Raw Plus JPEG Confusion


Today’s Question: One problem I am having is that I sometimes shoot in both Raw and JPEG captures. So, I have two copies of the same image. I am having difficulty in importing the JPEG images into Lightroom [Classic]. It imports my raw images just fine, but not the JPEG. Yes, I have unchecked the box to not import duplicates. How can I import the JPEG along with the raw?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you want to import the JPEG component of a Raw+JPEG capture into Lightroom Classic, you need to enable the option to treat JPEG images next to a raw capture as separate files. However, I don’t actually recommend importing those JPEG captures, nor capturing with the Raw+JPEG option in the first place, for photographers who are managing their workflow with Adobe Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: By default, when you import Raw+JPEG captures into Lightroom Classic, both the raw and the JPEG will be copied to the destination folder you’ve specified, but only the raw capture will actually be imported into your Lightroom catalog.

If you want to import the JPEG version of the Raw+JPEG set, you need to first turn on the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos”, which can be found on the General tab of the Preferences dialog, in the Import Options section of the General tab.

However, I don’t recommend using Raw+JPEG capture (or importing the JPEG captures for such image sets) when you are using Lightroom Classic to manage your workflow. There is simply no real benefit to using Raw+JPEG capture in the context of Lightroom Classic, in my view.

When you import raw captures into Lightroom Classic, I recommend using the Standard option (or the 1:1 option if you prefer) for the Build Previews popup in the File Handling section of the right panel in the Import dialog. With one of these options enabled, Lightroom will generate JPEG previews for all of your photos, for faster browsing and to enable you to review your photos even if the source raw captures aren’t currently available. For example, those JPEG previews can be seen even if an external hard drive containing the raw captures is not currently connected to your computer.

If you need a JPEG version of the original capture for some other purpose, such as for sharing a photo, you can simply use the Export feature to create a JPEG copy of your raw original. And I highly recommend using the raw capture as the basis of all adjustments you apply to a photo, not a JPEG copy of the raw capture.

Put simply, as far as I’m concerned there is no benefit to using the Raw+JPEG capture option if you are using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos.