Why shoot RAW + JPEG ?
This question has been answered countless times (see sources below). But as a summary, I believe there are three kind of photographers who shoot RAW + JPEG :
- Those who start to shoot RAW and still want to feel safe with the JPEG available
- Those who want to mostly use RAW but can occasionally use JPEG files
- Those who want to mostly use JPEG but can occasionally use RAW files
Keep in mind that a photographer needs RAW file mainly to:
- Take advantage of a higher dynamic,
- Enjoy more capabilities in noise management,
- Fix or adjust the white balance like needed.
RAW in this image is needed for both the overall dynamic range of the image and to adjust the white balance.
However, in this case, the RAW file is not really bringing that much value and a photographer could decide to keep only the JPEG File: white balance is good, no noise for a low ISO image like this, and limited contrast means dynamic range not that big: very few clipped or burnt parts in the JPEG file.
Those who shoot RAW + JPEG don’t really need both files.
They will certainly not post-process both. One of the other only. If you mostly post-process RAW, you can archive or delete the JPEG ones. And conversely, if you mostly post-process JPEG, you will archive or delete the RAW files. In this case, you will post-process RAW only if you need to.
But it can be tedious to go through the whole photo shoot to decide which images deserve the RAW files, and for which one RAW file is not needed.
It would be cool to automate the process, whatever your choice.
Automation of the culling for RAW + JPEG shooters
Automation of the culling process means moving in a dedicated directory all files you don’t want to process but keep them in case of.
So, for the RAW+JPEG shooter who rarely process JPEG, that’s trivial: you just have to move all JPEG files to the archiving directory and use them when needed.
But for the one who rarely process RAW, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be very helpful. Because otherwise, the culling process means decide whether “I will need the RAW or not really”.
AI can analyse each image and decide:
- Whether RAW file dynamics is needed,
- Whether noise level requires RAW file,
- If the white balance requires adjustments.
The last one looks challenging right? But if you think about it, it is not impossible at all when you know how AI works. If you train the model with dozens of thousands of images, it can learn which image is very likely to have the white balance to be adjusted and which one does not. And remember, user can always decide to supersede a decision taken by AI if it does not like it . If this is very rare, there will be real added value to automate this process.
What matters is whether the decision makes sense really most of the time to help you during the culling process.
This rationale has been implemented into the software Futura Photo to help people culling RAW + JPEG files very quickly. The app will define a score for the image given its noise level, contrast / dynamic range and white balance and will decide whether the RAW file is needed or if the JPEG will suffice for the post-process. The model can “score” an image and decide whether RAW file is likely to be needed.
You can try it yourself for free by downloading a community edition of Futura Photo.
And if you have no more than 4 minutes, you can have a look at this video: