Raw or JPEG photography

Wedding Photography: RAW V/S JPEG: Which is better?


This question often hits all budding and even experienced photographer’s mind. The current technology has given us so many tools but it is difficult to analysis the situation when it comes to choosing RAW over JPEG or vice versa. The following is an extract from the course, “Pro Wedding Filmmaker” to benefit all present and future students. In case you have more questions in any other topic, please drop a message on our facebook page, we will publish the answer with a detailed explanation. You can alternatively mail us on theweddingfilmschool@gmail.com.

What is RAW format?

The very moment, you press your shutter and camera sensor exposes to the available data, it captures that. When Image has been captured with no alteration or processing at camera end, it is said to be a RAW image file. There is no compression in this file and as the name suggest, RAW, it is not in the stage of any further use without processing in software like Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom or Aperture etc.

What is JPEG format?

Unlike RAW, you apply a lot of manipulation and processes when you take a JPEG version instead of RAW file. It is a compressed file and format where image has been altered largely at camera end and therefore you can use it straight from the camera, though that is not a standard practice. You can still edit these files, but mind it, it is now a compressed data, and therefore it has a limited scope of improvement.


We have made a comprehensive list of differences between RAW and JPEG for better understanding.

This is an un-compressed version of file This is a compressed version of file
You have to process it further in editing software It is processed and hence ready to use
It results in a heavy file size due to maximum data It results in a smaller size
You have to process it before print or web upload Suitable for printing & web upload
Looks faded and need fine-tuning in software Sharper Output
Gives a better control over overall exposure control. You have major control over highlights, contrast and colors High in Contrast
It is like having a negative to develop further and therefore endless possibilities It is like having a print where everything has been adjusted at camera level
Consumes a lot of space Takes lesser space
Camera needs lot of buffer to process Camera captures at faster pace

Hopefully, you may find many professional photographers who would always shoot in RAW and other occasions, where you would find people are happy with their JPEG output and they don’t feel anything had been missed. Well, you can never get a magical transformation and manipulation control from a JPEG files, in comparison to its RAW counterparts. But, there are occasions for both of them and you as a wedding photographer have to make a choice as per the Time and Opportunity at the event.

Let’s have a look on the possible timings.

When to use RAW When to use JPEG
When you are capturing in not so perfect lighting scenario When you have a perfect lighting situation with best exposure for your composition
You want to achieve a perfect white balance and you have ample time for post processing You need to speed up your work and quick post production
When client has time for best results When client is on a rush!
Best for professional outputs Best for routine everyday pictures
When you are expert in post processing software like Photoshop & Lightroom If you have little time for  post production.JPEG is better option

We know that it is very tempting to get inclined towards RAW. We would highly recommend shooting in RAW, in case your camera supports RAW format. But not to forget, wedding is a seriously unpredictable event and on many occasions it might not worth to engage your camera for a longer processing and you may miss a shot ,where you need to press your shutter like a marathon. It is just a fine trade off between TIME V/S RESULTS. In fact, our team has observed that the new age photographers, getting fabulous pictures and a reasonable edit, even with JPEGs. So we leave this choice to you and suggest considering all above points before hitting your shutter button.

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