I sometimes struggle with shooting RAW and JPEG and generally shoot both. At the end of the day, every photographer must decide for themselves their prefered way of shooting and adapt to each photographic situation. For me, there are a number of benefits in shooting both RAW and JPEG together.
Putting aside the arguments of shooting in RAW or JPEG from a post-processing perspective, I think that the fundamental thing to understand when choosing between shooting in RAW or JPEG or both is how this affects what functions and settings you can and cannot use on your camera. Generally, if shooting in RAW many of your camera’s picture settings are irrelevant and can be ignored.
Of course, there are exceptions to this in that if you use the software provided by your camera manufacturer, this can often render your RAW files with the settings you applied at the time of taking your pictures. However, most other third-party photo editing software providers don’t do this and its up to you how you process your RAW file.
Three things I find useful about shooting with JPEG are
- They allow me to see how my camera processes an image and helps me understand the features, functions and limitations of my camera.
- They are useful as a reference point for processing your RAW files.
- The can be used without any further editing.
There are plenty of articles out there on the benefits of shooting JPEG or RAW, although I do find sometimes that they are not so helpful in helping you decide whether to shoot RAW or JPEG.
Of course, if you shoot both RAW and JPEG then you have to think carefully about how you are going to manage your images. Generally, If I shoot both RAW and JPEG and if I am not going to use the JPEGs, I just delete them and keep the RAW files.
You can still post-process your JPEGs to enhance the final image, the advantage being that you don’t have to play around with RAW edits as your camera has already processed your JPEGs.
Take a look at the image below. It’s a JPEG straight out of the camera with no edits applied. Shot with my Lumix GX8.
This is the final image, finished off in ON1 Photo RAW 2019 where I touched out the kitten’s blemishes (her name is Nina) added a sunlight filter and border to the image.
I did not have to worry about sharpening, colour temperature, exposure adjustments or any other RAW file edits making this a speedy post-processing job!
The three stages morphing as a slide show.
In summary, shooting in RAW means that many of the functions and features of your camera may be redundant. If you shoot both RAW and JPEG at the same time, then you may find that some of the features and functions of your camera do not work. As an example, my Lumix GX8 can take HDR images but not if I am shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG. I like using JPEGs to exploit the many functions and features of my camera. After all, Panasonic spend a lot of time and money developing their cameras as do other camera manufactures so why not exploit your cameras inbuilt features!