Photo Answers
Digital Camera World|April 2020
Photo Answers
Befuddled by burst rates? Gone loco over a lens? Send your technique and camera questions to digitalcamera@futurenet.com

JPEG panic

Q I use Lightroom to develop my raws, but the other day I accidentally shot a whole day with my camera set to JPEG instead of raw. Can I still process them in Lightroom, or am I stuck with the JPEGs as they are? Andy Cooper

A For starters, don’t panic: we’ve all done this at some time or another, and a Large JPEG setting will give you a quality file that can still be taken further. You can load the JPEGs into Lightroom just as you would the raws, and use all the sliders as you would for a raw file.

The difference, of course, is that the amount of post-processing you can do is limited, because a compressed JPEG file retains less information than a raw file. But, as long as you haven’t badly overexposed or underexposed your images, you will be able to further enhance your JPEGs by improving colour vibrance or contrast globally as well as making localised adjustments using Lightroom’s editing brushes.

Unfortunately, if your JPEGS files are very over- or underexposed, you will find the amount of detail you can recover can be seriously compromised. I’m hopeful that you were careful with your exposure, Andy, and therefore this isn’t an issue. The amount of White Balance adjustment you can make is also affected, but you can still warm-up or cool down your photo with the WB slider.

I’d always recommend shooting raw over JPEG – but as long as you weren’t lazy with your exposure, there is no real reason to think the entire shoot is wasted. There are some advantages to shooting JPEGs: they’ll be quicker to transfer from card to computer, and take up less storage room too. But before you do anything else, make sure you set your camera back to raw!

Wild about backgrounds

Q I am really starting to get into wildlife photography, but I’m struggling to make my subjects stand out from the background. Can you give me any advice on how to do this? Tina Morris

A I could probably write a book on this, Tina, but there are lots of simple things you can think about when you are out in the field.

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April 2020