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Why Beginners Should Shoot JPEG over RAW

Shooting RAW vs JPEG


A camera is a tool; just like with any tool you’ll need to understand how it functions in order to use it the right way. The best place to start is at the beginning of the photography alphabet at ‘Aperature’ and you can get an awesome description along with numerous other photography tips in our Basics to Photography blog. Essentially Aperature is the ‘opening in the lens’ or the amount of light the shutter let’s pass through. The longer the shutter is open the more light that is allowed to pass through the lens.

AOV Photography Cheet Sheet

The first time I heard the word aperture I acted like I knew what it meant and just went along with what a group of photographers were saying...but they knew better. They kept the assault going by discussing lenses and asking questions like what settings (f-stops) did I like shooting in? Ahh…the good one. No, but really, understanding the lingo is an important piece for beginners so reference the Basics of Photography above.

If you learn the technical side of photography doors will open exponentially faster for you and your business. You’ll have the added benefit of having full control over your camera and the photographs you produce as well, saving time and energy. You’ll eventually get to the point where you never need to take your camera off of Manual mode because you’re like Zeus with a thunderbolt!  

Zeus Art Of Visuals

Photo by Major Olympians 

Most photographers like shooting RAW since shooting in RAW gives you more control over your images in post processing, where the magic happens! With that said, everyone was a nube photographer at one point or another, so you may want to learn to shoot Manual in JPEG, but before I hear the scoffs from the amateurs and pros, let me explain.

In many ways, it makes sense to learn to shoot Manual in Raw but there are instances where shooting in JPEG makes more sense. If you shoot in JPEG and haven’t mastered the exposure triangle, you’re going to be trashing lots of photographs. In this case, it's a good thing, practice will refine your skills and we (AOV) are firm believers in the 10,000-hour principle, meaning that 10,000 hours of ‘deliberate practice’ is needed to become world-class in any field. Here are four reasons to shoot JPEG.

JPEG Image Photo by JPEG 2000

  1. While shooting in JPEG, if you underexpose a photograph, that’s how it’s going to stay. Although you can edit JPEG photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop you may not want to waste your time. This should teach you proper exposure faster because you’ll be focused on getting the photograph right the first time and not rely on post-processing to save a sub-par image.  
  2. RAW files are much bigger than JPEGs, meaning you can shoot more photos on JPEG files. The most important focus as a budding photographer is to shoot and shoot a lot. It’s going to take practice to get properly exposed photographs. The smaller file size allows you to shoot more on a memory card, giving you more practice.
  3. JPEG will save you some time. JPEG files transfer to memory cards and to computers faster, giving you more time to indemnifying the keepers and less time waiting for them to load.
  4. If you focus on the exposure triangle, you’re JPEG images will be better straight out of the camera. JPEG files are compressed in way that RAW Files are not, meaning JPEGs are typically brighter and more colorful than a RAW file. It is one thing to learn how to frame a great picture it is another to manipulate a photo in post-processing. The better your photos are SOOC (Straight-Out-Of-Camera) the less time you will need manipulating them. These are transferrable skills when you decide to take on shooting Manual in RAW.


Learning how to shoot in both modes has its advantages but shooting Manual in RAW gives you far more manipulation options in post-processing. The cool thing is most new DSLR camera's offer an option to shoot in both JPEG and RAW. As a young photographer, I now shoot in RAW but I’m not afraid to shoot in JPEG to show off a SOOC banger!

Feel free to reach out if you have any tips for our budding new photographers in the AOV community. #AOVblog  

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