RAW vs JPEG – Practical Use for Designers & Photographers

Last week Firgs opened up her Designer Roundtable discussion with the topic RAW vs JPEG and whether it matters to designers. I responded in the comments that designers could simply use the JPEG provided to them or take advantage of what RAW has to offer for more creative post-processing.  She followed up with a question about practical things designers need to know about using RAW vs JPEG. With that here are my Top Five Things to know about RAW vs JPEG:

1. White Balance.
When using Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom, you have the ability to change the image white balance without affecting image quality. In fact, the white balance settings will reflect the available features in camera, e.g., Daylight, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Flash, etc. You can also choose “As Shot” or let the program Auto white balance. When creating a custom white balance you can read & adjust the color temperature of the RAW file.

When using a JPEG file  you can adjust white balance, but it’s not the same as changing the settings. Adobe Camera RAW & Lightroom only give you three choices–Auto, As Shot or Custom. When creating a custom white balance setting you make a +/- adjustment without seeing the color temperature.

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