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Saving Digital File Types September 29 2016, 0 Comments

Before I did my research, I would save all of my files as JPEG’s. I didn’t know any better, and it was the only file type on the long list of “Save As” options that I could recognize. The “Save As” list is a bit intimidating but once you know the uses for each type, it becomes a lot easier and you’ll be able to save your images for your intended use.

Now I don’t mean to rat on JPEG images right off the bat, because they do have many good purposes. JPEG or Joint Photographic Experts Group, compresses the files and is universally the most supported file type. JPEGs are great for sharing on social media, e-mails, web, and photo kiosks. You would rarely have troubles with the computer reading the format.

The downside to JPEG is that it is compressed and lossy. This means that when you save an image to a JPEG, the file is made smaller and information is lost. Furthermore, every time you open that file after saving it, information is lost and overtime there will be a significant quality degradation, which makes it really bad when your export is not the final export.

If you have a camera that can shoot in RAW, always always always shoot in camera RAW! RAW files record everything that the camera sensor reads and are digital negatives so they have flexibility and depth to them afterword. The best part about it is that if you mess up, the original pixels will always be there to go back to.

RAW files are not working files, they are huge, and are not very compatible, but they are good to save in a hard drive for safekeeping if you ever need to go back.


TIFF or Tagged Image File Format is the file that we like best here at Lumiere Photo. It is uncompressed and lossless. It is great for saving a working file because it holds the full size of the image and will also keep layers that you have made in Photoshop. That way you can easily go back into the program and keep working on it later.

PSD or Photoshop Document is very similar to a TIFF in the way that it is uncompressed and lossless. The only major difference is that PSD files can only be used with Adobe programs and are not supported elsewhere.

PNG is a lossless file type that is mostly used for large images online. GIF is a compressed file that is mostly used for small images or animation online. Large Document Format, BMP, Compu Serve GIF, Dicom, IFF, PCX, Pixar, Portable Bit Map, Scitex CT, Targa, and others that are more specific to where it can be opened.

There are a lot of different file types but if you know what suits your workflow best it becomes much less confusing. Just remember to keep a lossless version of the file so that when you want to print it big you can.

Have more questions? Call and we’ll chat: 585-461-4447