Image Clarification


JPEG files Produced by the Camera


When images are captured in JPEG format, their appearance has already been pre-determined and conformed to a standard color balance and linear (straight line) tonal shape.


The moment a JPEG image is saved onto the camera's memory card, its color is already determined by camera's white balance settings in the camera at the time that the image is capture. In the same way, the image's contour or tonal balance is determined by the shutter speed, aperture opening, and the scene’s brightest light.


Considering the thousands of possible color/tone interpertations for each photo captured, JPEG images present cookie-cutter renditions that put serious restrictions on changes. IF the image is captured under fairly average lighting and standard colors, JPEG interpretations can produce very nice results. But IF these ideal conditions do not exist, adjustments are quite restricted.


To my way of thinking, choosing JPEG formatting is like settling for pre-formed chicken nuggets instead of enjoying an entire chicken. More accurately, JPEG file settings abridge an image in the same way that Reader's Digest abridges a book; presenting little more than an limited overview of the full text.

JPEG image files are smaller RAW image files because they contain a mere fraction of the image data captured by the camera. Every camera captures images in RAW file format as well as a single interpretation of RAW image data called a JPEG image.

JPEG vs RAW Image Processing

RAW files Produced by the Camera


RAW is not an acronym, it is more of a description, and it refers to all of the recorded color and dynamic range of the original scene captured by your camera. The camera's RAW image file should be adjusted in Lightroom or Camera Raw. Adjustments include: highlight, quartertone, midtone, three-quarter tone, shadow, color balance, and preliminary sharpening. These preliminary  adjustments should be saved before the image is opened in Photoshop.



Final JPEG files Produced from RAW Camera Files


Once the edited image file is opened inside Photoshop, the image is then resized to the final print size, set to the appropriate proper resolution, and final sharpening applied. Only THEN should the file be saved as a (minimum quality 8) JPEG file ready to be placed in InDesign page makeup software.