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RAW vs JPEG – Which Image Format is Better and Why

With all the point and shoot digital cameras and smartphone apps that are out there, taking up photography is easier than ever. Once you gain more experience though and begin feeling comfortable behind the camera, you will want to look at how you can customize your images and make them look better. A top thing you need to consider is the format in which you’ll save those images.

The two top formats are RAW and JPEG. I created this guide as a way for amateurs and beginners to learn about both formats and to help them choose which one to use. This guide looks at the benefits of both and which format is the best.

When to Use JPEG” alt=”” width=”448″ height=”447″ />If you open your camera and enter the settings, you will usually find that it’s already set to use the JPEG format. This is because it’s the easiest format to use. I highly recommend it for beginners.

With this format, taking photos is as easy as pressing a button on your camera. It will automatically adjust the brightness and white balance as well as all other settings to capture an image that looks as nice as possible. If you want to edit the photos later, you can upload them to your computer and use editing software.

I also recommend using the JPEG format if you want to save space because this format uses less space to save files. It compresses those files to reduce space, which gives you more room on a memory card. If you want to take shots of a wedding, family reunion or any other event, you can take thousands of images and save them on the same card without running out of space.

JPEG is also the best format to use if you want to share your images on the web. Blogger is a popular free blogging site that lets you upload images to a blog that you created. It defaults to search for JPEG images on your computer or device.

This is also the best format for sharing photos on a social media site too. Whether you use Instagram, Facebook or any other site, you can quickly upload photos to the site and share them with others. This includes both personal and business social media accounts.

Cons of JPEG Photos

Before you decide to shoot and save photos in a JPEG format, you should be aware of some of the potential cons of that format. The biggest is that it won’t capture all the details that you want in your photographs. This format can result in images that look pixelated or dull, especially if you take close-up images.

You may find that JPEG images lack the bright color details that RAW images have. This is due to the format using an eight-bit processor, which limits the number of colors shown in a final photograph. Even if you use an expensive camera that can capture thousands of colors, your final images will lack all of those shades.

The risk of underexposing or overexposing photographs when shooting in a JPEG format is also high. This format has a less extensive dynamic range than the RAW format has. Some of your images may come out with bright white spots or dark and dull spots.

When to Use RAW Photos

The best time to use the RAW format is when you want to capture high-quality images that look the same on your computer screen as they do on your camera screen. This is the top choice for professionals who shoot photos for clients.

With the RAW format, everything you see on your camera screen shows up in the final image. This format will retain all the details from the photo. It’s a good choice for those who need to build a photography portfolio too.

It’s also a good format to choose when you shoot in natural sunlight because the RAW format has a greater brightness range than the JPEG format does and retains more of the natural light in the image. You can edit the images later to increase or decrease the brightness too.

If you want to edit your photographs, you’ll want to shoot in the RAW format. Whether you use Photoshop or any other type of editing software, you can go in and make changes to those images, including darkening the background, removing the red eyes from subjects and sharpening the focus on certain objects. You can save your final images in JPEG and other formats too.

Cons of the RAW Format

One con of shooting in this format is that the images take up quite a bit of storage space. You can only save a certain number of images on even the largest of memory cards. For shoots where you’ll be in the field for hours, you need to bring multiple memory cards and swap them out to save all your work.

Another issue is that you must edit your work later because you cannot upload RAW files to your portfolio website or a social media site. Not only does it take some time to edit your photographs, but you may find that it takes some time before you feel comfortable using that software too.

The software that you use must be compatible with the file format too. This is specific to certain manufacturers, which means that you cannot use the Sony software already installed on your computer to edit photos taken with a Nikon camera. This can make setting up your new system more expensive than you expected.

RAW vs. JPEG: Which is Better?

It’s hard to pick which format is better because both are good for different types of users. In a direct comparison, RAW comes out on top because it saves images in better quality and creates images that perfectly match what you shoot. JPEG is a better format for those who have less experience and want to save space on their memory cards.

I highly recommend the JPEG format for beginners and encourage advanced photographs enthusiasts to stick with the RAW format.