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.

Aberavon Seafront Sunset Photography Shoot

On September 29th I decided to pop out for some sunset photography with a couple of friends. I also wanted to try out my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and 85mm F/1.8 lenses out in the evening and on the darkness that followed. I shot a lot of images that night, mostly because I bracketed a lot of images using exposure bracketing, but I learned a lot from doing that which I will explore in a future blog post.

I’ve chosen 16 images from the evening that I like. Of course, if you’re a photographer you should always like your images where possible. On this night, although the sunset wasn’t perfect, I had images that interest me. There’s a saying that if you have one image you like each time you go out you should be happy, but I think that was said by some bad photographers, as there’s always something to photograph, and if you don’t like what you’re taking photos of, then why bother taking the photograph in the first place?

These images were edited from the raw file of my Fujifilm X-T20 in Luminar 4. If you are interested in trying Luminar 4, or any Skylum products, then if you click here you can have exclusive free trials and money off. If you decide to buy any product from Skylum (Luminar, Aurora etc) then use code GPWNPT at the checkout for £$€10 off the product. You’ll be helping me by visiting the link, or using the code, as it gives me the opportunity to try their new products to try and review.

Luminar 4 is an all in one Lightroom replacement, with full library features, cataloguing and advanced editing tools. The software is also famous for its Artificial Intelligence, and has amazing sky replacements, portrait AI and so much more. Whether you’re a complete novice or advanced professional, Luminar is used by people like you if you want great results, fast!

Please view the images full screen for the best experience, you’ll also find full EXIF data for each photo.

These images were taken at Aberavon in Port Talbot, South Wales. Aberavon is a coastal area, with mountains within a mile or two behind the sea. It has some of the best sunsets Wales has to offer, with a variety of landscape opportunities, a small town, great architecture and much more. It’s close to the market town of Neath, and the large city of Swansea

A lot of my photography is based in this area as I live right next to the sea, a few hundred yards from where some of these were taken. I never tire of the opportunity of photographing the area, documenting it at every opportunity.

— As usual, if you like what you see, please like, share and comment. It inspires me to carry on with my photography and my blogs. I am an affiliate for Luminar 4, so just checking out the links in the article will help me promote this great software!

Minimalistic Photography Shoots

Photography is an ever expanding journey into discovery. Standing still makes you become boring, so it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and do things a little different on times. For these images I didn’t deliberately go out of my way to get something different, but due to circumstances and editing technique, the photos formed a series which I quite like, and may expand on in the future.

The photos were mostly take on my Fujifilm X-T20 using various film simulations for the most part, although there is one photograph from my Nikon camera and one from my Huawei Phone as well. The style for these is minimalistic and artistic, hopefully standing out a little different from my usual photographs.

The first seven photographs were edited in Snapseed during my downtime, while the eighth was edited in Photoshop 2020. I will use whichever editing software I have with me at the time, quite often using Snapseed to just try out ideas. Quite often though, as here, I will keep the final results without going into any other software. All images except the final image were edited from the camera jpeg.

Please view them full screen on your computer to see their beauty. All images come with EXIF data.

I believe variety is the spice of life, and that includes what I shoot, what I shoot it with and what I edit it in. A photographer can become to boring using one thing all the time, or staying to one type of editing style. You have to keep it interesting, you have to edit for your wall and you have to print out your photos to really understand where you are going with your photography.

— If you enjoyed this blog post, please check out my other blog entries. If you want to view only photographs, then go to my Photos Page, where you can view all the photos in blogs that I have put up for you to view. Please remember to like, share and comment if you liked what you seen! New blog entries at least twice a week, so subscribe too!

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.