JPEG vs RAW – Does it actually matter?

Is there really a noticeable difference between using JPEG or RAW file formats for your photos? Many photographers have debated this issue for years, with some swearing by the quality of RAW files and others arguing that the convenience of JPEGs is unbeatable. So, in the end, does it actually matter which format you choose? In this blog, we will explore the differences between JPEG and RAW files, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which format is best for your photography needs. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just a casual snapper, this is a question worth exploring.

JPEG vs RAW – Does it actually matter?

JPEG vs RAW – Does it actually matter?

Hello this morning would have been a fantastic video with the mist at when it’s passed but I didn’t take a microphone so James is lack of preparation strikes again never mind it doesn’t really matter because what I thought I’d do today is an editing video because well last week I suggested that I could do an editing video and overwhelmingly you said you thought that would be a good idea some of you stressed that you’re a bit concerned that there were too many Lightroom focused editing videos around what I would suggest them and I’m going to go through Lightroom bits and bobs But what I would suggest is that when you watch an editing video editing editing when you watch an editing video regardless of what program is used by and large it will be focusing on similar things to what you could do in another editing program because as far as I’m Aware pretty much every editing program allows you to make changes to shadows highlights blacks whites contrast sharpness all that kind of stuff and that really is going to be the kind of stuff that I’m talking about today so don’t shy away from the fact that just Because this is a Lightroom focus to an extent tutorial it doesn’t mean you can’t take anything from it just because you don’t use library that be the first thing I’d say the second thing I would say is that you might remember if you watched last week’s video that I was Shooting entirely JPEGs and some people suggested well that’s a silly idea if you’re gonna shoot JPEG you should shoot JPEG plus raw and that’s exactly what I did also as you might be able see on the camera I am shooting JPEG but I’m also shooting raw just in case out of nowhere I get like the photo of my life and I’m completely gutted that and I’ve got a raw file of it I know it’s unlikely particularly on a day like today but you never know and I thought I could use that to demonstrate some of the differences between the two when editing Today that was an extremely long-winded way of saying let me show you some JPEGs and roars next to each other and how I edit them differently very quickly if you don’t know the difference between JPEGs and rules the best way I can think to explain it as I did about three years Ago on this channel is to talk about steak imagine you’ve got a raw stay it’s completely unprocessed uncooked in fact and you can do pretty much anything without not anything but you can cook lots of different ways with that uncooked steak now imagine a JPEG in Other words a cooked steak like a a well-done steak there’s a very limited number of things you can do with that because you can’t uncook it and that is what a JPEG is basically it’s a processed file and lots of the data and therefore opportunity has been thrown Away in order to process and compress that file so a JPEG typically is a lot less useful than a raw which immediately begs the question why on earth would you ever want to shoot JPEG overall then what rarely to be honest I hardly ever do shoot JPEG but there are lots of people who want to because a JPEG as a compressed file typically looks a bit nicer straight out the box than a raw file does I say out the box I mean at the camera and say yeah you don’t to spend loads of time on on editing then Typically JPEGs are a good way to go because they look pretty good as soon as they come out the camera camera manufacturers spend an ungodly amount of time energy and money on trying to make their JPEGs look good despite the fact that most photographers my serious photographers rarely use them but um Yeah if you don’t know do much editing JPEGs are a good way to go let’s look at some of the differences then between a JPEG and a rule when you do a tin finally right so here what we’ve got is a JPEG and a raw side-by-side the raw is On the left is the reference file and the JPEG is on the right is the active file now looking at them from afar or indeed perhaps through YouTube’s horrible compression you might not actually be able to see much of a difference between them in fact even on This 5k monitor I can’t see a whole lot of difference between them if I look a bit closer I can’t see a slight difference in color a slight difference in contrast and a slight difference in sharpness because after all the JPEG has been processed and therefore those things have been tweaked through that Processing process now in my experience a lot of people won’t even touch JPEGs for theory the fact that they don’t think they’re any good at all I would disagree with that for example let me just show you that if I bumped down the highlights and I boost Up the shadows there looks like a completely usable file still to me now if I swap these images around and I make the same changes to the raw file you end up with pretty much exactly the same result apart from the contrast the sharpness and the colors as I mentioned Before now to be honest that is quite impressive and even though not all JPEGs are born exactly the same you know if you’ve got a tenure odd phone that shooting JPEGs it’s not gonna be able to do this in the same way but I think in a lot of instances photographers don’t Give JPEGs any time of day whatsoever but actually in some instances they hold up to rules much better than I think most people would imagine now where they can fall down a little bit is when you start to mess around with temperature so if I move the temperature down on this Raw and then I swap the images round and do basically the same thing on the JPEG there’s just not as much flexibility when it comes to changing the white balance not to be honest I’d never have to change the white balance this drastically ever because I pretty much Always shoot auto white balance on my cameras and I’d say 99% at the time the camera gets it right or broadly right and I’ll have to make tiny tweaks and the other 1% I might have to make a slightly bigger tweak but by and large I never have to make huge tweaks and Therefore run while the JPEG wouldn’t wouldn’t be the problem in that regard either it’s not all sunshine and rainbows though as far as the JPEG is concerned which I shall now demonstrate with one of the other images I’ve got that day right so here is a photo that I Got about half an hour after the first one and a few people on the comments mentioned that they thought maybe the Sheep were we’re trying to fix the tractor maybe chuckle anyway again at first glance there’s not a huge amount of difference between these files is a bit More color a bit more green in the JPEG which is to be expected because again it’s processed the color has been tweaked in camera aside from that when you first look at the files though there’s not a huge amount between them however if you look a bit closer and These are edited files edited with one of my presets which I’ll talk about it but this JPEG looks disgusting when he gets to the sky there’s banding everywhere and there’s just not the detail to make a compelling looking sky and to capture all the tones and the colors accurately if you compare This to the raw you can see on the rule that there’s…

JPEG vs RAW – Does it actually matter?

What is the difference between JPEG and RAW?

JPEG is a compressed file format that reduces the size of the image by sacrificing some image quality. RAW, on the other hand, is an uncompressed file format that retains all of the image data captured by the camera sensor.

Why does it matter?

Shooting in RAW allows for greater flexibility in post-processing, as it preserves more image data and allows for adjustments to be made without degrading the image quality. JPEG, on the other hand, is a final image format and does not offer as much room for editing.

Do professional photographers shoot in RAW?

Many professional photographers prefer shooting in RAW to have more control over the final image and ensure the highest image quality. However, shooting in JPEG can be more convenient for quick, everyday photography.

Can you still get good quality images with JPEG?

Yes, JPEG can still produce high-quality images, especially when shot with a high-quality camera and in optimal conditions. However, shooting in RAW provides more room for error and allows for more extensive post-processing.


Ultimately, whether shooting in JPEG or RAW matters depends on your personal preferences, shooting conditions, and post-processing needs. Both formats have their own advantages and drawbacks, and it’s important to consider your specific photography goals when choosing between them.

I hope you find useful my article JPEG vs RAW – Does it actually matter?, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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