In Praise of JPEG

A fun idea for your photography:

For a month, experiment just shooting only JPEG (no post-processing) — and see if this helps librate you in photography!

The future of photography is editing (selecting your photos)

This is my theory:

In today’s modern digital photography world, we are drowning in a sea of images– we have too many photos to look through!

In a recent post I wrote, I believe:

The future of photography is editing.

When I say ‘editing’ — I mean the art of image-selection (not post-processing). While post-processing is fun, it is time-consuming. And I don’t know about you, but often I get so overwhelmed by my backlog of photos to look through, I delay it as long as possible (because I get overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable thousands of pictures I must trudge through).

Keep it simple, silly

I like JPEG. I love the colors that your camera produces when you shoot JPEG. I also like it that when you shoot JPEG, and when you review your photos on your screen afterwards, ‘What you see is what you get.’ Not only that, but when you shoot with an electronic viewfinder or an LCD screen, you can instantly see what you’re about to photograph.

Sometimes when I shoot RAW and import it into Lightroom, I get a jarring feeling of ‘cognitive dissonance’ of:

That is not what I imagined my pictures to look like!

This is because when you shoot in RAW, when it is first importing into Lightroom (it appears as a JPEG), then converts into the (lifeless) RAW format.

I still think RAW is good, especially if you need more fine-tuned detail. But frankly speaking, in today’s busy world — ain’t nobody got time to waste time post-processing RAW files. I am a big fan of Lightroom presets (download my Eric Kim PRESETS) for free. A tip: apply presets to your RAW pictures UPON importing your photos in Lightroom.

Anyways, this is my suggestion:

Seek to make your photographic process as simple as possible, in order for you to maximize what is truly important to you.

What I like in photography

For myself, I prefer to shoot, experiment with compositions, and interact with my subjects and fellow photographers. Thus I like to teach workshops to share my passion of photography with other (real life) photographers. I also have been recently shooting all of my pictures on a Lumix G9, Leica 12mm f/1.4 lens (24mm full frame equivalent), in ‘intelligent auto mode’ (IA MODE), and all in JPEG! This has been very fun; it has sped up my photographic workflow at least 10x!!!

To be honest moving forward, I see myself shooting RAW less and less– JPEG’s already look awesome.

Just do what simplifies your life (for the better)

There isn’t a right or wrong way to pursue photography. Just do what you enjoy.

But all the advice I’m giving you is this:

Know that there are many options in photography.

There is this weird thing online when people think that if you want to be a ‘pro’ or “legitimate” photographer, you must shoot with a fancy camera, fancy lenses, shoot RAW, shoot fully-manual, etc. I say just keep your photographic simple and pure — and shoot what you enjoy, in a way that you enjoy!

Photograph should never be painful. It should be fun, interesting, engaging, and playful!

So as a fun experiment:

Only shoot JPEG for a month, and see how it is.

You can use different JPEG presets in-camera. You can just keep your settings simple (shoot in P, program mode).

Keep it simple, and when in doubt,


Never stop shooting,