Camera settings when Shooting RAW or JPEG

Are you confused by your camera’s many settings and the effects of shooting in RAW or JPEG or both?

When you first get your camera, it can be daunting working through all of the features and functions of your camera and choosing the appropriate settings in relation to your chosen subject or scene.

An important first step and one that confuses many people when starting out is the difference between shooting JPEG or RAW or shooting in JPEG and RAW. This is an important choice as it fundamentally changes how you go about setting up your camera.

There are many arguments as to why shooting in RAW is better than shooting in JPEG and I do not want to get into that in this post.

The point to remember when choosing between JPEG and RAW files is that; RAW files contain more data and are post-processed using a photo application.

JPEG files contain less data and are processed at the time of shooting by your cameras processer along with any settings that you may have applied.

This means that when shooting JPEG you have to take more care to ensure that you have chosen the correct camera settings and options. Not doing so will lead to disappointing results.

As you can see from the diagram below, there are a lot more settings to consider when shooting in JPEG. In some ways, shooting in RAW is simpler as you can just focus on making sure that you have the right combination of ISO, Shutter speed and Aperture, even white balance can be ignored as this can be changed when post-processing (I’m not suggesting that you do not set your white balance). You can even make exposure adjustments post shooting.

This is not the same when shooting in JPEG, you need to get things right in the camera.

Not only do you have to be aware of the above but you also need to think about which camera mode you are going to use and what you need to set as a result of your chosen camera mode.

Most advanced cameras offer a number of shooting modes. Whilst each cmera manufacturer may have slightly different terms or names for these modes, they basically function the same way.

Shooting modes and camera setting considerations

As you can see, if you are not using Intelligent Auto or Scene Mode and you are shooting in JPEG you will need to consider optimising your settings based on the shooting conditions and scene.

To make things easier some cameras have a custom settings option where you can save your settings, these tend to be called C1, C2, C3. You could have them set up for C1 Landscape, C2 Portrait and C3 Sports by example, if your camera has a scene mode you might want to use that instead.

You might want to print the last image to help you set your camera settings when you are out and about.

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