Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I Shoot JPEG

For this post, I want to talk a little about my process as a photographer, instead of just showing you more pretty pictures. (I have plenty of those saved for later in the week!) :)

I get a lot of funny looks when I tell fellow photographers that I never shoot RAW, only JPEG. The common response seems to be an incredulous Really?!?


And here's why.

1.) It makes me a better photographer. And that's first and foremost. I know myself, and I know that I would get super lazy if I shot RAW. Shooting JPEG means I have to get things right in the camera because I don't have the flexibility of RAW to fall back on. It changes my mindset. I can't think, "Oh, I'll just fix that later - it's good enough." I have to think, "What can I do to make this perfect now?"

2.) I save space. Like loads and loads of space. Jpegs come out right around 6 MB, roughly one-fourth the size they would be in RAW. I don't care who you are, 25 MB files are (in my humble opinion) stupid and unnecessary. I'm not sacrificing any size by shooting JPEG - my images out of the camera are still 52x78 inches at 72 dpi. Plenty big.

3.) I save time. Time archiving my photos, transferring my photos, burning my photos, uploading my photos. You get the picture. (pun intended.)

4.) I can use my in-camera presets. If I know I'm already going to be adding some contrast and a punch of color in my post-processing, why not do it in camera? Like everyone else out there, I don't want to edit more than I have to. I actually bump up the color and contrast in my camera, so my images already have a jump start in looking the way I want them to.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realize the limitations to shooting purely JPEG, and if RAW is the way to go for you, I'm certainly not saying I'm right and you're wrong. I'm merely trying to explain what works best for me and why. I know there are valid arguments from both sides. By the way, if you want to learn more about RAW format or JPEG format, check out this helpful article.