When to Use the RAW+JPEG file format | A Photography Tutorial from Pretty Presets for Lightroom

All cameras come with the ability to shoot and store a RAW file and a JPEG file at the exact same time. The question is, when/why should you use the feature?

My simple answer is almost never.   Let me explain.

When I first started shooting RAW files, I chose to shoot RAW + JPEG.  I think it mostly had to do with how unsure I was about shooting RAW.  So, in essence, the JPEGs we my backup.  I didn't do that for too long before I realized how much better the RAW files were to use in processing.  At the beginning, I was making lots of mistakes and these files were just 100% better when I tried fixing those problems using my developing software.  Also, when I was making this decision, Photoshop didn’t have the option of processing JPEGs in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom didn’t even exist. (That comment sounds so “I-lived-in-the-dark-ages-ish”!!)

The problem was that I now had 2 of each file on my computer and it was sometimes confusing which one was the file that I had developed.  I also noticed how much space all these photos were taking up on my hard drive.  So I made the decision to stick with just RAW.  

I honestly think that most people should pick one file format and stick with it.  I'll  let you decide for yourself which one you choose.  But there are very few instances when you need both and the system for storing and developing 2 files on your computer can be confusing.  


However, there may be some who should think about shooting RAW+JPEG. Anyone new to RAW may just feel more comfortable having both options at first.  I know I did.  If this is you, go ahead and use it, but be aware of the confusion and eventually try to just pick and stick with one.

Wedding Photographers

Some wedding photographers like to shoot RAW+JPEG in order to show a client a slideshow of some of their wedding images at the reception and still have the option of processing the RAW files for use in albums and prints.  With little time to develop photos between a ceremony and a reception, JPEG files are the best-looking and quickest option to make that happen.  So shooting both makes sense in this case.  Most other portrait photographer's don't show their clients the images they have taken immediately following the session, so they have little need for both. 

Other Cases?

There may also be other cases where shooting both is warranted.  But I think those situations are few and far between. Check out RAW and JPEG: The Lowdown! {Part 1} here!

What do you think?  Do you shoot RAW+JPEG?