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Should you shoot in RAW or JPEG ???

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

A question I get asked a lot as I go around clubs delivering talks. Should you shoot in RAW or JPEG ??? For me in general the answer is RAW as this gives me the greatest amount of data for post processing and hence will give me the highest quality image, plus a RAW image has not been manipulated by the camera like a JPEG has. I don't do this however when I need an image quickly to put on line and on these occasions I will shoot in JPEG and Raw. I can use the JPEG immediately on line and I have a RAW image for processing later if I need it. The other reason for shooting in JPEG is if I'm running out of memory card space, when changing to JPEG will allow you to take many more images as the files are much smaller than RAW images. (NOTE: some cameras allow you to shoot smaller RAW files which would be a prefered option to JPEG) One other point to remember is that the review image you seen on you camera is not a RAW image but a JPEG image in the style you have selected on your camera ( eg Vivid, standard, monochrome etc) But first let’s have a look at the technical difference between Jpeg vs Raw photographs.

RAW Pros

  • Retains all the hidden details in your photographs.

  • Gives you more control over the final results.

  • Gives you greater dynamic range to recover shadow detail.

  • Better for large prints.

RAW Conns

  • Photographs have to be edited.

  • Larger file sizes.

  • More storage space needed for them.

  • Images appear to be less sharp and dull initially


  • Smaller file sizes.

  • They can be printed immediately from your camera.

  • They have been edited in camera for you.

  • Saves space on your storage device and Memory cards.

  • Its what you saw on the preview screen

JPEG Conns

  • It deletes some details it thinks you won’t want.

  • Often times it edits the photo incorrectly.

  • Loss of dynamic range.

  • Less details for large prints.

You need to decide what the right answer is for you but this should help you make an informed choice

Here are the views of some other Photographers


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