Forums > Photography Talk > Editing raw vs editing jpg

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Presently I shoot Raw + Jpeg, and primarily edit the jpeg files for convenience.  I have the raw available in case there is a problem that cannot be corrected with the jpeg / camera setting.

So I work with jpegs and have the raws as a safety net. 
Any reason to do otherwise?

Dec 01 12 03:13 pm Link

Photographer

Kev Lawson

Posts: 7829

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Every time you save a JPEG, it adds artifacts to the image (compression artifacts) that deteriorate the quality of the image. If you aren't planning on printing full resolution/size your probably wont notice with 1 or 2 saves. If you ever need to print a full size image, or worse, enlarge the image beyond its original size, you will wish you had edited the RAW and saved that.

Dec 01 12 03:17 pm Link

Photographer

M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12116

Tampa, Florida, US

Editing a jpg is editing the camera-processed image. I want to start with all the info and not the camera's interpretation of what I wanted done. No, I don't always need it but I'm a control freak.

Not to mention each save of a jpg is a degradation of quality...however slight that may be.

Dec 01 12 03:19 pm Link

Photographer

Paul AI

Posts: 1046

Shawnee, Oklahoma, US

Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

Dec 01 12 03:22 pm Link

Photographer

JMHSPhoto

Posts: 412

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Your settings inside the body, be it sharpness, contrast, hue etc.. all end up on the final jpeg (and it's compressed) on your card. The RAW image has every piece of information that your sensor is capable of capturing laid straight out in that same image.

The information that (eg) Adobe Camera Raw has to work with PRIOR to opening in Photoshop for post work is 2 fold compared.

Having said this, this is if the images being shot are important enough to warrant this kind of flexibility in manipulation. If they are just shots... jpeg away.

This is all about being able to take every pixel of RAW data sans the compression and altering inside the body and being able to work with it.

Dec 01 12 03:22 pm Link

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Paul AI wrote:
Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

Haha... 
I went to a photography workshop put on by these guys (fortunately for free)
http://www.digitaldaysphoto.com/
Who instructed the class to never shoot in M.  M stands for "mangle"

Dec 01 12 03:25 pm Link

Photographer

J O H N A L L A N

Posts: 10313

Santa Ana, California, US

If you're going to use jpegs (I might use jpeg for vacation snapshots, wouldn't consider it for my professional work),
At least immediately save the jpeg to tiff and work on that as your 'negative' and then only use jpeg again for your final output.

Dec 01 12 03:26 pm Link

Photographer

Paul AI

Posts: 1046

Shawnee, Oklahoma, US

Extrosy wrote:
M stands for "mangle"

Everyone knows that "P" is for "Professional."  smile

Dec 01 12 03:32 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 8378

Olney, Maryland, US

UltimateAppeal wrote:
Every time you [re]save a JPEG, it adds artifacts to the image (compression artifacts) that deteriorate the quality of the image. If you aren't planning on printing full resolution/size your probably wont notice with 1 or 2 saves. If you ever need to print a full size image, or worse, enlarge the image beyond its original size, you will wish you had edited the RAW and saved that.

Don't resave the JPG.  Save as a TIF.

Dec 01 12 03:34 pm Link

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Imagine their horror when I told them my camera doesn't have an Automatic mode.

So what I'm wondering is if I'm fairly happy with the jpeg / camera settings, does editing raw allow anything "special"

Dec 01 12 03:36 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10553

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Paul AI wrote:

Everyone knows that "P" is for "Perfeshionull."  smile

fixed it 4ya.  autocorrect's a bitch smile

Dec 01 12 03:36 pm Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3018

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

Your current method offers you convenience and flexibility.  If disk space isn't an issue, I see no reason to switch.

Dec 01 12 03:39 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10553

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Extrosy wrote:
Imagine their horror when I told them my camera doesn't have an Automatic mode.

So what I'm wondering is if I'm fairly happy with the jpeg / camera settings, does editing raw allow anything "special"

Editing RAW will allow you to recover from at least one more stop over than jpg.  So if you are shooting weddings, it would be silly to not keep the RAW around.  You simply can't reshoot a wedding.  And nobody I know gets every shot perfect at a wedding. It just doesn't happen.

For the rest, when you open a file in CS5 or 6 or whatever, you can directly edit jpg or tiff or first develop a RAW.  CS5 has no special settings.  If you are happy with your results, then you are happy.  More important, if your clients are happy, then you are happy.  Everyone likes to laugh about Ken Rockwell, but Ken Marcus shoots jpg all the time.
Harder to laugh at him.
A lot harder.

Dec 01 12 03:42 pm Link

Photographer

Kev Lawson

Posts: 7829

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

UltimateAppeal wrote:
Every time you [re]save a JPEG, it adds artifacts to the image (compression artifacts) that deteriorate the quality of the image. If you aren't planning on printing full resolution/size your probably wont notice with 1 or 2 saves. If you ever need to print a full size image, or worse, enlarge the image beyond its original size, you will wish you had edited the RAW and saved that.

Mark Salo wrote:
Don't resave the JPG.  Save as a TIF.

Even saving as a TIFF leaves the original compression artifacts. The only way to avoid that is using the RAW file. EDIT: and please do not MIS-QUOTE me, I did not say resave. Compression artifacts are added when saved in camera, and every save thereafter.

Dec 01 12 03:43 pm Link

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

AVD AlphaDuctions wrote:
Everyone likes to laugh about Ken Rockwell, but Ken Marcus shoots jpg all the time.
Harder to laugh at him.
A lot harder.

Never heard of him.  He has interesting taste: on one hand, bondage fetish and on the other B&W landscapes.

Dec 01 12 03:54 pm Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

Paul AI wrote:
Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

big_smile

Dec 01 12 04:01 pm Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5316

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Paul AI wrote:
Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

Unlike many on this site, I respect Ken Rockwell's opinions - but this is one area where he and I part company.

I respect Ken Marcus' opinions even more, and he shoots in JPEG.

I prefer to have all the available data to work with - not 1/16 of the data. And the issues with artifacts and the loss of quality during recompression each time a JPEG file is saved have already been mentioned.

Dec 01 12 04:09 pm Link

Photographer

Ronald N. Tan

Posts: 2746

Los Angeles, California, US

[Redacted]

Dec 01 12 04:28 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10553

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Extrosy wrote:

Never heard of him.  He has interesting taste: on one hand, bondage fetish and on the other B&W landscapes.

you should.
hes the dude who shot that original image of jimi hendrix burning his guitar onstage (and he shot chrome). and artist-in-res at Yosemite. (no burning of guitars allowed).  you should look up the rest.

Dec 01 12 04:36 pm Link

Photographer

Michael DBA Expressions

Posts: 3195

Lynchburg, Virginia, US

Do what works for you.

Dec 01 12 04:40 pm Link

Photographer

imcFOTO

Posts: 579

Bothell, Washington, US

Extrosy wrote:
Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Presently I shoot Raw + Jpeg, and primarily edit the jpeg files for convenience.  I have the raw available in case there is a problem that cannot be corrected with the jpeg / camera setting.

So I work with jpegs and have the raws as a safety net. 
Any reason to do otherwise?

If you're going to be doing multiple edits (e.g. if you might be using multiple tools), you really don't want to be resaving JPGs. I sometimes will convert my raw files to 16 bit TIFF and stay in that format till I finally save in JPG. If I'm stuck with a JPG as my starting point (say I'm editing something for a friend) I will convert to TIFF first.

Most of my stuff stays in RAW until/unless I need a tool that doesn't support RAW - then it's into TIFF again.

My aim is always one conversion to JPG from TIFF at the end of the flow. Even if I want different sizes of JPG, I will go back to the prior TIFF as source.


Working with JPG is fine but beware those multiple saves.

Dec 01 12 04:58 pm Link

Photographer

David Parsons

Posts: 972

Quincy, Massachusetts, US

Extrosy wrote:
Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Presently I shoot Raw + Jpeg, and primarily edit the jpeg files for convenience.  I have the raw available in case there is a problem that cannot be corrected with the jpeg / camera setting.

So I work with jpegs and have the raws as a safety net. 
Any reason to do otherwise?

Do what works for you, and ignore anyone that tells you otherwise.

Dec 01 12 04:59 pm Link

Photographer

London Fog

Posts: 6770

London, England, United Kingdom

David Parsons wrote:

Do what works for you, and ignore anyone that tells you otherwise.

Yes, this 100%, ignore all the RAW fanboys, JPEG's are perfectly fine if handled correctly!

Dec 01 12 05:11 pm Link

Photographer

R_Marquez

Posts: 4622

San Francisco, California, US

I shoot raw all the time. If I shot in a controlled environment then I'd have no problem shooting jpeg all the time.

Dec 01 12 05:23 pm Link

Photographer

Raoul Isidro Images

Posts: 6285

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Extrosy wrote:
So what I'm wondering is if I'm fairly happy with the jpeg / camera settings, does editing raw allow anything "special"

You can try this experiment to answer your own question:

1. Get an image with both RAW and JPG files.

2. Process the RAW as you would like to your heart's content. (Assuming you know how to manipulate the full gamut and extent of RAW processing power, if not, then this experiment will not be valid...)

3. Open the RAW manipulated file in PS or CS and manipulate further to the desired result. Save.

4. Go to the JPG file.

5. Compare the JPG camera file to the JPG file from RAW.

6. Now try to make the JPG camera file to look exactly like the JPG from RAW file.

7. Adopt the technique where you are happier and more satisfied.

.

Dec 01 12 06:07 pm Link

Photographer

Top Level Studio

Posts: 3253

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Mark Salo wrote:
Don't resave the JPG.  Save as a TIF.

That works for me.  On my camera, a 16Mb sensor image at the lowest compression setting comes out as a 10Mb JPEG.  When I open it for editing, it's duplicated and saved as a TIFF immediately, and all editing is done on the TIFF, which is 46Mb.

Once everything's right, I'll make another duplicate for online use, crop that to the size needed, and save it as a JPEG.  That's one save only.  I've haven't seen any artifacts so far.

Prints are made from the TIFF files.

Dec 01 12 06:54 pm Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8789

Seattle, Washington, US

Paul AI wrote:
Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

Who the fuck is Ken Rockwell?

just saying.

Dec 01 12 07:04 pm Link

Photographer

p e p e

Posts: 125

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Paul AI wrote:
Ken Rockwell recommends shooting JPG...just saying.

Lol    Poor Ken.  Always gets dragged into other peoples problems.

Dec 01 12 07:08 pm Link

Photographer

Peter Claver

Posts: 26657

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Extrosy wrote:
Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Presently I shoot Raw + Jpeg, and primarily edit the jpeg files for convenience.  I have the raw available in case there is a problem that cannot be corrected with the jpeg / camera setting.

So I work with jpegs and have the raws as a safety net. 
Any reason to do otherwise?

if you're getting the results and quality you like/need I can't imagine why you'd do differently.

Dec 01 12 07:11 pm Link

Photographer

KonstantKarma

Posts: 2513

Hickory, North Carolina, US

I shot jpg my first year of owning a dslr. I kept reading these "jpg versus raw" threads here and around the web, and though perhaps I should give it a shot.

Once you edit from raw, you'll never do otherwise on a shot you want to professionally present. For snapshots and casual photos, yes, jpg are more than fine. For actual retouching and then presenting on a portfolio or printing, jpg may work, but raw is the BETTER option. Yes, you can get good results from both.

My workflow is Raw -> Tiff -> retouch -> save -> discover more I'd like to change the next day - > resave -> change my mind and edit further -> resave -> Open in topaz and run a filter -> resave -> output to jpg.

If I do Jpg -> retouch -> save -> discover more I'd like to change the next day - > resave -> change my mind and edit further -> resave -> Open in topaz and run a filter -> resave -> output to jpg again, the quality is seriously sucky.

I suppose if you don't retouch, or if you retouch well but manage to get it all done in one session, you wouldn't notice as much of a difference.

Dec 01 12 07:36 pm Link

Photographer

photoguy35

Posts: 922

Goodyear, Arizona, US

Extrosy wrote:
Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Are you aware recent versions of Photoshop let you open jpgs in Camera Raw, allowign you to use all of the white balance, exposure, shadow, etc adjustments?  A lot things that only used to be able to be done to a raw file can now be done to jpg. 

I usually shoot raw, just because the jpg in-camera noise reduction tends to smear fine detail at the pixel level (would never show in a print, but loosing detail annoys me!).

Dec 01 12 07:47 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10553

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

KonstantKarma wrote:
I shot jpg my first year of owning a dslr. I kept reading these "jpg versus raw" threads here and around the web, and though perhaps I should give it a shot.

Once you edit from raw, you'll never do otherwise on a shot you want to professionally present. For snapshots and casual photos, yes, jpg are more than fine. For actual retouching and then presenting on a portfolio or printing, jpg may work, but raw is the BETTER option. Yes, you can get good results from both.

My workflow is Raw -> Tiff -> retouch -> save -> discover more I'd like to change the next day - > resave -> change my mind and edit further -> resave -> Open in topaz and run a filter -> resave -> output to jpg.

If I do Jpg -> retouch -> save -> discover more I'd like to change the next day - > resave -> change my mind and edit further -> resave -> Open in topaz and run a filter -> resave -> output to jpg again, the quality is seriously sucky.

I suppose if you don't retouch, or if you retouch well but manage to get it all done in one session, you wouldn't notice as much of a difference.

pretentious much? I knew a good RAW vs jpg thread would end up here.  I'm happy you get the results that make you happy smile  sorry you havent figured out a workflow that works for you.  but srsly....the arrogance in saying "For snapshots and casual photos, yes, jpg are more than fine" is just lollery. I hope you feel better after saying it.
As you may have noticed in the thread there are plenty of very professional photographers who shoot jpg all or most of the time and manage to retouch their photos in quite creative ways (as required).  Scroll up.  You may not have heard of AVD but hopefully know of Ken Marcus.

Dec 01 12 07:54 pm Link

Photographer

Glenn Hall - Fine Art

Posts: 450

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

...if you like your soup watered down, shoot and edit JPG.
...if your photos are only good enough for the web, shoot and edit JPG

Dec 01 12 08:00 pm Link

Photographer

Kev Lawson

Posts: 7829

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Glenn Hall - Fine Art wrote:
...if you like your soup watered down, shoot and edit JPG.
...if your photos are only good enough for the web, shoot and edit JPG

smile

Dec 01 12 08:08 pm Link

Photographer

Caveman Creations

Posts: 580

Fort Worth, Texas, US

RAW vs. JPEG for me anyway, has everything to do with Dynamic Range. I LOVE creating, shaping, and utilizing shadows on my subjects, but I like having the control to lose detail in specific parts of the shot, and retain the detail in others ie: Loose the detail in the background, that doesn't matter, but dodge out the chin, neck, or in the hair to retain some, or all of the detail in there. I light specifically for shadows, weather I want hard or soft, large or small, etc, so being able to go back and help out my cameras Dynamic Range is paramount for me.

If what you do is working for you, then go for it! I have thought about doing the same basic thing you are talking about, but in the end I'm stuck in my habits of just pulling out the camera, setting my exposure, and shooting it. I can create JPEGs anytime.

Dec 01 12 08:13 pm Link

Photographer

Innovative Imagery

Posts: 2815

Los Angeles, California, US

photoguy35 wrote:

Are you aware recent versions of Photoshop let you open jpgs in Camera Raw, allowign you to use all of the white balance, exposure, shadow, etc adjustments?  A lot things that only used to be able to be done to a raw file can now be done to jpg. 

I usually shoot raw, just because the jpg in-camera noise reduction tends to smear fine detail at the pixel level (would never show in a print, but loosing detail annoys me!).

The only problem with this statement is that it ignores the the gaps in the data.  When you go from 4096 to 256 bits of data (RAW vs JPEG)  something has to give.

Dec 01 12 08:13 pm Link

Photographer

Innovative Imagery

Posts: 2815

Los Angeles, California, US

David Parsons wrote:

Do what works for you, and ignore anyone that tells you otherwise.

I think the OP is not sure "what works for him" which is why he phrased the question the way he did.

Dec 01 12 08:14 pm Link

Photographer

Innovative Imagery

Posts: 2815

Los Angeles, California, US

Extrosy wrote:
Imagine their horror when I told them my camera doesn't have an Automatic mode.

So what I'm wondering is if I'm fairly happy with the jpeg / camera settings, does editing raw allow anything "special"

and

Extrosy wrote:
Assuming that the shot has the proper white balance and is properly exposed and no detail has been lost or clipped, is there any advantage to editing raw?

Presently I shoot Raw + Jpeg, and primarily edit the jpeg files for convenience.  I have the raw available in case there is a problem that cannot be corrected with the jpeg / camera setting.

So I work with jpegs and have the raws as a safety net. 
Any reason to do otherwise?

There is simply more info to work with to fill in the gaps when you work with RAW's to the tune of 4096 vs 256 with a 12 bit file.

Most working pros, shoot RAW, do a conversion in Photoshop or Lightroom and store and work on a PSD and save that.  Then they output as JPEGS (mostly) and TIFF (as required)  JPEGS are a web and printer format.

In the old days of small and expensive storage and slow computers, JPEG processing offered a significant advantage in speed and storage.  Now, not so much.  The ability to correct both exposure and color and make adjustments without banding and artifacts is what makes RAW the tool of choice for most.

If you shoot in a highly controlled environment, like Ken Marcus's studio, and you only need to do minor skin retouching as the primary work on your files, then JPEGS are fine.  I do believe Ken shoots RAW when he is out of his studio, so to say he only shoots JPEG is a bit misleading.  He has a nice interview on MM where he covers this.  He also comes from a background of shooting transparency films, so he is a very disciplined shooter.

Dec 01 12 08:22 pm Link

Photographer

photoguy35

Posts: 922

Goodyear, Arizona, US

Innovative Imagery wrote:

The only problem with this statement is that it ignores the the gaps in the data.  When you go from 4096 to 256 bits of data (RAW vs JPEG)  something has to give.

I don't disagree, but much more can be done to a jpg file than a lot of raw fans seem to admit to.  The further you are away from a well exposed jpg image, or the larger the dynamic range of the image, the more important shooting raw becomes.

Dec 01 12 08:23 pm Link

Photographer

KonstantKarma

Posts: 2513

Hickory, North Carolina, US

Put it this way:  People utilize RAW files for a reason.  And it's not because they have a shitton of disk space they're just trying to fill up. Try it, and you will see why most photographers claim working from RAW files is better. If you don't try it, you'll never understand what you're missing, and will never have to worry about it.

Dec 01 12 08:24 pm Link