Shooting Both JPG and RAW

I used the raw file (picture in the middle) as my working file and used jpeg as my reference that resulted into a PSD file.

I used the raw file (picture in the middle) as my working file and used jpeg as my reference that resulted into a PSD file.

There was this one forum that I was following about post processing and somewhere in the middle of an in-depth discussion, one photographer posted that there is no reason to edit your photos anymore. Plain photography skills plus jpeg format is all you need to nail the money shot.

I think the admin deleted the post after all the forum members went ballistic and flooded the forum with novel length posts. In my case, I actually shoot both. I love to tinker the settings of picture style or control and find the tone that I want the shot to come out. I need to be motivated by the photos that I see in my lcd during the actual shoot.

The only way for you to remember how the shot was made is to set your camera to shot jpg. If you want the raw and complete image without editing, you need to set your camera to shoot both. The picture style or control in your camera is only applied to jpg which is also the same file displayed in your lcd while the raw is saved untouched in your memory card.

There were few occasions where I submitted jpg with just few adjustments directly to my client. I don’t always start my workflow with raw file. If I like the jpg already and have no plans of dissecting the image, then I stay with jpg. If I’ll put some numbers on the frequency of jpg against raw, I think I use 85% raw and the rest is jpg.

However, in my workflow, jpeg’s tone and color is important to me as a reference in developing my raw files. For serious editing, raw files have 10 times more details and dynamic range compared to jpg. Just make sure to use 16-bit when exporting to Photoshop to get the full advantage of using raw.

Note that the reason I can afford to shoot both jpg and raw formats is because I’m not shooting events. When shooting both formats, your camera takes time to write the data and will slow down until buffer is cleared. Of course, if you’re using top of the line camera bodies with fast processors, this is not an issue.

I also don’t think that it’s advisable to shoot raw when shooting events since these are documentary in nature. I’m really not sure, I don’t shoot events since I can’t handle the pressure. I love to take my time and plan every bit of details when shooting.

Good luck to all who joined the Sinulog Photo Contest. For those who’s still trying to beat the deadline, don’t forget to label your files and CD properly. Keep on shooting everyone!

Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa

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