RAW vs JPEG - Which Format Is Best For You?


Your camera both DSLR and Mobile Phone have options for shooting in either RAW or JPEG format. Whats the difference? RAW photos will require some adjustments, while the JPEG format already has all the adjustments baked in.

RAW Format Pros and Cons

  • Pros - enhance details in shadows, enhance details in highlights, fix general exposure issues, better sharpening, better noise removal, better dodging and burning, freely adjust whitebalance
  • Cons - time consuming, must be edited in order to make it look as good as JPEG, larger file type

JPEG Format Pros and Cons

  • Pros - smaller filesize, camera software does all the editing work on the fly, ready to publish instantly, looks amazing right out of the camera
  • Cons - if image is underexposed it will for the most part remain underexposed, unable to recover portions of lost highlights, unable to recover portions of lost shadows

Learn a little more...

If you are shooting sports photos of a game or anything that is time sensitive in general you're going to want to shoot JPEG. With JPEG you can quickly send off the photos to whoever needs them. With many modern cameras you can even Bluetooth them to your phone to upload instantly while you are at the game. Apps like Nikons SnapBridge can do this for you.

If you have time to kill and don't mind sitting in front of your computer for a little while RAW may be a good option to try. In landscape photography it will allow you to recover some data in those blown out skies during a sunset. When shooting portraits it will allow you to better sharpen the eyes, mouth and hair, while still softening the skin with a soft glow.


If you want your images to look great out of camera and are too busy to edit your files choose JPEG. If you are not happy with your JPEG images and have the time to manually configure your images, then choose RAW.

Still not sure which to use. On most every camera you can choose RAW + JPEG. It takes up more storage space, but may occasionally be the best option.