Workflow, Printing & File Formats


Articles on:

  1. Workflow and Printing in PS CS6
  2. PS Shortcuts to Speed up Workflow

Epson Printing: Workflow and Color Management


  1. Using Lightroom 5 and PS CS6
  2. B&H Workflow


File Formats: RAW, JPEG, TIF

RAW:  The photographer’s power tool–it’s hard to overemphasize just how powerful they are. Raw files are minimally processed data from the sensor, which you convert to finished RGB images using special software on your computer.


  • Highest potential image quality.

  • Depending on your raw-conversion program, you can make extensive changes to image parameters such as & exposure, white balance, tone curve, and sharpening.


  • Images are unfinished, so they need to be converted to another format for printing and posting on the Web, which is often a time-consuming process.

  • Raw formats are proprietary and usually camera-specific and are often not supported by image editors and other software.


  1. requires special software to process
  2. uncompressed image file (preserves more fine details)
  3. has a higher dynamic range (greater shadow and highlight display)
  4. allows maximum control in post-processing (adjust contrast and sharpness)
  5. allows you to change white balance later without any loss of quality
  6. greater image control to change exposure, saturation, sharpness, curves, etc with less quality loss than you’d experience with JPEG
  7. larger file size means you’ll fill up your memory card faster, and it’ll take longer to download images to your computer
  8. is a proprietary format, meaning that each camera brand has it’s own version
      1. For example, Adobe digital RAW format DNG,  Nikon calls it’s RAW format NEF, and Canon calls it’s RAW format CR2


  • Produces artifacts and causes loss of detail that may be difficult to notice at low compression ratios but gets progressively worse as compression increases.


  • Almost universally supported by imaging programs such as browsers. Sorting, viewing, and cataloging are quick and easy.
  • A lossy, compressed file format. Lossy means that actual image data is discarded to increase the compression ratio.


  • Can achieve very large reductions in file size; the resulting smaller files take up less drive and media space and transmit much faster.
  • JPEGs have limited capability to alter or reverse the effects of in-camera settings such as white balance, tone curve, or sharpening.


  • any post-processing will result in quality loss (especially exposure adjustments)
  • smaller file size means you can fit more on a memory card (usually twice as many), and you’ll download images faster to your computer
  • allows you to shoot significantly more shots in a burst
  • a standard format readable by any image program on the market or available open source
  • exactly 8-bits per color (12-bits per location)
  • compressed (by looking for redundancy in the data like a ZIP file or stripping out what human can’t perceive like a MP3)
  • lower in dynamic range
  • higher in contrast
  • immediately suitable for immediate printing, sharing, or posting on the Web.

Why RAW usually makes more sense

JPEG is an image distribution format. It’s important to remember that the JPEG format was originally created to compress images and make them easier to transport over the Internet.

RAW is an image capture format. It was created to give you maximum control in the digital darkroom. To get the highest quality images, this digital darkroom is very useful in making small corrections to the image (e.g. color temperature, curves, etc).

Shooting in RAW usually makes the most sense, if your goal is to get the highest quality image possible. It’s especially important for landscape shots, where white balance is often a problem.


In some situations shooting JPEG is a better solution, especially when you need to take more images with limited space on a card. RAW files take longer to save.

When is this useful? Wildlife. Sporting Events. Any time you’re photographing a quick moving subject, you can significantly increase your chances of getting a sharp photo by simply taking more shots.

TIFF Files:

  • A TIFF file, or TIF file, stands for Tagged Image File Format.
  • TIF files are a common file format for images, especially those used on graphic design.
  • The file extension for a TIFF file is either .tiff or .tif.
  • TIFF files can be saved without compression, or they can be compressed to lower file size, similar to JPG files.
  • TIFF files are commonly used in print design and desktop publishing because they can store large, high quality images such as photos.


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