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Why I shoot JPG

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.

By the way, if you’re interested to read about how I set up my Fujifilm camera, I have written detailed descriptions here and here.

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.

Myanmar seller of eggplant in a local market

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.

A young man reaches for his tea in a local Sri Lanka tea shop - Pics Of Asia Black And White Photography

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. 

man in Vietnam selling banh bao on his smoking motorbike in front of Lang Co lagoon

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.

man in Vietnam on a small wooden boat with a light on the river near Hoi An

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.

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Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Lynda on May 31, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Thought provoking article Etienne. I have thousands of photos that I haven’t gone through as they are raw and need to be edited. And what do I want them for? Family photo albums and a few nice photos framed on the wall! Maybe it’s time for me to accept photography is just one of many of my interests and I would get more enjoyment and use out of it if I shot in jPg. I’m definitely going to give it a try – even though I don’t have a Fuiji! ?

    • Etienne on May 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Yes it does simplify the process, but as I explained in the article I would shoot Jpg on any other cameras as I would need to edit the images anyway.

  2. David Pollock on May 31, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I appreciate your ‘honesty’ and ‘candid’ view of the ‘Reality’, regarding your own personal ‘rationale’, as a photography!:> ‘CyberDave’ (David Pollock)
    *I ‘ditto’ each and every one of your points of personal photographic applications!

  3. David on June 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    ” I am a photographer, not a retoucher.” I agree with that. Congrats.

    • Etienne on June 2, 2018 at 9:27 am

      I had my time when I was learninig PS and spent a lot of time editing, but never felt in my element doing it. Being feet in the mud taking photos of farmers at sunrise, that’s what drives me!

  4. Itamar Levy on June 1, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Etienne,
    I enjoy reading your articles, reviews and tutorials!
    As Fuji shooter I try to use the Jpegs as much as possible as I hate post processing…
    Can you please share with us your recipes for Fuji Jpegs set up?

    • Etienne on June 5, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Hi Itamar, thanks for your comment. My Jpg setup is fairly simple: I use Classic Chrome film simulation most of the time while playing around with the manual white balance (which is great to play with on Fuji cameras). During blue hour (before sunrise and after sunset) I often switch to Velvia to saturate the colours more.

    • Etienne on June 5, 2019 at 11:31 am

      Hi Itamar, it’s fairly simple: I use classic chrome film simulation most of the time while having fun with the manual white balance. During the blue hour, I switch to Velvia to bring more saturation in my skies. You should check out my latest Fuji Xt3 review where I explain a lot of my setup. https://www.picsofasia.com/fujifilm-xt3-review/

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