Why I Shoot Everything in RAW+JPEG…Now

by | Mar 4, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

…I didn’t always but wished I had.

First, let me tell you a story that explains where initially I was coming from. When I was shooting a Nissan Skyline—you can see it here–for a magazine, the Art Director told me, “Just shoot JPEG’s for most of the shots but for any you think would make a double-page spread, shoot it in RAW.” I did exactly what he asked but the photo he used for the magazine that was spread across two pages was originally shot as a JPEG.

So I ignored that all the cool kids and pundits recommended to “shoot RAW” and continued shooting everything as JPEG files. But I was wrong. Today’s featured image is a perfect example of why I was mistaken. But first, how did my conversion to RAW capture happen?

It all started with the Lumix mirrorless cameras— a G5, G6 and GX1—that I had converted for infrared shooting by Life Pixel using different filters. All are what might be politely termed as megapixel challenged so in order to squeeze the maximum image quality from them, I shot all of the IR images in RAW+JPEG format. Since these are (mostly) monochrome cameras anyway I also set the camera in Monochrome mode so when I captured an image it was two files: a color RAW file and a monochrome JPEG. I really don’t do anything with the JPEG other than use the JPEG image on the LCD screen as a preview of what my RAW file will look like after I converted it to monochrome in postproduction.

Then gradually I started to do the same thing with my portrait and glamour images for similar reasons, plus one. Color RAW files, because they have so many more tones than a black and white JPEG file are much easier to retouch. Now I shoot everything in RAW+JPEG but because not all of my camera’s RAW files will open in my old copy of Adobe Camera RAW that’s part Photoshop CS6, I often have to convert that particular camera’s RAW file into the highly portable DNG format using Adobe’s free Digital Negative Converter software. You can read how I do it on my main photography how-to Blog here.

How I Made this Shot: I photographed this old car (I think it is a Plymouth, let me know if I’m wrong) in monochrome-only JPEG mode back when I shot everything in JPEG and when I thought it was cool to shoot everything in black and white. I know, I know…

I shot this classic Plymouth using a Canon EOS 50D with Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 lens that I no longer own using a Program mode exposure of 1/320 sec at f/10 and ISO 200. Then I used Vivenza to punch up the image and then PhotoKit’s toning option to add a Platinum tone to this photograph.

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