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The Best Photo I’ve Ever Taken Was a JPEG

Alright, I don’t know if it’s the best photo I’ve ever taken, but it’s one of my favorites and it’s been the most popular photo I’ve posted recently on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s a pretty standard belief in photography that if you’re a serious photographer, you have to shoot RAW. Many people will sneer just at the thought of shooting in JPEG. If you’re familiar with popular YouTuber Jared Polin, you will be aware that he always wears bold T-shirts which in large, bold lettering proudly claim ‘I SHOOT RAW.’

Let’s please not get elitist about such things. Yes, RAW is generally better and gives you much more flexibility, choices, and control. I’m not going to go into all the benefits of RAW here or why you should shoot RAW over JPEG, as there is plenty of info out there for that.

But let’s consider what’s really important in photography.

When I am doing street photography, just walking around my local area and looking for things to photograph day to day, just for practice and my own enjoyment, I shoot in JPEG. This is because it’s quick and easy and I don’t have to spend hours editing photos that I won’t be putting in my portfolio or printing large prints from or selling to clients.

JPEGs are great just to encourage you to take more photos, practice more, and focus on the actual photography and the art of taking photos.

All that being said, when I arrived in the Lake District recently to photograph sunrise, I forgot at first to switch my camera back to RAW. When I eventually realized, I was really concerned that during the best light of the day I had been shooting JPEG instead of RAW. I was worried that I wouldn’t then get a great image or the result that I wanted.

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