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Shooting in Raw + JPEG Mode: Why Most of Us Shouldn’t, And How to Set Lightroom Preferences If You Do

raw+jpeg options canon-5dMore and more photographers are aware these days that raw files provide higher quality information and more flexibility in processing than JPEGs do. For those of you convinced to shoot raw files, your camera most likely gives you a choice to save just a raw file, or to save both a raw file and a JPEG of each photo you capture.   Frankly, I hope to convince most of you who capture raw + JPEG to stop doing it and capture just a raw file. However, for those who choose to capture both, I will explain the file management options available to you.

My Experience Shooting Raw + JPEG

When I first started shooting in raw, I chose raw + JPEG because I wasn’t yet comfortable with raw files, and I wanted some insurance that I could revert to using the JPEGs. Not only did this mean that I had twice as many files to manage, which took up a lot more hard drive space, but it was frustrating as well. I would often accidentally work on the JPEG instead of the raw file, and then have to redo my work on the raw file. I I also found it extremely frustrating that the raw file didn’t look like the JPEG, and I could never get it to look like the JPEG.   As soon as I took the plunge into raw only, all of these issues melted away — less hard drive space, no confusion, and no jpeg for comparison, so I simply worked the raw file to my taste.  And this is in fact what I would encourage most of you to do.

You will be OK Shooting Raw Only!

For those of you new to capturing raw files, here’s why I think you can safely give up capturing those JPEGs as well:

1. The workflow in Lightroom is exactly the same for raw files as it is for JPEGs — so there is nothing new to learn!

2. You can create a JPEG from your raw file (to email out or post on the web, for example) anytime you want, very quickly, using Lightroom’s Export functionality.

3. If there is something about the colors of your JPEGs that you really like and want to apply to your raw files, you can use camera profiles to start out  closer to the look of your jpeg. (You will probably still need to add more saturation and contrast.)

4. If you are on a PC and can’t preview your raw files in Windows Explorer/My Computer and want to be able to, just like you can your JPEGS, you can install a plug-in from Microsoft that will allow you to do so (at this link, check to see if your particular camera file type is supported).

Still Want to Capture Raw + JPEG?

All that said, I certainly have heard valid arguments for capturing both.  For example, the JPEG can be sent off to someone without any processing at all — meaning without having to import it into Lightroom, potentially work it, and then export a JPEG copy. So for those of you who need to get a draft version of your files out to someone immediately after capture, this can certainly make sense. Another example would be if you like your camera’s black and white conversion – this does not get applied to raw files, only JPEGs. Shooting raw+JPEG can give you both the flexibility of the raw color version and the black and white JPEG version.

If you choose to do this, you will need to make a decision on how Lightroom is to handle these two copies of your photos.  You have two choices: to treat the JPEG and raw files as separate photos or not. This is specified on the General tab in Preferences (Lightroom>Preferences on a Mac, Edit>Preferences on a PC).

lightroom preferences raw jpeg option

Ultimately I can’t make a recommendation to you on which option to use, as it will depend on why you are creating the JPEGs, but here is how the two options work:

1. Box checked: JPEG files next to raw files ARE treated as separate photos

This means that when you import your shoot, you will see both the raw files and jpegs in the Import dialog, and unless you uncheck one or the other in the Import dialog, both the raw file and the JPEG will be copied to your hard drive and  imported into Lightroom, just as if they were two separate photos. You can store them in the same folder, or move them to separate folders; deleting one will not delete the other  — they are independent.

2. Box NOT checked: JPEG files next to raw files NOT treated as separate photos

In this case, when you import a new shoot, you will only see the raw files in the Import dialog. In fact, both the raw and JPEG files will be copied to your shoot folder on your hard drive, but only the raw file will be imported into, meaning visible and accessible in,  Lightroom. Lightroom will consider the JPEG file a sidecar file — meaning that it is linked to the raw file, and if you move the raw file to a different folder using Lightroom, the JPEG will move as well.   Similarly, if you delete the raw file from your hard drive from within Lightroom, the JPEG will also be deleted.

This option allows you to create and send off those camera-generated JPEGs, without having to deal with the confusion of having both copies in Lightroom. In the Grid in the Library module, if you are displaying the file extension, it will display as your raw file type +JPEG to let you know that you also have a JPEG out on your hard drive.

raw+jpeg lightroom grid view sidecar indicator

A Note on Working on Your Photos

Note that in neither case will your work on the raw file or on the JPEG (rating, flagging, keywording, developing, etc) transfer to the other. Particularly in the case of Develop work, I would argue that you would not want it to — your raw file and JPEG will look different out of the camera — the same Develop decisions will often not be appropriate. If you have imported both the raw file and JPEG and want to work on them together, you can use Sync or Auto Sync to do so

For those who choose to shoot raw+JPEG, and import both into Lightroom, in the follow-up post below I discuss a couple organizational options and tools available to you.

Related Post: Raw + JPEG Continued: Managing Raw + JPEG Files in Lightroom

I would be interested in hearing from you — all this said, do you still plan to shoot raw+JPEG, and if so, what are your reasons?

Thank you to Andre G. for this blog post idea.

2017-06-28T20:39:30+00:00September 24th, 2012|159 Comments


  1. Debi September 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I shoot RAW+JPEG and will continue to do so. I have two main reasons for doing this:

    1) I like having an instant copy of my photos to share, if necessary.
    2) I back up ALL of my JPEG files to Flickr. I back up the RAW files too (to CrashPlan), but only the keepers.

    I never import directly from cards. I copy the contents onto my hard drive and separate out the JPEGs to a different folder. Then I import only the RAW files into Lightroom and start editing.

  2. AngieS September 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I shoot only RAW on my Canon 7D for all the reasons listed above. However, my smaller Canon Powershot S95 only allows me to shoot in RAW + JPEG. Until now I have been importing both RAW and JPEG files into LR because most of the time it is too much trouble to uncheck one or the other in the import dialog. Not any more, thanks for the tip!

    • Kay August 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      The Canon Powershot S95 allows RAW-only shooting — I have used this setting for over 65k photos on my S95.
      For further info, consult p. 78 of the “Canon PowerShot S95 Camera User Guide” available on the Canon USA website (if you are in the USA):
      “1. After pressing the ‘FUNC SET’ button, press the ‘Up/Down arrows’ to choose ‘JPEG’.
      2. Press the ‘Left/Right arrows’ or turn the dial to choose to choose ‘RAW’ or ‘RAW+JPEG’, then press the ‘FUNC SET’ button.” (For step 2. simply choose ‘RAW’.)

  3. Doug A September 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Thanks … I did not know about the Microsoft plugin so I was shooting in both RAW and JPEG so I could open the photos on my travel laptop that does not have Lightroom. Thanks for the tip.

  4. AndreGurgel September 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    – LR should offer the option to treat jpeg as a different file *per import* .
    – LR should offer an option to NOT import jpeg at all – also per import.
    – Nikon D7000 and others can save raw and jpeg in separate SD cards.

    – If you configure the camera to monochrome (mostly for shooting people), and want to share jpegs fresh from the camera, Raw-only would forcibly imply a import-develop-export-workflow. (Except in a specific Leica, Raws are never BW).

  5. Narcis September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am - Reply

    How about corruption of files? Since the camera writes 2 “separate” files onto the card, isn’t there a chance that if one file is corrupt (the RAW, for instance) the next one (the JPG) will be fine? Right now for me it’s the only reason for shooting both until the 5D MkIII comes in.

    • PuterPro September 5, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      @Narcis – This is a bit late for your post, but…
      If you are experiencing file corruption during the Import process, you have a HARDWARE issue – Bad cable, bad SD (or CF if you’re using those) card reader, an issue with the hard drive (developing errors, you should run a scan to check… Google hard drive check) or a problem with the USB port on your computer (try using a different one on your PC, the plugs are notorious for going bad and will cause just this type of issue!).
      The only other thing I can think of is if you’re transferring over a network, and THEN troubleshooting it gets real complex!!
      Just some thoughts to help you & others … 🙂
      All the Best, PuterPro

  6. Phil Collins September 27, 2012 at 6:01 am - Reply

    I have the J-Pegs set to monochrome when shooting for myself. There is impact, when interpreting a scene in camera in B&W, that running RAW files thru in post-production later doesn’t have.

  7. Don September 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    I also shoot raw + jpg on my Nikon D800.

    After my files are imported, I use lightroom to create 3 subdirectories. JPG, Raw, and Exported

    In Library module, I press \ and then sort using the term jpg. I move all those files to subdirectory JPG
    Then I sort by !jpg, and move all those files to subdirectory RAW

    I like having the jpgs, although I only process raw files (usually).

    (As a side note, I color rate my raw files in ACDsee 14, and it writes xmp sidecar files. ACDsee is many times faster than lightroom to review files ( especially D800 files ) and to rate them. I then synchronize my Raw subdirectory in Lightroom, and then process my files in lightroom that I previously rated in ACDsee 14.)

    I export my processed raw files to subdirectory Export. I run my slideshow on ACDsee, which can play a whole sub-directory of music, and not just one song like lightroom is limited to.

    I save original files on a Blu ray disc.

    • Isabeau April 2, 2013 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for the tip, now i dont have to freakinf seperare them manually! <3

    • Karamany September 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      wow… a one year old tip, but so fresh and so useful for me… thank you so much, I am new to LR and it is really time saving to apply that tip while importing almost 500,000 photos that I have.

  8. Maxi Claudio September 29, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

    With the Panasonic GH-1 and 2, it has two GREAT B&W settings. Dynamic B&W and SMOOTH. I have not found a way to match that look. So I can shoot B&W. Preview in my viewfinder in B&W and in the case I want to do color I have the RAW.

  9. Peter - Wedding Photographer October 3, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply


    I use Canon 1D cameras, and have done so for years. I shoot both RAW as well as JPGs, the way I get this is I split my RAW onto the CF card, and JPGs onto the SD card. This way on the night at a wedding, I can get some photos onto my iPad and show the couple what we shot (from JPGs).

    Also, when I import my photos to my external HDD, I bring both JPGs and RAW. This way once they are all in LR, I can then back up my JPGs to DVDs and keep my RAW to work on.

    Having someone’s wedding photos on 2 cards at time of shoot will also help should one card blow up, which has happened. But having 2 of RAW files will force me to have too many cards, so a back up in JPG is OK for me.



  10. daniel October 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I quickly realized this after moving to a camera that does both raw+jpeg (nex7). It is good to make the right decision as I am new to LR (I was on PSE for many years). However I am now grappling with whether to use the sony raw file or convert to adobes raw format (.dng i believe).

    • Laura Shoe October 9, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Hi Daniel, I don’t consider this proprietary raw vs. DNG a mission-critical decision. DNG has some advantages — the files are maybe 10% smaller, if you set your preferences to embed fast load data, they will load in the Develop module somewhat quicker, XMP info is stored in the file rather than as a sidecar, and a few other things, but there is nothing wrong with keeping them as Sony files. Some people don’t trust the conversion to carry over all info that may prove important somewhere down the line, and/or don’t like that imports take a lot longer if you choose to import, and therefore don’t convert.

      • Nathan Chilton June 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm - Reply

        My main cameras (Pentax DSLRs) shoot straight to DNG, so I don’t have to think about converting them later (or worry that the newest camera might not yet be supported).

        However, I also use a Samsung NX100 (mirrorless) which uses Samsung’s RAW format. I convert these to DNG, in order to have everything in the same format. I’ve heard the objection that converting to DNG on import takes extra time. Copying, importing, and building previews takes so much time, that I wouldn’t want to add to it.

        So, I DO convert my RAW files to DNG, but not on import. First I rate the photos and delete the rejects. Then, I wait until I am leaving my computer for the evening and tell Lightroom to convert all RAWs to DNGs while I’m sleeping (or otherwise away from my computer). It’s so easy to convert them later. I don’t know why anyone would waste time converting them on import.

        • Michele Kendzie August 22, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

          I convert to DNG upon import. I haven’t noticed any difference in the time it takes to import.

          My only issue has been making up my mind about whether to convert to DNG in the first place because I did worry about the possible loss of important information. I have read as much as I can find about it though and have decided to go choose DNGs.

  11. Laura Shoe October 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your comments on raw + JPEG, everyone — it is great to hear different perspectives.

    • Harry January 8, 2013 at 5:45 am - Reply

      Hello Laura: May I ask you a couple of very basic question about shooting in Raw please ? Does shooting in Raw mode render all camera adjustments at time of capture, ie ISO, Exposure Comp, WB, F stop, etc. moot? Will those adjustments made at time of capture be intrinsic to the jpeg image embedded within the raw file? Will images display any enhancement if shot in raw, then simply batch converted into jpeg format (without any pp adjustments)?

      • Laura Shoe January 17, 2013 at 10:37 am - Reply

        Hi Harry, sorry for the delay in responding. Shooting in raw does not render ISO, Exposure Comp, F-stop or Aperture mute, because these affect the capture itself. The white balance is tagged, meaning that when you import the raw file into LR, what you shot it at will come up in the Basic panel, but you can override it, and it will be as if you had shot it differently in camera. Settings that are in fact ignored when shooting in raw include color space, sharpening, contrast, noise reduction, and saturation. All of the settings are indeed baked into the embedded jpeg — which is why when you import, you may see the embedded jpeg flash up initially, but then see the image change as a preview from the raw file is rendered.

        • Keith Sutherland May 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm - Reply


          You state that Lightroom ignores the color space, sharpening, contrast, noise reduction, and saturation settings that are available in the embedded jpeg file that can be imported with a RAW file. It would seem obvious to me that this available information should be applied by Lightroom directly from the jpeg file. Instead, Lightroom makes you pick a camera profile for each camera setup.

          It appears that Microsoft’s Windows 10 photo viewer does apply the jpeg settings to the associated RAW files, because the two images look the same in that viewer. So it appears to be possible. But, since LR does not apply the available settings, my RAW images are always much duller than my jpgs, because I tend to keep vibrance and saturation up a couple ticks in my camera.

          To me, the main advantage of jpeg is that the images capture the settings I chose at the time I took the picture. With RAW, I have to re-create the ideas I had for the picture in post-processing, perhaps a long time after actually taking the shot. I would be much better pleased if LR applied the jpeg settings to the imported RAW image. Do you know why LR does not?

          • Laura Shoe May 19, 2016 at 3:09 pm

            Hi Keith,

            What you say in the first paragraph makes sense on the surface, but when we dig down deeper it just doesn’t work. There is no universal definition of “sharpening” or “sharpening=50”, much less contrast, noise reduction or saturation. Therefore Adobe would have to build an engine that would somehow detect from the embedded JPEG and then apply to the raw file these settings according to definitions for every single camera and firmware version out there. This would take away greatly from Adobe’s ability to offer us great quality editing tools.

            Windows Photo Viewer doesn’t apply the JPEG settings to the raw files, it is just showing you the embedded JPEG when you select the raw file. 😉

            My personal solution to the frustration over the JPEG and the raw file looking different and it being difficult to recreate the look of the JPEG with the raw file was to stop shooting raw+JPEG and just produce what looks best in post-processing. I also have all of those camera settings turned off and I don’t spend much time looking at the camera LCD screen, other than to check exposure. Another option if you don’t need the flexibility to do heavy editing, you nail your exposure and you set your white balance in-camera is to just shoot JPEG.

  12. WIlliam October 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    Your comment and point of view are interesting. I always take RAW+jpeg on my D3. I have to admit that I am not very good in adjusting colour etc using RAW. A few times, I tried to see whether my tweaking can beat the jpeg processor on my camera and after some 15 minutes of adjusting, I was disappointed with myself as my adjustment is nowhere comparable to what my camera can do.
    My workflow is first to ensure that my photos are properly exposed. This means that post processing is unnecessary or down to a minimum.
    Next, I just noticed not long ago that LR did not tag “Color Representation” to sRGB on the jpeg file produced even though this is ticked on the Export window. This render LR completely useless to me. This problem puzzled me for a long time because the printed photos from my colour lab was never anywhere close to what I see on my screen… the pictures always look very brown and like being too contrast.
    Unless LR fixed the non tagging of Color Representation (see using file properties on Windows), LR will continue to be of limited use to me for a lot of my photos.
    On the other hand, I think my jpeg processor is doing a decent job to more than 90% of my photos, I will continue to shoot in both RAW+jpeg. RAW is just my insurance … just in case!
    Having said all the above, LR is fantastic in processing my studio photos. It really speed up in areas where it is a pain-in-the-neck to correct in PS.

  13. Tony Prower December 14, 2012 at 5:31 am - Reply

    Brilliant article. Not many people know that every RAW file has a JPEG embedded you just need a software to extract it. Save your memory cards people!

    • Amy December 17, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Hi Tony…

      Can you explain the jpg embedded into every RAW file? I have all these jpg and RAW files that are filling up my external hd space. I do not have the means to go out and purchase more space at the moment.
      – If I back up my RAW files to a dvd, can I trash the jpg files since I don’t use them anyway? Is there a point to keeping the jpg files?
      – My LR catalogue is on my external hd. If I back up RAW files to a dvd, do I still need to keep the original copy of RAWs on the same hd as my catalogue?

      I am just trying to find the best way to use the external hd space that I currently have. I am afraid that I have possibly way too many files that are just taking up valuable space.

  14. David Jamieson February 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Brilliant post. I use a Nikon D7000 and boy do the Raw files take up some space, add a decent sized Jpeg to that and my PC goes into overload. No more messing around with files I never use. Thank you for showing me the way around it. I will also be inserting a 2nd card into my D700 which,when full will be yet another backup for my files.

  15. David Jamieson February 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    OOps, that should have read D7000…..sorry!

  16. Mark Treen February 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I like to shot RAW + JPEG right before I do a time lapse or stop motion shoot. For these two techniques I shoot in Jpeg medium size. This is about 2K. This gives me some room for cropping but keeps my computer from overly lagging when processing 7200 images for one 10 min movie. It’s a very fancy computer but that’s a lot of images for premiere pro to chug through.

    I edits the one RAW to give me a baseline for my thousands of Jpegs. I know I shouldn’t try sync adjustments, but it’s nice to see what’s capable in RAW before going over to jpeg

  17. David Lambroughton February 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    I shoot both JPegs and RAWs and have them appear side by side in LR. The JPegs, with the vivid and contrast settings I like, help me quickly identify the RAWs I want to work with and they give me something to compare my editing to. Later, I’ll delete everything that doesn’t make the final cut or appears in any collections. But every once in awhile, I’ll come across a RAW that I can’t seem to make look better than the JPeg and I’ll go ahead and use it in my annual Fly Fishing Dreams Calendar. But the better I get at editing, the less this happens.

    • Laura Shoe February 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment, David. Sounds like a good use of raw+JPEG. I’m happy to hear that the better you get at editing, the less it happens. Are you using camera profiles from the Camera Calibration panel?

  18. David Lambroughton March 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm - Reply


    Hello from New Zealand, my winter home away from British Columbia.

    Yes I use the camera calibration Panel for my Nikon D7000 /16-85 lens but there’s nothing yet in Lightroom for my new Fuji X E-1 which a bunch of my gang bought in Nov./Dec. and love. But it’s quite different to the Nikon Look.

    Anyway, I travel all over the world getting photos for my annual Fly Fishing Dreams Calendar and feeding my website: DavidLambroughton.Com. I also send out a fishing/photography newsletter twice a year to a few thousand people. Seems like tons of fly fishing enthusiasts love photography. In the next one I will be sure to mention your site as an utterly superb source of LR Info. I really appreciate your website! If there’s anyone in your life that likes Fly Fishing, I’d be happy to mail you/them my 2014 Calendar from Montana in July to say thanks for your ongoing info.

    Thank You Again,

    David L.

    • Laura Shoe March 2, 2013 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hi David, you may want to check out the Lightroom 4.4 release candidate on They have greatly improved the demosaic process for the Fuji X series. I don’t know if they have also developed camera profiles.

      I don’t think I know any fly fisherman, but nice work!!

  19. Matthias April 2, 2013 at 11:23 am - Reply

    People who use their iPad for sorting and rating photos
    tend to shoot RAW+JPG and only transfer JPG to the iPad
    as the iPad has limited space.
    RAW will be saved directly from the SD card to the PC.
    The metadata from the iPad’s JPGs also.

    • nathan August 19, 2013 at 8:13 am - Reply


      Since the iPad camera connection kit does not let the user choose to import soley the JPG half of the RAW+JPG combination, how are you doing this?

      I would LOVE to be able to just import my JPG images to the ipad — since editing RAW on the ipad is limited (possible, but slow and far fewer features than on a desktop or laptop), RAW takes up tons of room, etc.

      The only hack I have seen, is to use a wireless card, but they don’t have room for all the RAW files I want to keep while traveling, are slow and power hungry, and often don’t work well for me.

      • Laura Shoe August 24, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

        Hi Nathan, you could go with Mosaic, which would automatically sync your catalog to your iPad (with Lightroom’s JPEG previews).

  20. Gregory Dziedzic April 3, 2013 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    after years of shooting RAW only, I’ve taken the decision to switch to RAW+JPEG for the following reason. I have recently started to do freelance paid jobs where I have to produce a lot of volume (up to 1000 useable pics) within a week or so. Have done three of these jobs so far. Shooting on the average 500 pics a day while on the field. Even if I unload my pics everyday on my Macbook Air and scrap half of them, the question of the processing is still there. It happens that Lightroom 4 auto-toning is close to useless, and as I’m a freelancer, I’m loosing time and money processing the pics one by one after I come back from the assignment. Now I’m finishing processing the pics from my third assignment, with the flu, doing nothing else 4 hours a day for the third day in a row and realizing that sticking to this workflow would amount to irrational RAW fetishism. So here I am, googling for RAW+JPEG Lightroom workflows!
    Never again… 😛

    • Laura Shoe April 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Gregory. Just goes to show that there is no one “right” answer!

  21. HazelY April 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I shoot RAW+JPG as a) I like having a decent thumbnail when hunting through things on my desktop initially (I find it easier to look at the images and original file numbers than anything I have subseuently named them if I want to play with the original RAW for any reason) and b) when I am away, I take my not-quite new netbook with me and I cannot do a decent RAW conversion on there so having a JPEG file accessible means anything I really love more or less straight out of the camera can be shared on my blog or resized for Twitter or Google+ pretty much the same day.

  22. Seattle Brad April 18, 2013 at 5:50 am - Reply

    Hi Laura, I am shooting an event tonight on a 7D and I’m planning on shooting small raw at 4mp in case the exposure goes wonky and large jpg at 18mp in case I need to crop later for a long shot. I prefer to have LR treat them both as one file, but Lightroom only uses the lower resolution of the raw file, so if I need to crop, I have go out and use Photoshop on the jpg, which interrupts my workflow. Any tips apart from shooting large raw?

    • Laura Shoe April 18, 2013 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Hi Brad, there is no way to treat them as one file but get both in LR. I would go into Preferences and check “treat raw and jpegs as separate files”. (I personally would shoot large raw.)

  23. Elaine - Toronto Wedding Photographer April 18, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Thanks for this. I have been shooting raw & Jpeg for my last two weddings and for the life of me couldn’t figure out where the jpeg is/was when I imported to LR. Now I know!

    • Laura Shoe April 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Elaine!

  24. Chris May 7, 2013 at 9:44 am - Reply

    “If you are on a PC and can’t preview your raw files in Windows Explorer/My Computer and want to be able to, just like you can your JPEGS, you can install a plug-in from Microsoft that will allow you to do so” Thanks for this – it is just what I wanted and could not find.

  25. Marianna May 13, 2013 at 3:37 am - Reply

    I do both. I shoot in JPEG on monochrome mode with a 1×1 ratio, and these are images I can use right away, and the raws are a back up in case I decide I want a color shot or a different crop.

  26. Tom June 1, 2013 at 2:51 am - Reply

    A few cameras I have owned or used in recent years allow saving in RAW + JPG.

    I have noticed that JPG files in SONY NEX and Panasonic GF1 and Panasonic FZ18 produce something better than just more vibrant “looking” colour and sharper “looking” images out of the box. They also do a good job of correcting lens problems including barrel distortion and pincushioning issues.

    I have just bought a copy of LR4, moving on from PICASA and a very old copy of PSE and I had intended to shoot both RAW and JPG so that I could use the JPG as a ‘model’ or guide for where I am aiming to go when developing RAW images.

    Sometimes the lens correction produced by the JPG version are very subtle and I have chosen to use the JPG version because I could not reproduce any lens correction in PICASA and the version of PSE I have does not appear to support RAW files from newer cameras.

    So I bit the bullet and decided to spend a little more money on LR4 in the hope of achieving better quality images.

    I have just started to install it this morning so I have not tried any RAW conversions so far.

    Having read your article I am tempted to only shoot RAW and take more care when editing.

    Let’s see how things go.

    Thanks for the article.

    I will be back to read more.


    • Laura Shoe June 1, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

      Thanks for the note, Tom. You certainly could continue to shoot raw+JPEG for the comparison you state, but I personally just found that frustrating. You will find excellent lens correction, sharpening, and vibrance and saturation controls in Lightroom. You also will find camera profiles in the Camera Calibration tab that mimic settings in your camera, in case you feel those give you a better starting place.

  27. Xavier June 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    I always record RAW + medium- to low-quality JPG on my K-5. I find it much faster to review the pictures in small JPG files, and throw away the bad ones. Loading a 2MB JPG is instant, while it can take up to a few seconds to read, load and convert a 20MB RAW for display. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you have to review hundreds of pictures it is crucial to go through them very quickly and not to loose time loading and converting large files.

  28. scott June 25, 2013 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Thank you – just bought a cannon 7d and your simple raw+jpg insight made my decision to go RAW only. New to Lightroom as well it simply makes sense. For years on my 20d I had those pesky jpg files hanging around and never used them. Cheers from NYC!

    • Laura Shoe June 25, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Scott!

  29. Chris June 29, 2013 at 1:13 am - Reply

    Thanks for the article – it has helped my decision to stop shooting jpg.

    I started shooting RAW alongside jpg when I got a camera capable of holding big enough cards (Olympus EM-5). This was a step forward as I am a scuba diver and many of my shots are underwater – most of the specialist underwater photography sites strongly recomend RAW for improved control over white balance.

    I kept shooting jpg alongside RAW so that I could transfer photos to my iPAD while travelling, to give me a back-up and to begin filtering the good from the not-so. A while back I also began to use Photosmith 2 on my iPad, which was a nearly-brilliant iPad app that can render RAW images. Unfortunately it had some stability issues, so I never quite felt comfortable to loose the jpgs.

    Photosmith 3 has just come out, which seems to have fixed most of the stability issues, and is now a really-nearly-brilliant app for pre-viewing and rating photos prior to uploading to Lightroom (can also be used to synchronise existing collections for scoring, tagging etc). The only problem area I’ve found so far with V3 is that it doesn’t always seem to synchronise RAW + jpg pairs properly.

    This is what starting me thinking again about whether it is time to ditch the jpgs, then Google brought me to this article.
    Which is where I came in…

    Thanks again for such well articulated information – I’ve book-marked the sight and I’m sure I’ll be back!

  30. Ronak July 7, 2013 at 7:46 am - Reply


    I am Ronak from India, I have Nikon d7100 can u suggest me, how to capture raw file direct pc which software we use than possible it, right now we install Nikon camera control pro but there are shoot option is hidden plz suggest me which software we use than possible it

    Ronak N. shukla

    • Laura Shoe July 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Ronak, Lightroom allows you to shoot tethered. I am not sure if the d7100 is supported though. I would try one of the forums ( or the Adobe forum).

  31. Marco July 10, 2013 at 2:25 am - Reply

    hi laura,

    i absolutely agree with you BUT I am so happy that i chose raw + jpg for my first holiday shoots using raw/lightroom -> I didn’t use the newest Nikon-transfer version on my laptop on which I used to save the files (and another copy on a second external storage) -> during the import, the .nef-files (Nikon 7100) have unfortunately been damaged.

    Maybe this info will help some people avoid the same mistake.

    Now I know the problem and it will not happen again (hopefully) – so I will take my pictures only in raw in future… (or as you mentioned for fast mail-exchange in jpg. but in this case i will only use small/basic-files)


  32. Keith July 15, 2013 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I now only shoot raw. Then process in lightroom. But I have a question these days. Should I keep my exported jpeg files? After published to Flickr, stored them in original folder with raw? Delete them?
    Any suggestion? Thanks!

    • Laura Shoe July 18, 2013 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Hi Keith, I personally rarely keep JPEG copies — I export, send them off, and then delete them. If I need them again, I just create them again. I’m sure that some users want to keep them as documentation of what they sent (even though the History panel in the Develop module has a step for the export). If so, if the output was for a particular shoot, I personally would put them in a subfolder of the shoot, and not have them in LR.

  33. David July 19, 2013 at 1:49 am - Reply

    I have been shooting RAW+JPG for a while now. I process all the RAW (at least the good ones) and export them to JPG with watermark or not for uploading to social media sites, or sending/giving to people that I may have taken the photos for. I for some insane reason keep every photo I have ever taken in both formats, using an enormous amount of hard drive space.

    Last year on vacation I took about 2500 photos in a little under a week, but I had my laptop with me so I could upload all photos from the day that night and actually did some editing in my hotel room.

    This year I’m going on a cruise for vacation and will not be bringing a laptop, so I’m thinking of just shooting RAW only to conserve space so I don’t run out of memory card space, as I can’t transfer to computer until after entire week long vacation is over.
    I found this forum while searching for what other people think about using RAW only instead of RAW+JPG, certainly I will not be going to Alaska anytime again soon, so I want to make sure I have all options available to me for the photos I take.
    I’ve rarely used the JPG files that are taken, I have a few times sent them out as proofs when I have done some photography for someone, but I always take the time to look at all RAW photos in Lightroom and if the photo has some value I process it, so I don’t think I will miss the JPG, I did like having them so when searching for specific photos I could look in the directory and see the thumbnails, but I will download the Microsoft raw camera codec pack, and that issue is solved.

    I will probably go with RAW only, that should give me a fair amount of room for photos.

    Thanks for bringing up this discussion, it was interesting to hear everyone’s opinion and see how other handle their files.
    does anybody else have Terrabytes of photos like me of which probably 75-80% are just not viable photos. hahaha

  34. Irwin lakin July 30, 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Laura,just read your article on Raw vs jpeg mode and concurr with your tips on shooting RAW only. I just started shooting Raw a few months ago with jpeg on my canon t4i and they do take up alot of hard drive space. I”m just downloading 1096 files(raw-jpeg) and it takes more work to do so & move them to their proper folders. But i have not started using the developing module in lr5 ,only the quick developing module so i am not confident in my post processing skills of raw images. If after developing many raw images and become skilled at it ,then i will probably switch to taking RAW images only. But even after using the quick developing module in LR5 with some Raw images, I seem to be able make the images pop out over the jpeg ones. Great info!!

    • Laura Shoe August 1, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Irwin. If you don’t have it, you might benefit from my Lightroom 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond course, which will teach you all about developing (as well as about managing your photos). Great to hear that just with Quick Develop you are getting results better than the JPEGs!

      • irwin lakin August 1, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

        Laura, today i went out and took a few shots and just used the RAW setting. Am i correct in assuming after finishing editing a raw file(s) that they can be exported in jpeg to the particular hard disk folder etc. A ?: i tried to e-mail a photo set up the necessary presets then hit send message and filled out the needed info on the e-mail form and then hit send. But i got an error message that it could not be sent because it could not be found on disk #1.. How can i correct this laura?

  35. Kristal Walsh August 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura, I have recently become more active in my local photography club where I was encouraged to start shooting RAW and also heard about Lightroom. I found your article only after having imported and flagged my favorites of almost 1000 vacation photos (without “checking the box”). I have found that previewing and zooming in and out is taking a toll on my PC and is much quicker to view the jpgs. I really want to get these out to my family and friends quickly and realize I should have just rifled through the jpgs for posting on FB and emailing, etc. Is there a way to apply my ratings to my jpgs that are currently sitting on my hard drive but cannot be viewed in LR? I look forward to working on the RAW images in post but only want to spend that much time on the best ones for now. Thank you, Kristal

    • Laura Shoe August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Kristal, as far as zooming in taking its toll, if you select all your photos (Ctl/Cmd-A) and then go to Library>Previews>Build 1:1 Previews, Lightroom will build all the previews you need. This will take a bit of time, but once this is done, moving from photo to photo and zooming will be very quick. Otherwise if you want your original JPEGs, do an Import, choosing Add in the top center in the Import dialog so that they are added to the Lightroom catalog without copying or moving the files. You would then do a sync of the metadata, but you would have to do it photo by photo. I could tell you how to do this, but I suspect that simply building the previews will be more appealing.

  36. Tiberman Sajiwan Ramyead August 20, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply

    LAURA – Will Microsoft Camera Codec Pack (16.4.1970.0624) support Nikon D7000’s RAW (NEF) – I have checked and the list includes D70s – is that it? Just to avoid me downloading unnecessarily and then having to uninstall; I avoid such operations. But I see your point in shooting RAW only. I am still grasping videos 04 and 05. Jesus! Now I am beginning to realise their importance.

    • Laura Shoe August 24, 2013 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Hi Tiberman, I unfortunately don’t know.

    • MJ Klein September 19, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

      yes. i’m using it. but note that it will only display thumbnails in explorer, and only will display full sized in windows gallery if you start viewing a jpeg first. you cannot click and open a RAW file in windows gallery for some reason.

      • Laura Shoe September 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply

        You’ll then need to download a plug-in from Microsoft, MJ.

        • MJ Klein September 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm - Reply

          Laura, the behavior that i described is exactly how Windows Vista reacts to Nikon .nef files with the codec installed.

  37. JJG August 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Okay, this article And especially comments have been extremely helpful. Let me ask this out there, when shooting both raw and jpeg, which setting do you use, basic of fine?

    • Laura Shoe August 24, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

      It depends on what you plan to use the JPEGs for, JJG. If they are just for quick comparisons to the raw file or emailing, Basic would be ok. For best quality, choose Fine.

  38. Ron West August 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I make audio visual slide shows and my workflow means that I need to save my images as Photoshop files (psd) and also as jpegs.
    (have separate sub folders for both original psd files and another for downsized jpeg files for my slide shows)

    I shoot only in RAW and save these to an external hard drive for importing into Lightroom.
    After processing the Raw file in LR, how do I export them as psd files to the appropriate folder, where I can then resize and save as jpegs in the jpeg sub folder?


    • Laura Shoe September 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Ron, I’m not sure how I missed this question, but my apologies. You can save copies in both file types using the Export dialog – under File Settings \ Image Formats.

  39. MJ Klein September 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    i only shoot RAW+jpg when i have to show the photos to someone right away, using my Toshiba Thrive tablet with full-sized SD card. otherwise, it’s all RAW.

  40. Kay Wood December 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    I have recently purchased a Canon 6D and see that it has a raw converter in its menu. I have used this to convert from Raw to jpg but am told that it would be better to use Lightroom (I have lightroom 5 but am taking a while to come to terms with Lightroom. Would it be better to convert Raw to jpg in Lightroom 5?

    • Laura Shoe January 4, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Hi Kay,

      Once you convert from raw to JPEG, you lose editing flexibility — so if you convert right away in-camera, you lose the benefit of shooting in raw. I would instead import your raw files into Lightroom, edit them, and then as you need to share photos with folks, export JPEG copies.

  41. Jim D January 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    RAW + JPG or RAW only: Although Camera Codex for Windows 8.1 was listed on the Microsoft website and downloaded ok, it would not install on my computer running Win8.1. So I still need the jpg.

    However, Lightroom 5.3 has a selection for loading only the RAW file and treating a JPG with the same name as a duplicate and not loading it. That may solve the problems of those who take RAW + JPG, but don’t want to import the jpg into LR.

    Meanwhile, I will stick with RAW+JPG for shots I want to print and JPG only for those not intended for printing (such as documentation work photographing tombstones to add to findagrave).

  42. Rickey Green February 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Hi I have Lightroom 3. I pull my raw files from a folder on my hard drive, When I have finished processing most of the time I will export back to the folder I imported from. I have noticed lately that my raw file is no longer there. How do I get my raw file back to the folder.

    • Laura Shoe March 5, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Rickey,

      I’m not sure I understand, but the Folders panel in the Library module shows you where your original photos are. If you don’t see your folder hierarchy there, right-click on a folder and choose Show Parent Folder. Right-click on this parent and show its parent. Continue this until you see your whole hierarchy. You can also right-click on a photo and choose Show in Explorer/Finder. This will open up Windows Explorer or Mac Finder and show you the selected photo.

  43. May 6, 2014 at 7:04 am - Reply

    I quickly realized this after moving to a camera that does both raw+jpeg (nex7). It is good to make the right decision as I am new to LR (I was on PSE for many years). However I am now grappling with whether to use the sony raw file or convert to adobes raw format (.dng i believe).

    • Laura Shoe May 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      To me this isn’t a mission critical decision, B. For most camera files, DNG’s tend to be about 10% smaller, they will load a little bit faster in the Develop module, and at any time in Lightroom you can verify that there is no corruption in the files (i.e. validate them). On the other hand, if you convert when you import, expect your imports to take substantially longer.

      In my Fundamentals & Beyond video series, you’ll find one video dedicated to the pros and cons of converting, and another video covering all the how-to’s of converting and managing DNGs.

  44. Sam Green June 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Most obvious reason to shoot both: jpegs are smaller, so for culling it’s much easier and more economical on laptop disk space to use jpegs. After you pick the winners, you can import matching raw files for the detailed developing. (For many purposes, the jpegs are good enough, and you don’t need the raws.)

    So, you can keep your complete library in 1/3 of the space, and still have the raws off-line for when you need them.

    Aperture has a feature to “import matching raws”, but I haven’t found anything similar for LR, now that aperture is being discontinued. Any ideas?

  45. Dr_Jon July 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    One thing that can make Raw+JPEG a better idea is a lot of cameras do the in-camera review with the JPEG (rather than processing the Raw file), and if they don’t have a separate one they will use the one embedded in the Raw file, which is usually a lot more compressed than a separate one.

  46. gmo July 15, 2014 at 8:01 am - Reply

    So Question …

    If the Lr preference to “Treat JPEGs as separate images” is not selected prior to RAW+JPEG import, is there a way to view and manipulate the JPEGs that are part of the Raw sidecar? Or do you have to re-Import with the Preference checkbox selected? If so, how?


    • Laura Shoe July 15, 2014 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Hi gmo, yes – uncheck the preference and do an import of the same folder of photos. Lightroom will import everything not yet in Lightroom — i.e. the JPEGs.

      • gmo July 15, 2014 at 10:32 am - Reply

        Got it !

        Thanks !!

  47. Angela Boone July 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I used to shoot just RAW but I now shoot RAW+jpg and here is why. For most of my shoots, the .jpgs turn out great and I prefer to work on them starting with the base of work done (although I will change my camera profiles and see if that helps). I was getting tired of spending so much time getting RAWs fixed up (even with presets) and just liked how the .jpgs looked (I shoot a lot of pets). Plus, the RAW files were taking up huge amounts of space on my hard drive and I have a hard time throwing files away. But yet, I like the idea of having the RAW files in case a file needs a lot of work or I missed the mark on exposure or something. So I look at the files on my card, and if the .jpgs were good, I only copy those to my hard drive and I delete the RAW files. If it’s a really important shoot, I put the RAW files into a file folder called “RAW files” in the event folder, just so they are there, but I don’t import them into LR.

    This is how I do it right now, but maybe I will go back to RAW at some point… this is just working well for me at this moment.

    • Laura Shoe July 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Sounds like a good reason for you, Angela – thanks for sharing.

  48. Mietto September 11, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I believe shooting RAW+JPEG to be the best option for enthusiasts photographers like me, and I’ll try to state my reasons here with an example:

    Earlier this year, I went to Disney World with my girlfriend and got something around 700 shots with a 16MP camera (16MB DNGs and 3MB jpegs, more or less)

    Among those shots, I selected around 50 keepers and post-processed the get the best out of them.

    If I discard those 650 unused RAWs, that’d be around 10GB of HD space…..I know storage is really cheap today, but anyway, why would I keep 10GB of files that’ll never be used??

    So, after that, I don’t believe I need to keep all the 700 RAWs, but I do want to keep the JPEGs as keepsakes since there’re many places on my trip that I wasn’t able to get a beautiful shot worth of post-proc or publishing.

    If I were to shoot only RAWs, I’d have to do at least a basic post-proc on every 700 shots and export all of them afterwards…..shooting RAW+JPEG saves me this work.

    • Laura Shoe September 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Sounds like a good reason for you, Mietto! Thanks much for sharing it – I like how my provocative title (Why Most of Us Shouldn’t) has led to folks contributing some good examples of where it makes sense.

  49. Michael November 6, 2014 at 6:48 am - Reply

    this is very old question, but nevertheless..why shoot RAW if Lightroom is the only PP software I own?
    Especially for someone who do not own Photoshop, just LR. As I know it, LR in Raw only gives more WB flexibility. Maybe I am missing something?

    • Laura Shoe November 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      It also gives you more flexibility in recovering highlight and shadow detail, applying lens corrections, noise reduction, and probably more, Michael. Raw files are also 16 bit (or 12 or 14), which gives you more editing headroom generally. (Read more about 8 vs. 16 bit here.) I’d definitely shooting in raw.

      • Michalel November 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm - Reply

        Thank you Laura.
        I shot quite a few Raw during my recent OBX outing when most of the time light was very low, but did not notice much difference. Will look again now.

      • Dr_Jon November 12, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

        For other examples of using Lightroom Tony Northrup does regular videos looking at images sent in by people who have bought his book. He and his other half usually have a go at improving them and they always work in Lightroom. It’s not instructional at all, but an example of the sort of things you can do in Lightroom and I think you’d find it interesting in deciding if Lightroom might be for you. The most recent one is:
        About 20:30 on…

  50. Glen March 9, 2015 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Just saw this and haven’t read the whole thread so SIAP but if you are a Nikon shooter and don’t want to export from LR you can extract a JPEG from
    Per Thom Hogan …………. Nikon stores a JPEG basic Large image in every raw file.

  51. Bill Barr March 15, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

    I have a nikon D7000 and shoot in RAW and JPG. I left the camera set to monochrome by mistake and shot some pictures. Can I recover the color pic from the RAW?

    • Laura Shoe April 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      For most cameras, Bill, the raw automatically comes into Lightroom in color. If not, click on the Reset button in the bottom right in the Develop module.

  52. Moon Uchiha April 8, 2015 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Hi laura,
    I really need your help. I cannot open photos in raw file in my PC. Currently, I own Canon 1200d and I do not see this model in “plug-in from microsoft” list. Have any other software that support my 1200d???
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Laura Shoe April 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      I would just import them into Lightroom, Moon. I believe Lightroom 5.7 supports this camera.

  53. Graham Dixon April 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    I have shot RAW only for a few years but I am about to start with RAW + lowest quality jpgs. I have a small cheap laptop that really struggles with the large RAW files. I use this when flying. I have just bought Lightroom and put it on the low powered laptop. My aim is to make delete decision looking at the jpgs. I intend to experiment with copying adjustments from the jpg to the RAW files. Further edits will be done when I get home on a powerful unit.

  54. Ezra April 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Glad I found this article, I have found using LR5 post processing RAW and JPEG files is just too much work! I have decided to use RAW (Small) and just export the RAW pics I want to keep as a JPEG

  55. Lutz Braum June 8, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    I shoot RAW+JPEG because in Aperture, one can easily import only the JPEGs, review and delete the unwanted pictures, and then import a matching set of the RAW files for whatever pictures I want to keep. This is especially useful when I shoot hundreds of pictures, because the first import is super fast, and if I decide to only keep 10 pictures, the subsequent RAW import is also fast. Is there a way to do that in LR? I’m new to LR, and am amazed how long it takes to import a large number of pictures of RAW images. Thanks in advance!

  56. Rex June 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Try using RAW files with an Eye-Fi card to view pictures on your mobile device, and you will be in pain.

    I shoot one card RAW, and on the Eye-Fi in slot #2, I shoot JPG Basic to keep the file size as small as possible. Despite being highly-compressed, the JPG’s are perfectly fine to admire until I fire up Lightroom which may be a week later.

    Not to mention, at times, I actually prefer Nikon’s version of the photo. Lightroom does not import all of the picture controls, D-lighting, and so forth, and sometimes (though not often I will concede), the best shot is the one I get out of the can, and no amount of post-proc in Lightroom gets me an equally good shot.

    Close, yes, very close, yes, ridiculously close, yes.

    Exact, no.

  57. Rex June 15, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Just out of curiosity, why did my comment get disapproved? I’m a semi-known blogger who has for years been arguing against providing free content to blogs, because the content is not appreciated and is treated with contempt and entitlement.

    Then, for the first time in, oh I dunno, 5 years, I took time out of my day to provide my own perspective, in a completely non-offensive way to the best of my knowledge, and lo and behold, poof, it’s gone.

    Of course, it’s your blog, and you can approve/disapprove whatever you want, but it’s incredibly disrespectful to dispense with a commenters time as if it has no value at all. There is a good-faith, unwritten etiquette that if something is non-offensive and on-topic, it will be allowed to be displayed.

    Not everyone abides by this, of course, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb, unless disrespecting readers is simply not a concern.

    Anyway, my two cents, and no, I don’t expect this one to be published.

    • Laura Shoe June 15, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Rex,

      Your comment did not get deleted. I do the best I can in getting to moderating comments, but can’t do so immediately.

      Thank you for commenting.

  58. Lev Akhsanov June 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    I was having (still are) problems with my Canon 7D – noise starting at ISO 200 and a very ‘processed’ look of the photos. Canon’s guy at PhotoPlus Expo suggested NOT to use RAW and use jpegs instead, because ‘Canon’s camera native software is better than PS and LR’. I’ve tried all combinations of the camera’s settings, did not see any improvement, but somehow still take both when I have to use 7D as a back up. On 5D I take RAW only.

    • Laura Shoe July 17, 2015 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      That’s a terrible answer from the Canon rep, in my opinion, Lev! If that is the only answer, I would be inclined to just sell the camera. JPEGs bake in your white balance choice, as well as all the other settings, and among other things, don’t give you the ability to recover blown out highlights. I don’t have any experience with the 7D, but you could instead try using Canon’s raw processing software and compare it to Lightroom.

      As far as a “very processed look”, try different profiles down in the Camera Calibration panel in the bottom right of the Develop modules – the non-Adobe ones mimic in-camera settings.

  59. Gary August 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Laura – this topic is right up my alley. Sorry for long post and multiple questions but they are all tied to the topic at hand (and yes….I read al of your links and great articles on this).

    I am currently shooting in RAW+JPEG mode. I do this so I can quickly move JPEG “keeps” to Blurb/Smug Mug (family trip shots, etc.) and retain the RAW files (usually scenes, wildlife etc.) for editing and printing large locally. After import I cull through, select rejects, delete the bunch and then re-name the lot and go. I have recently converted over to Lightroom from Capture NX2 (discontinued) and having some natural growing pains. A few questions:

    – Picks, flagging and star rating – as well documented there is no communication between the files in RAW+JPEG mode even with Edit-Preferences-Image Options set to show one file. When I elected the other method to show RAW with JPEGs side-by-side, and then “stack” (as you suggested) with zero time between pictures this does not work for fast frame rates (the a6000 goes up to 11 fps)as the rate is too fast so 4-6 photos are stacked (different files…not good). Any work around here I am missing? I don’t see any way to stack by file “name” which would be a super easy fix (is Adobe listening).
    – What is the purpose of the sidecar import view if showing just the RAW file (box in Preferences unchecked). I did read that the JPEG is there on the computer but just not in Lightroom? Is this useful for some reason? Again – I use the JPEGs for the Smug Mug plugin and Blurb books inside Lightroom so I guess I would need to import. Still does not solve the issue in #1 above.
    – As you have suggested and due to #1 above I tried culling through just the RAW files and selected picks, etc. before doing a JPEG Export. The problem with this method is that all Camera Profiles (as I set in the camera) are lost as the RAW file isn’t tied to the JPEG at conversion and going back manually to each photo would be a little crazy and waste of major time. So if I come back from a trip where I used a few Camera Profiles for different scenes/subjects everything is ignored. I see no answer.

    Am I missing something here? What is the best practice for my needs and workflow? Thanks!

    • Laura Shoe August 22, 2015 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Gary,

      There is no stacking workaround that I am aware of, and even stacked, flagging one won’t flag the other. You could select both files in grid view as you flag or star, so that both are affected. (In Loupe view only the active photo is affected.)

      The sidecar option ties the two together so that if you delete the raw file in Lightroom, the JPEG on your computer will also be deleted.

      On the raw files, you can set camera profile in the Camera Calibration panel in the Develop module, to mimic in-camera settings.

      All that said, I am not aware of a workflow in Lightroom that is going to give you what you are looking for, automatically syncing between the raw and JPEG.

      • Gary August 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

        Laura – thanks for the follow up. I was thinking I would be disappointed on all fronts…and I was. Adobe must reach out to a select group of professionals (like yourself) so if they do this seems like a worthwhile addition to future software updates. Two specific suggestions would resolve:
        – Stacking by file name
        – Once stacked the picks, rejects and flags flow through the stack

        Not sure of any negatives with the above – and this would greatly support JPEG/RAW shooters.

        • Laura Shoe August 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

          I agree these would be useful, Gary. I’d also like to see a preference next to the current raw+JPEG one to stack the raw & JPEG automatically.

      • Mike June 18, 2016 at 11:35 am - Reply

        re: Stacking JPEG/RAW — I wish Adobe would make this an Automatic thing ( the JPEGs & RAWs) e.g. auto-stacking by base name.

        Select All > Photo > Stacking > Auto > Auto-stack by exposure time > set Time between Stack to 0:00:01 or 0:00:02 not zero, (Unless you’re doing lots of sequences)

        [I used 0:00:02 (vs. :01 or zero) because I had some auto bracketed photo sequences]

  60. burnsy August 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I work in photoshop using the raw file, when done I save as a jpeg and in process I replace the current jpeg. , I didnt notice that the image size on the raw is way smaller then the jpeg. So I made all my big pictures into little 12″x9″ is there anyway I can revert them back?

    thanks jon

    • Laura Shoe August 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Burnsy,

      The only way the JPEG could be larger than the raw is if you enlarged the JPEG while working on it in Photoshop (or if the raw files you are looking at are DNG files that you exported from Lightroom with lossy compression and resizing, but I don’t imagine you did this). Raw files are as you shot them. Be sure that when you are comparing file sizes that you are looking at the number of pixels they contain – this is their true size. When in Loupe view in Lightroom you can type “I” once or twice to see pixel dimensions. (Type I again to hide the information.)

      • Dr_Jon August 31, 2015 at 12:25 am - Reply

        I assume burnsey has simply set the image size too small, so would need to re-process all the Raw files setting the size to the camera resolution. It is possible they have just set a large dpi measurement (dots/pixels per inch) so the files are okay but it thinks they are 12″ wide. That is an even easier fix as you just need to change the dpi setting in the JPEGs setting without any other changes (I’d have to look but that may well be possible without having to load/save and so recompress the file).

        If the JPEG files are too small in pixels (i.e. not the resolution of the camera) then the settings sidecar file should be there so provided they didn’t do a lot of work on them in Photoshop they’ll be fine just to reprocess with the higher x and y settings.

        If the pixel x and y dimensions are fine then the dpi just needs to be changed.

        If for some reason they had a smaller resolution Raw file than the JPEGs then they need to look at their backups or to use file recovery software (e.g. recurva, which is free) on their memory card.

  61. Fred Fedak September 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Just letting you know that the RAW file viewer plug-in you mentioned at the top of the post is only compatible with up to Windows Vista Sp2.
    By chance do you, or any reader know if a later version has been made available?

    • Laura Shoe September 3, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      I unfortunately don’t know, Fred. I am no longer a Windows user, but I would hope that newer versions of Windows preview raw files without having to install a plug-in.

      • Fred Fedak September 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

        Thank you Laura. Since your statement makes perfect sense I just checked it out again and found that the windows built in photo viewer does in fact display my raw files. Since the right-click context menu does not list “Preview” on a RAW file, but only “Open” I made the erroneous assumption that clicking would open the file in PS etc. Instead it presents a full screen view of the file and allows clicking right or left through the entire folder the the file is located in.
        I learned something new today.

        • Laura Shoe September 10, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

          You’re welcome, Fred. I’m happy to hear that Microsoft is finally building this functionality into Windows.

  62. Robins3 September 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    So what if I have already imported all of my images – both RAW and JPG to Photoshop Elements? Can I sort and separate them there? or should I just delete them all and start over?
    Thank you, This is very helpful, I only wish I would have read it before I imported because I immediately see what you’re saying.

    • Laura Shoe October 1, 2015 at 11:26 am - Reply

      I’m not an Elements user, Robins3, but I would bet you can sort and separate them there.

  63. Jorge Salum September 24, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

    I use both raw and jpgs, but recently I am having a problem because lightroom does not show me which one is the jpg and which one de raw one .. i see two pictures of the same click but not the extensions, jpg, dng .. what could be happening Laura ? your help will be greatly appreciatted

    • Laura Shoe October 1, 2015 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Jorge, if you see information above your thumbnails in grid view, click inside the file name, and choose File Name, rather than File Base Name (or, leave file base name, but click inside one of the other 3 pieces of information and choose to display File Extension.)

      If you don’t see any information above your thumbnails, type J once or twice to display it.

  64. Gado GAdo October 12, 2015 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    FILE SIZE !!!

    Im sruprised it wasnt mentioned in the post ;).
    Differece between RAW file and small JpEG is about 4 times !! for Non profesional photos, weekend trips and a great number of similar situations, having a small jpg, which needs no post processing. not only saves time but disk space. Which over time adds up making backups and file handling more complex.

    I prefer having the option to have small jpgs for most of the photos, and full RAW for the real keepers .
    thought I’d share.

    amazing blog !!, keep up the posts 😉

    • Gado GAdo October 12, 2015 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      scratch *most of the photos. to about one third more or less

  65. Añadir metadatos a Raw y JPG simultáneamente en Lightroom ¿imposible? - Instantes October 31, 2015 at 5:39 am - Reply

    […] Una de las ventajas que los usuarios de la serie X de Fujifilm esgrimen es la calidad de los archivos JPG  obtenidos directamente de la cámara. Si a esto unimos la simulación de película que incluyen (Astia, Velvia, Classic Chrome…), la idea de disparar simultáneamente Raw y JPG no es tan descabellada. […]

  66. marianne November 3, 2015 at 8:03 am - Reply

    I have been using an EyFi mobi pro card and I like to have the jpegs sent directly to my phone and then I have the raw file to work on in LIGHtroom. I havent figured out how I want to import them yet though.

  67. Barry Studd December 23, 2015 at 12:27 am - Reply

    The jpegs are so good from my XT1 I don’t bother shooting in raw.

  68. Arne Skaanes January 2, 2016 at 10:45 am - Reply

    I had a few of photosessions where my camera was in RAW + jpg mode.
    I later converted my raw-files to .dng, but the .jpg-files are still there. I would like to just like to delete the .jpeg-files, but I am not sure if I can do that without reimporting all the pictures in the the directory.

    I have converted all my raw-files to dig (I am not sure if that is a good idea), but some the .xmp-files are still there. Are there any way to display what is included in the .dng-files so I can be shure that my mods are in the .dng-s?


  69. Liz January 2, 2016 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Hi Laura, The more I use Lightroom the more I love it, thanks for all your tuition.
    I have. Nikon D7000 and only shoot in raw on that, but we recentley purchased an Olympus OMD1 mirrorless camera and have that set to raw and fine jpeg as I can transfere the jpegs through WiFi to my iPad and send them to friends while travelling, then Delete them on the computer.
    I am part of a seniors photography group so we share knowledge.
    One member enhances his raw photos then turns them into jpegs and deletes the raw file. I see his reasoning that they take up so much space on his external drive but I am not sure you should ever get rid of the raw file. What are your thoughts please ?
    Also re window 10, I have windows seven, tried a free upgrade to 10 and found I couldnt play videos I took in Lightroom so reverted but seven is very slow. Is there a driver missing or something in the free version ?
    Many thanks.

    • David March 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Use Videolan VLC to play the videos outside of Lightroom.
      Videos inside Lightroom ‘taken’ in Lightroom?
      Lightroom only plays what you have imported.
      Quicktime installation on your computer should resolve playing Videos inside Lightroom (i.e the videos imported into Lightroom).
      It’s OK to go back to 10.
      My Lightroom works fine (- Lightroom 5.7.1/Camera Raw 8.7.1)

      Hope this helps.

      • Liz March 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm - Reply

        David sorry, videos taken on my D 7000 and the olympus won play in Lightroom CC with Windows 10 I ment, work fine with Windows 7. Believe they may still be improving the free version of windows 10.
        Hadnt heard of Videolan but will check it out.
        Guess its available in Australia.

        • David March 11, 2016 at 1:54 pm - Reply

          Videolan (VLC) is a downloadable free software download and is very widely used across media platforms for playing a multitude of media files, including music files and most video formats.

          Have you Quicktime installed on your computer?
          I seem to remember reading that Lightroom is sometimes ‘happier’ using this for playing videos inside Lightroom. However I can’t vouch for this in Lightroom CC.


  70. Barry V February 6, 2016 at 8:50 am - Reply

    I haven’t read all the comments so I’m not sure if this has been brought up. In some cameras, notably the Fuji X series, shooting RAW only limits your ability to zoom into the image during playback on the rear LCD screen to check for critical focus and the like. This is because when shooting RAW only the camera uses the small embedded JPEG for playback but if you shoot RAW plus a large Fine JPEG then the camera uses the large JPEG and because the image is larger it gives you the ability to zoom in more.

    • Laura Shoe February 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      I didn’t know that Barry – thanks for bringing it up.

  71. Nancy May 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot! Extremely helpful and useful! I was wondering which solution was better and from now on I’ll go only with RAW format 😉

  72. Roland May 21, 2016 at 4:36 am - Reply

    I imported always raw and jpeg with the box checked: JPEG files next to raw files ARE treated as separate photos.
    In the future I want to import only the raw files. So I will uncheck the box.
    But what happens with the previous imports?
    Thank you!

    • Laura Shoe May 23, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Nothing happens to previous imports, Roland. You’ll need to delete the JPEGs manually. Select a folder of photos, then in the sort order option in the tool bar below the grid, sort by file type so that the JPEGs are easy to select and delete. Or, if you know how to use the Library Filter bar, filter on file type to isolate the JPEGs.

  73. Chris May 23, 2016 at 8:34 am - Reply

    As a Fuji X shooter, I have the same issue as Barry does @ comment #70. I’m new to Lr. I’d like to shoot RAW + Fine JPEG but am only interested in importing the RAW files into Lr. How would I go about doing this?

    (As someone new to Lr I’m very happy to have discovered your site)

    • Laura Shoe May 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      You can uncheck the “Treat raw files and JPEGs as separate files” in Preferences, Chris. Note though that the JPEGs will still be copied off the memory card onto your hard drive, just not imported into Lightroom. If you don’t want them copied over, either check the box in Preferences so they are treated separately and then in the Import dialog uncheck all the JPEGs to not copy and import them, or before import, outside of Lightroom, copy your photos from your memory card to a folder on your hard drive and delete the JPEGs, then import what’s left (the raw files) into Lightroom.

  74. Liz June 25, 2016 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    I shoot raw and jpeg on my Ilympus mirrorless as I can wi fi transfere the jpegs to my iPad for showing and sending. Just found instead of seperate files the DNG had a sidecar file, I prefer to delete my jpegs after thet are downloaded into LR as I dont need them and thanks to your blogs found the explanation I need to seperate them. Also found how to find my Library filter at the top.
    Love your tutorials, clear and concise, many thanks, Im in a seniors photography group and need to help where I can. Great Stuff


  75. Niki Gleoudi August 11, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I shoot on a Sony alpha around 1000 and more images per week. I prefer to use both RAW and JPEG in order to save space. I might only really like and need as RAW a few so I am labeling, keywording, etc (not really developing) the JPEG files and then MANUALLY deleting the RAW files that are not the best ones. I want to keep only these few RAW (around 2%) and around 70% of the JPEGs. Any ideas on how to transfer the color attribute and keywords from JPEG to RAW or vice versa and then delete the RAW files that are not color labeled red and starred? Manually is so time consuming and frustrating…

    Thank you so much!

    • Laura Shoe August 12, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

      You can sync the metadata from one file to another, Niki, but there’s no way to automatically transfer from all raws to their corresponding JPEGs.

      • Niki Gleoudi August 16, 2016 at 1:40 am - Reply

        Thank you Laura. This sounds like too much work (that’s what I do now and it’s hard).
        Could I just keep the RAW files on the SD card in case of an exhibition or publication and only transfer the JPEGs into LR and my hard drive? How can I do this? I never use them, but I see them as my “negatives”. Thanks again

        • Laura Shoe August 18, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

          Yes, you can, Niki (though I’d recommend backing up the raw files in case something happens to the memory card). After you set your preferences to treat raw and JPEG files as separate files: in the import dialog, in the toolbar below the grid choose to sort by media type, then uncheck your raw files (click on the first, shift-click on the last, then uncheck one and they will all uncheck.)

          • Niki G August 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm

            Thank you very much.

  76. Uchin Mahazaki September 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Always shoot RAW+JPEG, especially when I`m on tethered with laptop. JPEG, u can use medium or small for quick review after tethering shoot. and keep RAW files in memory card.
    RAW takes time to be displayed after tethered, meanwhile jpeg is so fast.

  77. Robert Santorelli November 3, 2016 at 7:50 am - Reply

    I’m new to this Raw-JPG shooting I’m a 73 year old amateur.I do mostly family party’s and some social events.I like the idea of the speed of JPG for sending out quick photos to Family and Friends.
    To get to the point (Is there an easy way to separate the two after you put them on the hard drive)
    is there some sort of ‘bulk way of separating the two” instead of one at a time.

    • Laura Shoe November 8, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      If you’re importing them into Lightroom, Robert, afterwards select your folder and then use the filter bar above the grid to filter by file type. You could then select all the JPEGs and drag them into a new folder – but you may decide that you don’t need to, since by using a filter you can access just the JPEGs or just the raw files at any time.

      If you’re not importing the JPEGs, in Mac Finder or Windows Explorer/My Computer, sort by file type and then drag the JPEGs into a new folder.

  78. Jon Miller December 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Great discussion. I like the jpgs for quick review and also for sharing. I like the raw for editing with LR. I am still not sure whether to treat as separate or not. Probably not separate will allow me to focus on the raw for high quality since I shoot the jpgs in basic quality (D500). I often don’t have LR with me on a trip and it is much easier to skim through the jgs and delete pairs when unacceptable. And as said, share the smaller jpgs.

  79. Art Altman December 30, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

    When I open a raw file in Lightroom, does LR automatically apply any of the JPEG camera settings that I may have set in camera such as tungsten WB or “neutral” style? I realize that those settings don’t affect the RAW in camera, I am just wondering whether they become default initial settings for the RAW after import to LR. And does this action vary depending on whether or not I shoot RAW + JPEG or just RAW?
    Thanks very much.

    • Laura Shoe January 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      I can’t think of any settings LR applies, Art, except white balance (not color space, sharpening, contrast, saturation, style, …) What it applies is not dependent on whether you shoot just raw or raw + JPEG.

      • Alec Dann March 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

        In The Digital Negative, Jeff Schewe does a deep dive on this issue and he’s in agreement with everything you say above, Laura. He does say that LR adds sharpening, however. Tthe default Amount setting, for example, is 25.

        • Laura Shoe March 14, 2017 at 11:19 am - Reply

          Good to see that Jeff is in agreement, Alec. True – there is a default setting of 25 on sharpening (for raw files only). This can be changed – it’s not baked in.

  80. Alec Dann March 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Laura, I’ve seen a number of recommendations to avoid importing directly from the camera SD card (connected via the computer SD slot) but instead copy the files to the computer hard drive first and import from there.

    This never made sense to me since I have LR set to copy (+ rename) the RAW files to my computer hard drive) in the import step (+ make duplicates on my external drive).

    I then check the import before I wipe the originals on the SD card.

    Adding a separate copy step outside of LR seems like make-work to me.

    Am I missing something?

    I could imagine that back in LR 1-2-3 day there might have been some botched imports but I’ve imported over 50,000 images without a hitch.

    • Laura Shoe March 14, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

      I’m in agreement with you, Alec – this is the way I do it as well. If you’re checking the import, I don’t see that you’re putting anything at risk. I do think that the Copy process got a bad rap from early issues.

    • Fred Fedak March 14, 2017 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      I totally agree. I used to perform the extra steps of creating a folder on my HD, then copying the images there,, then importing into LR yada, yada. Once I found the easy way, I never looked back.

  81. George E Givens Jr April 29, 2017 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    I know this is way too late to matter but I used to shoot both because the camera I used wouldn’t allow zooming in on a raw file to check sharpness. Therefore if wanted to be able to check focus I had to shoot both

    • Laura Shoe May 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      It’s an ongoing discussion, so it’s definitely not too late for your comment, George – I didn’t know that some cameras would require this.

  82. Pete September 18, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I think the Raw + Jpeg option is good for time critical work where you have to process 100s of files and send an edit to a publication. Normally I just shoot Raw – but it is time consuming and slows me down so I have been looking into the Raw + Jpeg option where I try to get everything right in camera and do a really quick edit with jpegs for uploading / emailing. I think it’s a good option but Raw+jpeg may affect your burst rate (if you want to shoot at max frames / sec) as the buffer will be coping with more data. But a small price to pay for the extra editing / processing speed in Lightroom. So to sum up (or TLDR) – jpegs are a really good option for press photographers.

    • Laura Shoe September 20, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Pete!

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