Explaining Differences between JPEG and RAW

Currently almost every camera makes it possible for you to shoot both in JPEG and RAW. Taking photos in good old JPEG seems right and really hassle-free—giving you almost the same scope of possibilities as RAW—and makes many amateur and professional photographers never try RAW. 

And though it's only up to you to decide whether this or that thing is more convenient to you, RAW is really worth checking out. Giving you a lot more freedom in post-processing, it's not that difficult to manage as opposed to the widespread misbeliefs. Let's find out what the actual differences between the two are.


JPEG, also JPG, is the standard photo file format and is considered to be the easiest to deal with. JPEG photos are higher in contrast and sharpness, have 8 bits of color, can be opened with any image software, and are ready to be printed straight away. 

Well, it doesn't sound bad at all. So why to try shoot in RAW?

The thing is that—apart from these advantages—photos shot in JPEG are automatically processed by your camera's firmware and therefore they might lack just exactly what you need.


By default, all DSLRs shoot in RAW and only then convert it to JPEG. It leads to deletion of certain pixels that won't make too much difference to the human's eye, leading to worse coloring and lower quality. Due to his compression in JPEG, this file format can have only 256 shades of each color, whilst RAW can help you get 4096 or 16384 shades.

Another thing is that photos taken in JPEG won't let you do enough post-processing and save certain photos that you might have saved. Settings that you apply on your camera to JPEGs will simply remain there forever and you will only be able to trim it but not make any significant improvements.


RAW is a proprietary format of photo files—except for Adobe's DNG that we will review soon—that you cannot open unless you have a special software program installed. These programs may be Adobe Photoshop, The Adobe Bridge, and Lightroom as well as other software.

Most RAWs have 12 bit of color and less sharpness and contrast, are higher in dynamic range, come completely uncompressed, and are lossless. Because they are the true thing recorded by the camera sensor, they will look flat and dark without post-processing.


When you shoot in RAW, your camera records the real unmasked data from your camera sensor and makes it possible to work wonders through post-processing and change almost everything.

  • Complete white balance customization.
  • Advanced color adjustment.
  • Exposure improvements.

Mind though that RAWs require more space on your camera's flash card and take longer to be saved, which may influence the time of capturing a photo. The photo capturing time may be an important thing, especially if you do sports photography, but often there are only two things that a photographer needs to aspire to. Skills and quality.

Apply these awesome techniques to shoot distinctive photos that people will love, use our platform to sell them, and earn at least 70% of the photo value. Become a KeepSnap independent photographer and go out today to snap people around you and earn a living. It's completely free for photographers.