The answer is abruptly simple: I shoot Jpeg because I shoot Fuji.
Obviously being a Fuji shooter isn’t the only reason, and there are several more that I have listed below. Writing this made me realize that shooting Jpeg is only suitable for a certain type of photographer, so you may have many different other reasons not to shoot Jpeg.
But here is why I do.
1- The beautiful Fuji Jpg
I have been a happy Fuji shooter for the past two years and I have been shooting Jpeg ever since for my Travel photography. I love the camera, first (as I wrote in this detailed review) but I also love the film simulation modes. I mostly shoot in Classic Chrome mode, which you can probably tell by looking at my pictures, and this film simulation creates beautiful results for the photography style I love. It desaturates the colours a little bit and creates some interesting tints and hues in the sky and the water.
Shooting over the water makes textures look like they are already printed on metallic photo paper. It adds a little bit of contrast to the image so this is something I do not need to do in post-processing.
Shooting very early morning or late afternoon, the Velvia film simulation saturates the colours in the sky for much more dramatic backgrounds.
The Canon Jpg’s have never seemed very exciting to me and I never thought about not shooting RAW on my 5D Mark3. You know, there’s the “maybe today” thing. Today you may be taking the revolutionary photo that will change everything and be printed on buildings. You may need the RAW file. But the more I shoot and the more I believe in the power of a body of work.
2- Because this is not commercial work
I use my Fujifilm Xt-2 for my Travel photography and for weddings (which I combine with my good old Canon bodies) only. This is not commercial work, that I may need to spend a lot of time editing, or delivering huge files for massive prints. I am not a landscape photographer and I do not need my files to have such a huge dynamic range.
I photograph mostly people by getting close to them and interact. I rarely crop my images, shooting with prime lenses. This is actually the same reason why I do not shoot full frame anymore. I do not need the resolution for my Travel work.
3- Because my images are mostly consumed via social media
Apart from having a small photo gallery in Hoi An, my images are mostly consumed online. I use them to illustrate my tutorials, my blog posts, to promote my tours and on social media.
I do meet a lot of photographers who care a lot about resolution, big lenses and super sharpness, and only post their photos on Instagram. No one is going to zoom on your picture on Instagram. Sorry to say, but no one is going to look at your image more than 5 seconds, given the number of images we are constantly bombarded with.
So why carrying heavy camera gear and shoot RAW if I don’t do plan to do huge prints? I print my images taken on the Fuji in A2 size and they look perfect. Maybe for an exhibition, you’re thinking. But I don’t do that either.
4- Because I post process my images to a minimum
I do really enjoy coming back from a photo trip or starting a photo review after a day of shooting. A nice chair, a good hot coffee, and going through the photos just taken. This is an exciting time to see whether we nailed the shot we had in mind or not.
But once I have done my selection on Lightroom (and cursed myself many times), I do not want to spend 3 more hours editing photos one by one. I do not have the time for that and it is not something I love doing. I edit all the images I use, of course, but only playing with the histogram, the contrast, clarity and the Luminance. I have one preset for colour images and one preset for black and white.
Once a development preset is selected, it takes me 30 seconds to refine the adjustments. Et voila.
This is the reason why I love the Classic Chrome film simulation mode, it creates photos that I already like and do not wish to modify.
Plus, photographing people doesn’t require as much post processing as landscape or night photography for example. I like to brighten the oranges with the Luminance when faces are in my image but I never do local adjustments (except removing dust spots or unwanted small distractions in my background).
On top of that, I am always up very early in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy the best light of the day, which means I do not need to recover the shadows or highlights a lot. I am a photographer, not a retoucher.
5- Because one memory card is enough
I still carry several memory cards with me but will easily spend a couple of days on a very busy photography workshop with only one memory card. And because I upload my images to my laptop every day, that really is enough. Also, the Xt-2 has two memory card slots so I am covered.
Because I am a Travel photographer focusing on people and do not make my living selling huge prints, I do not have a reason to shoot RAW on my Fuji Camera. The Xt-2 creates beautiful Jpeg images that satisfy my tastes and style… For the moment.