Shooting RAW + JPG? WHY??

I have been teaching Lightroom for a few years now and shooting digital for just over 10 years.  My workflow and habits have had to change because of the technology and the programs. One thing remains true all these years is that I always encounter the questions “Should I shoot RAW or JPG?”.

In the past I have recommended shooting both, but due to increased megapixels and increased shooting I’ve found that shooting both can be a bit of a pain in the butt.

The main reason to shoot both file types is because of the profiles that you can embed in a JPG file which you cannot in a RAW.  Meaning, if you want you file to be Black & White or Vivid, you could choose these in your ‘picture styles’ in the camera, however the change was only applied to the JPG and not the RAW.  The RAW needs to be converted and adjusted to look like the chosen picture profile.

This is where things have recently changed for me. I started shooting all RAW files.  My wife and I are shooting with both a Nikon D3 and a D600.  The file sizes and need for hard drive space has been the impetus for the change, and Lightroom facilitates it.

Lightroom has a panel in the Develop module that most people look over.  The “Camera Calibration” panel is the magic place where you get to control the profile of your RAW files.  This means that you can apply any of the camera profiles that you would normally apply to your JPGs also apply those characteristics to your RAWs.


I was reminded of just how important this little bit of knowledge was when I came across the “Do You Need to Shoot RAW+JPG? Try Lightroom’s ‘Big Mac’ Button” by Richard Harrington this morning.  He goes into great detail about how amazing this feature is using burger analogies and also gives you some great tips on how to use this panel to speed up your workflow.

So check out this panel in Lightroom, read Richard’s post and see how you can speed up your workflow.

If you are still having trouble with Lightroom I will be teaching an 8 week class at Vancouver Photo Workshops starting September 17th.  Here’s the link with all the course details and registration.

And just a little extra for those of you advanced Lightroom users:
This is also the panel where you will be able to integrate custom camera profiles created using the ColorChecker Passport by X-rite and get the best colour results from your camera!!  More advanced Lightroom tips and tricks in my Advanced Lightroom Weekend at Vancouver Photo Workshops… hope to see you there!

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