Raw+JPEG Capture Recommendation


Today’s Question: Do you shoot in raw only or raw and JPEG? If you shoot in both formats, do you include only raw in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I shoot in raw only, not raw+JPEG. In the context of Lightroom Classic in particular, I generally recommend against the use of raw+JPEG capture.

More Detail: I recommend using raw capture to ensure optimal quality for your photos. Some photographers find it convenient to use the raw+JPEG option so they have a JPEG copy of each photo right out of the camera, which can make it easier to quickly share or review their photos.

However, in the context of a workflow that revolves around Lightroom Classic, there really isn’t a benefit to using the raw+JPEG capture option. That’s because Lightroom Classic will build the equivalent of JPEG previews when you import photos, and you can easily export JPEG copies of your raw captures if you want to share the images.

In addition, I recommend importing new captures directly into Lightroom Classic as the first step in your workflow, rather than downloading the images and reviewing them before importing them into your catalog. In other words, I don’t recommend using a workflow where you might review the JPEG copies from raw+JPEG pairs to decide which images you’ll import into Lightroom Classic.

If you prefer to use raw+JPEG capture for some reason, it is also important to note that by default Lightroom Classic won’t even import the JPEG images from the raw+JPEG pairs. If you want to import both the raw and JPEG images you would need to turn on the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” checkbox on the General tab of the Preferences dialog.

But again, from my perspective there isn’t any real benefit to using raw+JPEG capture when using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos and workflow.