
Kristin - Hi Jasmine! I just searched your blog for a RAW/JPeg post and found this. Looks like it was written a long time ago. Any chance of writing an updated one? :)   04.06.14 - 2:33pm
Kay English - Jackpot!!! haha... posts like this get me happy! What's this pictage website? It sounds pretty awesome and I'm going to look it up. Thanks for sharing your workflow!  07.28.09 - 7:50pm
Jasmine* - Hahaha! Yes, I used the dreaded free transform tool! I need to think of a better way of doing it! However, I have to say that the more I do them, the faster I get...I think. ;)  09.06.07 - 7:45am
misha - ps. I have been making collages on my blog too. But it takes forever. Do you have a trick you mind sharing for fast blogging collages, or do you spent hour with the free transform tool too?  09.05.07 - 1:56pm
misha - Hey Jasmine. I just discovered your inspiring blog (we met in Mexico,) Anyway, I read today on OSP that you can edit jpegs in Bridge with CS3. Here is the the quote from the post: You can use bridge + ACR for your jpeg workflow, too (in CS3). Preferences/File Handling/Prefer Adobe Camera Raw for JPEG Files. Would be nice to not have to shoot RAW, huh? Keep up the amazing work.   09.05.07 - 1:52pm
Millie Kee - Thank you so much! I was just sitting down today to try and figure out how best to tackle the are awesome!  09.01.07 - 8:16am
Jasmine* - Hi Gabriel! The answer to your question is yes. When you turn on your 30D, press the menu button...this will automatically place you in the Quality tab, press the circular Set button, and this will open a new window of shooting options. A range of Jpeg, and also an option of Raw+Jpeg. Hope this helps! :)  08.31.07 - 3:23pm
gabriel ryan - this may sound silly, but i have only been shooting on my 30d for about a month now... when you say you shoot raw+jpeg, is that just one setting that generates 2 files per shot?  08.31.07 - 1:45pm
gabriel ryan - thanks for anticipating my questions. you have obviously been there before, and your faq's are totally helping this rookie!  08.31.07 - 1:23pm
Stacy Cross - I think he looks fab! Every pic Stan gets of me has my face all scrunched up like that, but a huge smile on my face. It basically looks like I'm crazy.   08.31.07 - 9:12am
Courtney Toney - I didn't realize we have such similar music tastes- Sara & Sufjan are two of my all time favorites! By the way, I appreciate your photo tips even though I don't really have a clue of what you are talking about. But- it makes me feel more knowledgable. Maybe sometime I'll be able to tell a client, "ya, jasmine shoots in jpeg and raw". :)   08.31.07 - 9:06am
Jasmine* - Okay...just for clarification...I shot this picture of JD because after every wedding, we download our cards and determine who has the funniest picture of the other person. It's probably just me, but I think he looks cute/funny with his face all scrunched up and focused! Geesh, I feel mean saying that! :)  08.31.07 - 7:21am
Tim Halberg - holy cow!!! JD is a right eye shooter!!!! AWESOME!!!! Man... I need to find some time to harrass you two to let me come shoot with you!!  08.31.07 - 4:20am
serena grace - like sara bareilles? i love her! i've been to several of her shows at hotel cafe. btw, thanks for this post! i had never thought of doing it that way.  08.31.07 - 12:22am
Dave Biesse - I hadn't considered it an option to shoot JPG, and your posting's making me reconsider that - thanks for continuing to challenge me and open my mind a little further! Nice squish face JD!  08.30.07 - 10:56pm
david baxter - this is so awesome!  08.30.07 - 10:06pm
gloria Mesa - THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!  08.30.07 - 8:46pm
Jasmine* - Hi Gloria! First off, there's no such thing as a stupid question! :) Secondly, there's nothing wrong in assessing your histograms...I do it all the time!! My histogram gives me a good idea of how I'm shooting and I have a slight tendency to underexpose a tad and then lighten what I want with curves and layer-masks! :)  08.30.07 - 8:10pm
Shannon - hahahaha.....I knew you would laugh about that....glad I passed your test. LOL  08.30.07 - 6:57pm
gloria Mesa - Jasmine, Thank yp so much for this information, your hubby is quite good looking :]. I have a very stupid question, My exposures are not cute perfect any hints of how to nail it. I do check the histogram all the time but I want to stop just relying on it. Gracias!!!  08.30.07 - 6:43pm
Jasmine* - Hahaha! Yes, it's Thursday. I totally knew that. I was just testing my blog readers! ;) Amy Beth...I seriously laughed out loud when I read your comment!! Hilarious! Okay, here's a good start for music: Sarah Bareilles (LOVE HER!), Colbie Caillat (my newest music love affair), and Sufjan Stevens (an ecclectic mix of sounds). I'm a music lover, so I'm always on the hunt for new and fresh sounds, so sit back, pour yourself a Pellegrino with a twist of orange, throw your feet up, and ENJOY! :)  08.30.07 - 6:12pm
Mary - I didn't know you went to law school! Me too!! but one summer at a firm was more than enough for me! M:)  08.30.07 - 5:49pm
Shannon - Ummm.....isn't today Thursday????? At least it is here in Alabama......LOL   08.30.07 - 5:19pm
Amy Beth - okay, I have a confession. Today, I was working and I pulled up your website and some of the slideshows purely for the music (I have looked at your pictures to the point of memorization, so instead if singing along, I had a mental slideshow to the music!)... anyways, my husband walked in and was MORTIFIED... please share your iTunes playlist. Enlighten us musically deprived :) Thanks!!   08.30.07 - 5:09pm
Angela - Jasmine- Thanks so much! You rock! You have definitly helped many others.  08.30.07 - 3:49pm
Jasmine* - Yaaaay! Mel, I'm so glad you saw this post! ;)  08.30.07 - 3:03pm
Mel Plambeck - Jasmine - THANK_YOU so much for answering this!! From the bottom of my heart I am inspired by your work AND you beautiful personality! THANK_YOU!!!!  08.30.07 - 2:54pm
Jasmine* - Hi Angela! If you buy Adobe Creative Suit 3, you'll get Bridge and Photoshop, along with a few other cool programs. Lightroom, however, is separate. :)  08.30.07 - 2:54pm
DJ - YOU ARE SO AWESOME and that shot of your man is HOT!   08.30.07 - 2:42pm
Angela - Is Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Bridge CS3 and Lightroom three seperate programs or all in one? Thanks! Oh and Jasmine I follow your blog everyday,love your pics,love your writing. You have such a sweet spirit about you. Thanks for sharing info.  08.30.07 - 2:38pm
Jasmine* -, no Lightroom for me yet. I really, really want to learn more about the program (I hear it's amazing), but it'll have to wait for my off-season. However, I've never really been the type of person to apply a blacket action on my jpegs...I usually open each one and work on it exclusively. :)  08.30.07 - 2:12pm
joe - no lightroom for you?   08.30.07 - 2:07pm
Matthew Saville - "Yes" is totally the way to go, for sure! I do it a little differently though- I don't shoot RAW+JPG, what I do is just shoot JPG exclusively for un-important things like pets and friends and trips to disneyland etc. etc. Then when it comes time to bust out some landscape photography or a wedding or a children's play with super-tricky lighting, I just shot RAW. I still work on getting things like WB "right the first time" of course, cause every little setting you have time to fine-tune at the time of capture saves you that much time on the computer. The beauty of it all is that with Bridge CS3 (or Lightroom) I can process RAW and JPG images side by side, even with the same presets!!! =Matt=  08.30.07 - 1:27pm
Jasmine* - I shoot, essentially I have carbon copies of the same image in jpeg format and raw format. Of the jpegs, I only keep what I want...things that I'll use for personal use, the blog, or slideshows. I create a favorites folder for my clients of images I retouched, and the rest of the images are raw processed. Again, this may seem confusing, but I'm able to satisfy both my desires to have fun editing, but not get bogged down in the minutia! :)  08.30.07 - 12:49pm
erika - Hi jas! Yeah, JPG rocks! I'm just a bit confused...I assume you shoot JPG then but then you wrote "Pour the remaining 800-900 raw images into Adobe Bridge and use presets to process them." Do you mean by raw on this, SOOC images? I'm confused! ;-)  08.30.07 - 12:41pm
Michelle Bres - helloooo jasmine, I call your fphone but I didn´t have anwer, I wanted to tell you than I start my blog! but it is not a common thing here in Mexico, mmmm hahaha, but I am introducing the new stuff. It is great that you share your ... I forgot how to write.. knoweledge haha sorry. THANKYOU!!  08.30.07 - 11:45am
Olivia - You read my mind! On my list of this weekend's research was get a better understanding of RAW vs. jpeg. Thanks!  08.30.07 - 11:45am