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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements > Raw Files >

Raw v. JPEG >

1 - Introduction

On your camera, you can choose the file format for your photographs.

The two commonly used file formats are JPEG and a raw file format.

Which File Format Is Best?

When should you save your photographs with the JPEG file format—and when with a raw file format?

For most people, most of the time, the JPEG file format is the best.

In some instances, you'll want to save your photographs using a raw file format.

Here are the reasons for using each of the formats.

Save as a JPEG File If . . .

Save your photographs as a JPEG file if:

• The photograph is correctly exposed.

• The photograph has the appropriate white balance setting.

• The photograph will be used on a web page.

• The photograph will be sent as an e-mail attachment.

• The photograph will require little editing.

• You're taking many photographs in quick succession.

JPEG files are saved more quickly than raw files.

Save as a Raw File If . . .

Save your photographs as a raw file if:

• The photograph has a wide range of contrast.

• The photograph will need the white balance adjusted.

• The photograph will require extensive editing.

• You'll be returning to process the photograph repeatedly, in different ways.

The discussion is the short answer.

Read on for the long answer, if you wish.