Simultaneous RAW & JPEG Files:
How Does Lightroom Handle It?



Lightroom's (LR) interface neatly attends to most digital photography situations.

If you didn't know already, you may have learned in my article on the RAW File Format that most digital cameras capable of shooting RAW can also simultaneously save a JPEG file version too.

For some, this can be handy in a number of ways:

Maybe you have a client breathing down your neck who "just needs the files now" feels (s)he can't hang around for the processing of RAW files.

Perhaps you're comfortable shooting JPEG, you know that you should shoot RAW but you just don't have the head-space to learn right now...?

In the latter example, I guess one is thinking the other way round — shooting JPEG first with the convenient facility of saving a RAW File.

Lightroom can handle it either way. Here's how...

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

Take a look this folder.

It contains ten files — five RAW files, with blank icons forming a column on the right, and the five respective JPEGs saved at the moment of RAW capture.

You may want to import all ten into LR or, more likely, you will just import the RAW files without clogging up your Catalog excessively.

Perhaps you will keep the JPEG files for reference or simply for comfort.

Whatever your rhyme or reason, LR controls it all with the checking or unchecking of a simple box in the Preferences:


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG


Under the General tab, you will see a check box entitled:

"Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos"


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

By default, this is unchecked in Lightroom as it is, for most situations, the sensible option.

With this preference set, let's now import the folder of files above.

In the Import Module we see five files show up:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

These are just the RAW files. That's because we elected not to treat the RAW files as separate files...

...in effect, we asked LR to treat them as one and the same.

By proceeding with the import, we end up with the five RAW files in the Library, as expected:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

Now, click on one of the images to select it and go to the Develop module.

By the way, pressing 'D' on the keyboard is the shortcut to the Develop module.

Then, by pressing 'I' twice on the keyboard, you will see file and capture information about your photograph.

Here you will find that this is indeed the RAW file (in the DNG format requested during the import process).

However, also notice that LR has annotated '+ JPEG' on the end to remind you that you shot a JPEG file at the same time:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

Lightroom hasn't imported that JPEG file - it's not in the Library. This merely serves as a reminder that a corresponding JPEG file did exist at the time of import.

So, let's return to Preferences and try the other option: Checking the box:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

By repeating the import, we now see all ten files contained within the folder:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

This time, by proceeding with the import we now end up with all ten files in the Library... 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

...and the information shows us what we now know to be true — that each file is distinct and either RAW or JPEG:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Tutorial Importing RAW and JPEG

Note the difference in color between the two as well.

That's the difference between the camera's onboard processing from RAW to JPEG* and Lightroom's first assessment of the imported RAW file.

*Don't forget, whatever you select on the camera, it will always shoot a RAW file at the start of the capture process.

If you have selected 'JPEG' only on the camera, it will convert the RAW file to JPEG and then discard that initial RAW file...!


My Recommendation?

Uncheck the box, as described at the start of this tutorial.

This is Lightroom's default setting and for good reason.

If, down the line, you have 10,000+ RAW files in your Catalog, it is not a good idea to have to worry about and handle an additional 10,000+ JPEGs too!

If you need JPEGs, you can simply export appropriate files from your RAWs and the quality will be better too...!

As ever, I hope this has helped.

Do have a good look around on this site as the collection of material is steadily growing...




Return from LR3 RAW and JPEG to Lightroom 

Home




New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.









Like What You're
Seeing?


NEW!

Learn to think like
a photographer with
my new e-Course

Digital Photography Courses

Learn even more with
my latest eBook

how to use photoshop actions


Popular Articles


NEW!

What is Giclee Printing?

how to use photoshop actions

Learn How to Use
Photoshop Actions

How to Resize Images

How to Resize Images

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Import Module Tutorial

Lightroom 3
Importing Tutorial

resize photos for Facebook

Resize Photos
for Facebook

What is a Pixel?

What is a Pixel?

What is a Megapixel?

What is a Megapixel?

Digital Photography Terminology

Digital Photography Terminology

Black and White Photography Tip

No.1 Black and White
Photography Tip

Color Management Overview

Colour Management Overview

ICC Profile

What is an ICC Profile?

Backup System with SuperDuper!

Backup Your System!