The Benefits Of Photographing In Jpeg

Since owning a Fujifilm X series camera I’ve spoken and written about shooting in jpeg more than ever. It’s not a photographing routine I was used to when I was using Nikon cameras, and the change has come about for a number of reasons. There are of course times when I will still use raw, and for most of the time I actually photograph in both raw and jpeg, mostly just out of habit these days.

Why the thought of shooting jpeg?

Over the decades of photographing digital cameras, I’ve always taken the photos in raw and processed the images later in software. Occasionally I would use the jpeg files, but I was never happy with the colours of Nikon jpeg images, and ended up spending a long time editing those images!

I’ve never been a fan of wasting time editing photographs, and always tried to get things as close to my vision as I can in camera. During the 35mm film era I wasted time developing film for a while, but in the end I just found the experience of sending them off to be processed more rewarding, as the majority of the time they were exactly as I had wanted them to be, because I chose the film stock to match the subject I was photographing.

Anyway, after an age searching for another digital camera system that offered superior jpeg images, I decided to go with Fujifilm. I had loved using thier film, and had previously owned a number of non-X series digital cameras from them, which always produced stunning jpeg images out of the cameras.

I won’t be able to edit a jpeg though will I?

Before we go any further, this question always comes up, and it’s usually by people who rarely shoot in jpeg, or don’t have much experience in photography. Of course you can edit jpegs, and with Fuji jpegs there is a lot of play with the image file. However, if you are going to get your settings in camera so very wrong, without exposing correctly and getting your white balance as it should be, then perhaps jpegs are not for you. There are plenty of settings available to get great photographs straight from your camera, including settings that affect your dynamic range and allow you to have great shadows and highlights (which some people seem to insist need recovering in every photo – get it right in camera and no need to keep recovering!)

Anyway, the difference between editing a jpeg and a raw file isn’t as huge as some would have you believe, especially if you are set up correctly before you press your shutter button. There are conditions though when using the raw file is handy, so this cannot be dismissed for situations such as low light photography or event photography where there is ever changing light situations.

What are the benefits of photographing in jpeg?

For a lot of people like myself who have come full circle, starting in jpeg, having years of raw experience and now back to mostly jpeg, the benefits of jpeg are easy to see, and once they are understood, it’s hard to imagine why we bothered shooting in raw all the time.

The most important benefit is seeing a beautiful image coming straight from your camera. An image you can use straight away without a second thought of post processing. In modern cameras such as The Fujifilm X series, you can create recipes (or colour profiles) that can not only emulate old film stock, but also have the capacity to get the colour science that you want, straight from camera, along with control over dynamic range, noise, added grain and mug more.

Because of this control, the next benefit could be the one that most enjoy. There’ll be no need for long editing sessions, and you can spend the extra time taking photographs instead of “developing” each one. Sadly, “raw” is an antiquated throwback to film photography days in order to satisfy the needs of those who want to separate the final image from the image that was taken in camera. Ideally, a format should be invented that has all the benefits of jpeg (file size, finalised vision of the processing and versatility of use, meaning it can be viewed on any device without issue) with the manipulation capabilities of raw. A jpeg from your camera can be an excellent starting point so that you won’t need to do much editing with at a later date.

Mentioning file size above, that’s another benefit of photographing in jpeg. You can save between 4 and 8 jpeg files for every raw file you saved, based on raw files being between 25mb and 50mb, as they are on Fuji cameras. A lot of people say storage is cheap these days, which it is, but when you’re shooting thousands of photos, it all adds up! A number of services, including Google Photos, allow free storage of your jpeg images, which is another win situation!

Shooting in jpeg allows your camera to be more efficient too, giving you faster or more sustained photographing rates of fire. You’ll never miss that shot again because your buffer fills up so quickly! This can be most important in photographing sport, wildlife, birds and most importantly your family at play (have you tried taking photos of children? This is the ideal trick for capturing great photographs of them!)

Printing from your camera images is more important now than ever before. Not just your artistic landscape shots, but your snapshots of your family and friends. Shooting in jpeg will allow you to get to your printer straight from, or during an event, load up the 6×4 or 5×7 paper (or any size you want really) and just print from the file. This is something we’ve lost the art of lately, and one you can help bring back!

Conclusion

You can still shoot in full manual, you can still have the same control, you can still shoot with raw files as well and most importantly, you can be a better photographer by using your camera to its fullest capabilities. You’ll learn to get it right, you’ll learn to expose correctly, get your horizons straight and more importantly, you’ll learn to just enjoy the art of taking a photo and being happy with your vision when you see the cameras output.

Camera manufacturers spend a huge chunk of their research and development on colour science, getting the image colours to that perfect sweet spot. They give you the ability to adjust any of their multitude of presets to your heart’s content to make the image suit your taste. It’s there to give you the best results, and usually it’s pretty accurate at what it achieves.

It’s a time where I can now, after many years, be happy taking photographs using the jpeg image as my main source for the vast majority of the time. Taking photographs in jpeg is freedom to do more, freeing up time to do other, more important things.

I shoot jpeg… And I’m a better photographer for it. I wrote a great article on how I setup my Fujifilm camera which can be found here, so it gives you an idea of what I do when I go out with the camera.

— There is a lot of debate on raw vs jpeg, with some photographers saying you should only ever shoot in raw. There was a time I thought this, but with the right tools, the right attitude and in thanks to hindsight, we know it’s a load of rubbish. The majority of my prints that I’ve sold have come from jpeg photographs, and no one ever asked or cared on how they were taken or processed.

Who is Artificial Intelligence editing software aimed at?

More and more software proclaims to use artificial intelligence to help users edit their images these days, with the likes of Photoshop, Luminar and ON1 Photo Raw 2021 offering modules that give the power of advanced editing to the computer, so that your free time is extended and you can go and take photos instead of spending hours in front of your monitor.

What does AI editing software do?

With the advent of artificial intelligence in software, it’s allowed a variety of tasks to be completed with the touch of a single button or sliders. There are a number of instances where this makes the job of editing much more pleasurable and less frustrating.

One of the most common uses of artificial intelligence is in helping the portrait photographer. The first thing the AI does is mask the face area perfectly, find the eyes, nose and mouth and then allow you to tweak the skin texture, tones and imperfections with the aid of simple controls. Thanks to years of development and learning through never ending comparisons of facial images, the software knows what to touch and what to leave alone when you’re fine tuning the controls. It’ll also allow you to enlarge the eyes, shrink the nose, make rosy lips and even thin or fatten out the face, among many other things.

With landscape photography, AI can selectivity apply contrast, sharpening, colour changes, dehazing and other necessary tweaks to the areas it deems is necessary. With sliders targeting various effects, it’s never been easier to go from a bland image to something to hang on your wall.

Never before has it become so easy to remove people and objects from photographs, or change the sky or the surroundings of your model. A lot of the time this can be done in one click, as the computer analyses your image looking for what stands out. You can simply roughly draw around objects and the computer so remove them, and intelligently fill in the space as if by magic of what may lay underneath.

Who is AI editing software aimed at?

Of course, you could do all the above manually, spending many hours tweaking a landscape or portrait until it looks as good as the AI image. But theres more to it than that, a lot of the time, the changing of settings in the AI menus get you to a starting point more quickly, saving you time and money.

Artificial Intelligence in software is not aimed at the hobbyist who wants to spend hours editing manually from scratch, or those who think (wrongly) that using AI is cheating, but it is aimed at two other completely different types of photographer.

Firstly, and most importantly AI software is aimed at the professional and semi-professional photographer who needs to get work done quickly and effectively. People who want perfect results, know how to use the software and can use it because they have the eye. It’s aimed at those who have large workflows or time sensitive business.

The second type of photographer Artificial Intelligence is aimed at is the opposite side of the spectrum with amateur photographers who either just want to have a bit of fun and get the job done, or who want to use it for things they would usually find tedious (masking out skies and people, working on complexion of a face etc). For these, the obstacle of editing has been removed, and the gift of creativity has been given to them.

And AI is the gift of creativity, as it also teaches you in a lot of circumstances how to do the job. You’ll see what sliders have been changed by software, you’ll visually see the before and after so you can see what has been affected by the AI. Most importantly, AI allows you to explore editing in a way you could have ever dreamed of.

Conclusion

It’s thanks to the development of artificial intelligence that photo editing has become popular. It’s the reason many have started taking photographs in raw instead of jpeg, the reason people want to do more with their photos, the reason people’s skills are getting better and the reason people want to improve themselves.

The great thing about AI is, it’s employed in some of the simplest tools such as inpainting brushes, healing tools and masking brushes. So it’s helping you from the simplest tool to the most complex solution.

And of course, if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to… But it’s there for your benefit should you wish to improve your images.

— There are a number of programs I will be reviewing in the very near future that employ AI modules. Look out for Luminar AI, Portrait AI from ON1 and ON1 Photo Raw 2021 along with the upcoming sky replacement features in Photoshop.

Edit Photographs For Your Wall And Become Successful

Photography is a fun past time for a lot of people, but sometimes it’s nice to sell a photograph. Selling requires a number of things to be successful; a great and interesting subject, the right price and a fine edit. Use the “Edit For Your Wall” philosophy and you’re on to a winner!

If one of those points is wrong, chances are you won’t sell on a regular basis. The first two points are simple enough, although you may not always be able to tell if you are right or wrong until discussing with someone who is totally impartial (such as your partner, or kids, or friends).

Point one, is the subject. You may find it totally mind blowing, but see what the reaction is from a number of people! For the second point, stick to your guns on prices for your work, people will pay whatever you ask if your work is good enough!

The final point is the hardest. You may have your own editing style, but for selling you may need to tweak your style. When people are looking for photographs to buy, they are usually looking for mostly one thing… How that photo will look on their wall! It doesn’t matter if you think you have the best photograph ever, if it’s not edited with being hung on the wall in mind, it just want be as successful.

This all depends on your subjects of course. People generally love bright and dramatic sunsets, or life-like but sharp flowers, or portraits that are complementary to the person’s features etc. Of course not all people are the same, but over time you will discover which editing technique brings more attention or more sales.

Keep it simple, edit as if the photograph is for your wall. Think what others around you would think. Try and think the same as your target audience. And most importantly, still do what you like to do for yourself, as that’s your pleasure.

— If this has inspired you, or given you thought, please leave a comment, like and follow for more photography related posts.

The Best Editing Software You’ll Ever Need Is…

There have been hundreds and thousands of articles written about the best software that any photographer should use. They’ll tell you why you should use this software, and how it makes you a better editor of photographs. What this article well set out to achieve once and for all, is the best piece of editing software for you and your needs.

What’s Out There?

Before we can begin to decide what the best editing software is for you, you need to understand that there are two distinct categories available that will be critical in your decision of what you will use.

Photoshop & the like…

Firstly, there are the Photoshop type editing programs. There offer powerful image manipulation, and although not as easy to use as dedicated photo editing software, many people will use them either as a solo photo editing program or as an additional step.

These programs include the already mentioned Photoshop, which is the Gold standard in photo manipulation, and the only things that put people off buying it are it’s steep learning curve and subscription model which ensures that Adobe will always have a grip on you and your images.

Secondly for the Photoshop type editing program you have Gimp, which is the leading free Photoshop replacement, and in many respects just as usable, although it is missing non-destructive editing for a lot of its components. You also have other programs such as Affinity Photo which people enjoy. Affinity is cheap, you only pay once and keep it, and it is great for everyday use, is a bit more complicated than other programs.

Lightroom & the like…

The second category is the Lightroom type editing program. These are more specifically for editing photographs, they have a light table feature which displays rows of photos which you can view, bulk edit etc and see side by side comparisons of many different images.

Lightroom is of course the offering from Adobe that has set the gold standard. It’s an all encompassing photo editor that is used by most professional photography editors. It’s drawback for many is that it’s a subscription service, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Darktable is the leading Lightroom alternative, and in many ways is much more powerful, but had a very steep learning curve. It offers everything and more that Lightroom does, but it’s completely free.

We also have Capture One which is great and a one off fee (although they do offer free versions for Fuji, Nikon and Sony users), plus ON1 Photo Raw which again is a one off payment and a very powerful program to boot! Currently Luminar 4 is the talk of every photographer, and it’s an amazing program.

Which is the very best to use – let’s settle this once and for all…

Above was an outline of various software, they all perform amazingly, they all offer various models of payment and in reality they will all get the job done.

The best thing of all is that they each offer free trials of their software!!! Unlike other reviewers or bloggers, I’m not going to say you should use this or that software, I’m going to suggest you download and software that has taken your eye and try the free trial!

The best software that money can buy is the software that suits your needs best, and for the most part it’s all about the user interface and learning curve. There is no right or wrong answer to this!

What software do I use?

As someone who holds classes, runs photography groups and is heavily involved in photography, I am lucky to have a lot of software which I need to know in order to help others. However, I do have my favourites. I really enjoy Darktable and Gimp for my main processing, although I also enjoy Luminar 4, Photoshop and a little program called Photoscape X Pro, which I use probably more than any others when just sorting through jpegs ready to put up on the internet.

Take advantage of these free trials and also help me out!

I am an affiliate for Luminar, and if you’d like a special deal on this software, plus have £10/$10/$10 of your software, use code GPWNPT and go through this link.

If you’d like to try ON1 for an exclusive trial, use this link.

— I do not make money from these links, but it gives me the opportunity to try the latest versions so that I may pass on my knowledge to the photography groups I run online and in person.

Storing Film Simulations on your Fujifilm (A simple guide)

One of the reasons we love and use Fujifilm cameras is because it’s easy to replicate old film stocks, invent new ones, and have more control over the image before we take the photo than any other camera. Some of us only ever shoot in these film simulations that we’ve made, others only use the stock Fujifilm film simulations, while others shoot in raw and then add these simulations using Fuji’s X Raw Studio on their computers.

This guide will take you though a typical Fujifilm X camera set-up, although there may well be differences to which camera you use. The basic idea will be the same regardless of what you use. This is NOT a technical post, and not a discussion on white balance, just a way to help you get to the settings quickly.

Step 1: The Look

The first step is to decide what look you are after. Are you looking to replicate old film stock? If so, One Camera One Lens has a page dedicated to over 15 unique film simulations and recipes. Take a look once you’ve read this article!

You’ll notice that these recipes have various settings that you must alter to change the look of your finished image. Each of these settings, when altered, changes the look of the photographs you take.

Step 2: Enter Your Settings

I’ve seen many articles taking you the long way off entering these settings, this is the quick way and is simple.

1. Press your “Q” button – the screen will change to your Quick settings.
2. Press and HOLD your “Q” button for about a second – you’ll be given a list of C1-C7.
3. Scroll to a C number you want to use.
4. Press “OK” – You’ll be greeted by the various settings. Scroll through them and change them as you need.
5. Press “Back” and it will ask you to save the recipe.

And that is how simple it is. If you’ve disabled the “Q” button for any reason, you can get to step 2 by going into the menus. (Found at IQ>Select Custom Setting)

(Your menus may look slightly different)

Press the “Q” Button to get here.
Press and HOLD the Q button for a second to get here, and choose your Custom number.
Inside this menu you can go ahead and change your settings!

For most people, this will be more than enough to complete the setup of a Film Simulation, however, you may want to add an R/B offset for your white balance, and this is where the fun really begins!

Step 3: The White Balance R/B Offset Conundrum

If you do not need to change the Red and Blue (R/B) offset for your recipe, you can skip this part of the instructions.

This is a step that most confuses new and not so new Fujifilm users. While you can alter many aspects of the White Balance in the Q editing of your recipes, you can’t assign a R/B offset directly into the customising function (in some cameras).

To adjust your R & B values (should you wish) you must adjust one of your three Custom White Balance settings, or other White Balance options, please see the notes on this below the instructions.

To do this, simply follow this instructions:

1. Press your “Menu” button.
2. Scroll down to “White Balance”
3. Choose Auto, Custom 1-3 (whichever you want to assign the R/B offset if needed and not using Auto WB) or any of the other settings such as Kelvin, Daylight, Shade etc. – Press the right arrow/joystick to enter the offset mode.
4. If in the Custom 1-3 setting you Press “OK” on the first screen, it will bypass it (and use the last value*) and you can then enter the Red and Blue values.

* To get a correct white balance if you have changed it in the past, you can point your camera at a white object filling the screen, and then press the shutter release to capture this White Balance. Alternatively you can adjust the offset in the “Auto” section and this will need to be changed each time you change settings to a new simulation. Auto, Kelvin, Daylight, Shade etc can all only have one R/B offset attached. Yes… I know it’s confusing!

(Your menus may look slightly different – Older X cameras may be missing the offset option)

Open the menu and go to “IQ” and then down to “White Balance” . *Choosing “Auto” will allow you to change the R & B values and give them auto WB. This will need to be changed for each Film Simulation. *Choosing “Custom 1-3” will give you the option to offset based on a White Balance that has been set by you when asked to press the shutter below. *Remember when saving your recipes you can only set ONE WB offset per WB setting (Auto, Custom, Daylight etc).

You’ll need to remember which Custom White Balance is for which recipe, as you’ll need to assign it to that recipe.

** White Card Technique **
To assign a custom white balance correctly, the manual states to point your camera and fill the screen with a white object when confronted with the “Shutter: New WB” option. This will then set your white balance for that environment.

Step 4: Use them!

Once your C1-C7 are full, get out and use them! Ideally I would set up my camera so that C1 is a default setting, with just a plain, untouched film simulation, with the ISO settings etc that you know you can rely on, and then have C2-C7 as film simulation edits.

Conclusion

It’s great fun shooting in film simulations, if you shoot in raw and jpeg, you’ll have even more options as you can take the raw file into Fuji X Raw Studio and choose different film simulations (another blog entry coming soon on this).

Don’t be afraid to experiment, and if you want the full experience, don’t forget to print your images! The film simulations you use from the internet are great starting points, and sometimes a little tweak or two can make all the difference if you’re not quite happy with the results.

Don’t forget to check out our main page which hosts film simulations, plus like and comment if you have found this useful, as it really helps me out!

— There are different variants of software in each camera, this guide is a general one and your camera may have more or less options, but the general idea should be the same in each case.