Featured Artist Sarah Chae Entry 01: Raw vs JPEG Images

As a new photographer, there are numerous of things to learn. I know the amount of material may seem daunting, but with some patience and persistence. You can quickly become a master of Photography. A basic distinction in photos is the difference between RAW photos and JPEG photos. There are benefits to having both, but they may not be instinctive to the new, enthusiastic photographer. 

So, what’s the difference between them and which one is better? These are good questions to ask yourself. The main difference is: Raw photos are not processed by your camera, so the data is uncompromised by compression techniques. In short, the photo is “Raw”, get it? 

In contrast, JPEG makes the camera process the image into a file in which you cannot further manipulate much of your photo when your editing them in photoshop. Another way to view this is that the camera compresses the image in order to save storage and efficiently store the image. 

Then are JPEG images are bad? Not necessarily. Though RAW photos have better benefits than JPEG for editing and quality, JPEG are very important for sending, receiving, storing, and managing your thousands of photos you will end up having on your hard drive at home. 

Here is a more specific list of the benefits for each type of photo.

Benefits of using RAW format: 

  • Higher level of Quality (When you take your pictures in RAW. You record all the data from the sensor.)
  • You get to edit the picture how you want it to look (If you use JPEG format the pictures are going to get compressed.) Also, correct under/over exposed images.
  • Greater levels of Brightness (JPEG records 256 bits vs RAW records 4,096 -16,384 bits) JPEG captures in 8bit and RAW is 12bit or 14bit.
  • Adjusting white balance
  • Better Details (you have access to sharpen and noise algorithms like in the program Lightroom)
  • Non-Destructive editing (you can make an adjustment and the original data is intaked.
  • Better prints (since the gradation of tones and colors are finer.
  • Efficient workflow (it's easier to work through large batches of images this works for Lightroom and Aperture not photoshop)
Benefits of using JPEG format: 
  • Smaller file size ( you will be able to take as many photos as possible without worrying about your storage space on your camera)
  • Saving the photo is much faster than RAW photos (Also, most digital cameras already set save your photos in JPEG format)
  • Print them as is ( you don’t edit your photos you can immediately print these photos out)


Sarah is a aspiring artists and you can follow her work here at Rockshutter

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