The files, which are types and how to work with them

Photographing the timeAt the present time the photographs are stored in our digital cameras. Like computers, photographs are organized into what we call files. A file has a name (often the camera generated based on how you took) and extension. The extension tells us what kind of file it is, because although all are images, there are several kinds of files. For example DSCF2255_web.jpg  tell us that the picture is called DSCF2255_web and jpg is the extension.

Now we come to understand that to me, are the most useful files for photographers:

  • RAW:

This format is present in the cameras with minimal performance. It’s the closest thing to work in analogue format. RAW type files are the most flexible and therefore more desirable to work. In postproduction, if we work with this type of file you can adjust the white balance, recover detail in areas where exposure is unsuccessful, etc.. Another advantage is that it is a non-destructive file, meaning that the changes are not made on the RAW file but will on an output file. Now talk about it.

  • TIFF:

It is the highest quality file, recommended for professional finishing, large print, etc..They also occupy a substantial size, due to the great amount of detail included. Here I cannot change white balance, and colour space, etc..

  • JPEG:

It is the most common. You can have a good quality depending on the settings you choose. Takes up less space than TIFF. As in TIFF, I cannot make changes to the white balance or other parameters. This format is lost, i.e. it may lose information if I reduce its size (compression).

That said, what format should I choose on the camera?

The answer, in general terms, if our camera allows the RAW format is the best. The cameras usually offer a choice in RAW or JPEG (in different sizes). Certainly takes more size than the JPEG therefore need more capacity on the cards, but we will lose speed much more flexibility when working. It’s also possible to shoot in both RAW + JPEG, but logically deal much more memory. If I cannot work in RAW, JPEG maximum quality it’s a good choice.

The only case that is more advisable to work in JPEG be in sports or photojournalism. Photojournalists can send the photo in JPEG Publisher and there can make a frolic directly if needed. We must also say that in sports photography, the speed of the camera when capturing photos is key.

Other concepts:

• Bit Depth: A bit is the basic information in digital environments. For simplicity we can say that the more bits it, and as much detail in our images will have. Currently photos can be 8 or 16 bits.

• Pixel: A pixel is the basic unit of graphic information.

• Resolution: the number of pixels divided by space. Against higher the number, the more we can do impressions.

• Colour Space: is the way you play on the monitor and printer colours. There are three types: Adobe RGB (more complete), sRGB (possibility of losing small details in press) and ProPhoto (very complex to use).


The workflow is what to do with the images once captured on camera. The first thing I do is a quick selection on the camera itself. If you do not convince me delete.

The second step is to dump them on the pc and here I am looking for a picture like and step by retouch. I adjust the white balance, the turn into black and white, focus, etc..

The result turns it into TIFF format. Always, and with the following settings:

• Space AdobeRGB

• 16 Bits

• 300 points per inch

From here, if I want to hang the picture on my website, step by JPEG format with a size of approximately 1MB. And if I want to prepare it for printing, but also the way to JPEG but maximum size.

Another thing to consider is safety. I always make two copies, one on an external hard drive and a DVD. I think it’s worth investing in hard drives and DVD quality.

This is all for today, thanks for reading.

About David Cucalón

About me: I began to make shots in 2008, with Olympus E-510. I like a several kinds of photos, but my favourites are motorsport, first plane, macro and urban shots. I think that digital age make more easy and accessible photography for a lot of people. I’m expect you enjoy with my gallery and feel free to make constructive critics. Welcome to my world. Sobre mí: Empecé a tomar fotografías en el año 2008, con una Olympus E-510. Me gustan diferentes tipos de fotos, pero mis favoritas son competiciones automovilísticas, primeros planos, macros y ciudades. Pienso que la era digital ha hecho más fácil y accesible la fotografía a muchas personas. Espero que disfrutes con mi galería, y siéntete libre para hacer críticas constructivas. Bienvenido a mi mundo
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