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.

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.

Why Printing Your Photographs Is Important Now More Than Ever

History

There was a time when the only photographs you could look at that you had taken were printed images. They may have been square Polaroids, 6×4, 7×5 or larger prints, and even passport sized images. They were stored away in photo albums and once in a while they were taken out to view. Inside those albums you’d find images of your friends and families, moments in time captured forever. You’d find photographs of places you’d visited, landscapes you’d admired, music artists you’d watched, random shots of animals and so much more.

In those photo albums you’d have photographs that your parents had slipped in from a time before you were born, and you could study your parents as children, your grandparents and their parents. Photographs sometimes hundreds of years old… Rarely seen… But there to bring back memories.

I’m sure after reading the first couple of paragraphs you’re already realising that the people before you, probably cared about photography, and the longevity of preserving the story of the past, far more than you ever thought. Think to yourself, when did you make an effort to print out your images on this scale? The chances are you haven’t (unless you’re one of the rare breed, like myself, who actually do print digital images and still take 35mm format film images).

For most of us, if we are of a certain age, if we were to lose our lives tomorrow, very few relatives would have the incline of where you store your digital photographs. Even if they have your computer or back up drives, do they have a password if it’s protected? Are all your images raw files, making it next to impossible for non-photographers to view or print? Possibly some will, but even not getting into your laptop or computer because of that password could instantly mean all your images will never be seen again.

And then there’s the old enemy called time. While generations from now can look at your fading, tattered photographs, will they be able to open your digital files as easily as looking at those photos? Will the digital files become corrupt over time? How many have lost files over the last few years because hard drives etc have failed on them?

Benefits Of Printing

If this hasn’t scared you into understanding the importance of printing nothing will! But as well as the significance of historical value, there are some true benefits to printing out your images for yourself, friends and family which we will look at here.

1. You can learn from looking at the printed photo – Yes! It’s all well and good looking at a monitor or your mobile device to look at photos, but when they’re printed they take on a whole new different life. You’ll see things you hadn’t seen before, you’ll appreciate them in an altogether different light. Print a few large enough to hang on the wall, and you’ll really start to understand where you’re going right or wrong as people comment on them, or you just judge it more over time.

2. People will appreciate your photos more – When people look at a digital photo, they have seen so many digital images, they don’t take in what exactly they are seeing. When people see a photograph printed, they can see, touch and smell and have a very different experience.

3. The image lifespan vastly extends – Your digital images will have a lifespan of interest of anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days depending on where they are on the internet. A printed image lasts forever. Your grandchildren will be able to pick up your photo album and admire your images many years after you have gone. Your digital prints will be gone from memory days after you’ve shared them.

4. You’ll understand you rarely need to edit – Editing has become a term synonymous with digital photography for those who think they are more serious about photography than others. Getting it right in camera, and printing the image as you seen it and you’ll realise, that the majority of the time, you don’t need to do anything to landscapes, people, buildings or places. Printing on various film stocks just make things look perfect!

5. You’ll learn to be selective over composition – Similar to the first point, over time you’ll learn which compositions work and which don’t. Seeing your photographs evolve over time, you’ll learn what works as what doesn’t.

Framing your images is a good way to take note of them, and for others to admire your work.

What To Print?

We all have different things we want to print, so I’ll just describe what I print out and keep in my photo albums. Firstly, and mostly family, friends and people. The reason for this, it will be interesting for people now and in the future to view. There’s always something about family photos that draws people in, and it’s a historical record of your life. The important thing to me about these photos is that they are totally unedited (by me) and straight from camera. Thankfully shooting Fujifilm, these photographs look absolutely amazing when printed!

Secondly, for my photo albums, I print selected images that I’ve edited of landscapes, buildings, animals and insects etc. I don’t print many of these, just the ones I think people will find interesting, and the ones which offer some reference to a time or a place of possible. I also go over these photos quite regularly and think about how they would look as bigger prints for hanging on the walls

As mentioned, I also print out photos to hang on walls. Anything from A4 to whichever size I feel suits the room that it’s going to be situated. These are normally up on walls for a long time, and when it’s time to change them, they are usually given away to family or friends who have shown interest in them in the past. These larger prints are usually sunsets, landscapes, animals and insects or places.

The Benefit Of Being A Fujifilm Camera User

There are many benefit’s of using Fujifilm mirrorless camera’s, but one of the most beneficial, and the one that attracts so many photographers to the system is it’s ability to emulate older film stock. Fujifilm film simulations are more than just presets for your photos, they processed in your camera and act more like film than many think. They add grain and the colour reproduces as if you were using a 3mm film camera. Because of this, you can simply sent your camera’s jpeg straight to the printer and the final image will be as if you have had a film developed.

I’ve shot in most of the various film simulations, and Classic Chrome, Acros and Provia are my favourite straight from camera, while Velvia and Astia need to be experienced more as I think they have great potential. Also of course, with Fujifilm you can use your own film simulations and when they are printed, they look amazing too!

Visit Our Fujifilm Film Simulation Page Here

Kodak ColorPlus film stock, your Fujifilm camera could get images to look like this straight out of camera.

Conclusion

Regardless of how seriously you take your photography, print out your photographs. There’s literally no reason why you shouldn’t. If you have a printer at home, the quality is amazing these days so no excuse, if you haven’t got a printer, there are plenty of services which offer 50 free prints a month, cheap larger prints, canvases and much more at reasonable prices.

Having your images as digital photos only is a day reflection of the days we live in now. You won’t realise what you’re missing until you print. Even if you only print any special occasions you attend, or one of your favourite photos a month… Get printing and get hooked to seeing your photos as they should be seen. If they’re family photos, keep them real and just print the jpeg, it’s much more fun looking at photos that may not be perfect for whatever reason. If they’re photos of something you’re interested in such as landscapes or sunsets, print them and hang them on your wall and use them to improve and develop your photography skills.

— I’ve been a photographer all my life, printing all my life, taking photos all my life. I’ve done a few years of being a semi-professional photographer selling services and prints, however the last year I’ve taken time out to just enjoy photography, write blogs, give free lessons and run free photography groups. Please support me by following the blog and liking any pages or blogs that you read.

Special thinks to my good friend Mike Winson for his wise words of wisdom on the importance of printing as opposed to just using digital files.