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Jep Jepjep
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Lightroom 4: Beginner's questions regarding Jpeg quality, settings, and workflow etc.

Mar 9, 2012 12:57 PM

I am about to start editing photos, and using Lr (4) for the first time. Hence I have a plethora of questions regarding JPEGs and Lr 4. I apologize beforehand for the obscene length and possibly bad English.

 

I currently shoot RAW, but I have thousands of JPEGs. I would like to avoid losing the quality of those JPEGs (through resaving and recompressing needlessly), and be able to handle and edit them as efficiently as possible.

 

 

Could you please confirm or correct the following assumptions:

 

1. Lightroom 4 only resaves and recompresses JPEGs when you export them. Therefore, there are no losses to the quality no matter how much and how many times you edit them (either in Develop module or by altering metadata by adding keywords etc.) before exporting. Furthermore, the exported file is a copy and the original is left untouched, so you can keep working on the lossless photo in Lr.

 

2. Saving metadata (by saving manually or having the "Automatically write changes into XMP" -option on) to the XMP-space inside the JPEG file does not cause a resave and recompression of the JPEG in a way that would result in any loss of quality (it only modifies the non-image part of the file).

 

3. Point number 2 holds true even if you choose to include develop settings in the metadata by turning on "Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files".

 

4. Saving metadata to the JPEG alters modified date as shown in Finder. There is no setting or convenient way to avoid this.

 

5. "Automatically write changes into XMP" and "Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files" should be turned off, unless you also intend to edit those files in another program that understands the data (e.g. another copy of Lr, Photoshop, Bridge etc.).

 

6. Original JPEGs can be exported without recompressing and loss of quality by choosing to export as originals. In this case, no edits (white balance etc.) will be visible, but changes in metadata will be present (only) if the metadata has been saved in the JPEG as described in points 2 and 3.

 

7. JPEG files can be renamed on import or at a later point without recompression or loss of quality (even though this information is not only stored in Lr catalogue since the name is also changed in Finder etc.).

 

8. There are no advantages to converting a JPEG to a lossless format (e.g. DNG) if you plan on editing them only in Lr and then exporting the final versions.

 

9. Lens profiles only work on RAW images. However, you can alter the lens profiles to make them fully applicable to JPEGs as well. All you need to do is Change "True" to "False" in the following line of the XMP file:

[stCamera:CameraRawProfile] True [/stCamera:CameraRawProfile]

 

10. The JPEG file should never be resaved again as JPEG, but in Lr this is not even possible without exporting.

 

11. Creating virtual copies, moving between folders etc. doesn't cause recompression or loss of quality.

 

 

And a couple of additional questions:

 

A. Are there any (other) settings or practices I should be aware of or avoid in order to avoid losing JPEG quality?

 

B. Should the workflow with JPEGs differ in someway from RAW workflow in order to achieve maximum quality / efficiency.

 

C. Are there separate editing presets for JPEGs and RAWs? If so, can RAW presets be applied to JPEGs as long as the resulting look is pleasing?

 

D. Where could I find good JPEG lens profiles (for Pentax K-5 or Olympus XZ-1), free JPEG editing presets, and Lr tutorials on JPEG editing, such as how much you can tweak certain settings without going overboard etc.?

 

 

Thank you in advance!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2012 3:53 PM   in reply to Jep Jepjep

    1) Yes

     

    2) Yes

     

    3) Yes, this is only additional XMP-Data

     

    4) Yes (there is not)

     

    5) Yes, or if you want to import into another LR catalog by just using the images

     

    6a) Yes, without recompressing and loss of quality

    6b) No, saving metadata to file is not necessary, it's always included in a file exported as "Original"

     

    7) Yes, this only results in an O/S rename operation (besides updating the catalog)

     

    8) Yes

     

    9a) No, there are some lens profiles shipped with LR that work on JPEGs, and there might be some available to download

    9b) Yes, but the results might not be accurate, because the in-camera JPEG rendering in some cameras includes corrections, which are then already applied in the JPEG and might lead to double-correction if a Raw lens profile is applied to the JPEG (i.e. vignetting)

     

    10) Yes

     

    11) Yes

     

    A) Not that I know of (besides choosing the quality in Export)

     

    B) No

     

    Ca) No

    Cb) Yes

     

    Da) I can see the following JPEG lens profiles in the Adobe Lens Profile Downloader:
    capture_20120310_005030.png
    None for Olympus though. Try the Internet.

     

    Db) I don't know of any specific ones for JPEG, I'd try the internet.

     

    Beat

     

    P.S: Do I get 10 points for each of the questions, if the answer is correct? :-)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2012 4:23 PM   in reply to Jep Jepjep

    Hi Jep,

     

    I will try to answer your questions. Good that i do not need  to convert your attitude to shoot Raw i.o. JPEG - which I would try with almost missionary fervour .

    Unless you are a professional photographer with a dire need for utmost speed to deliver your images.

    You will always do a much better job in raw conversion using LR than your comparatively stupid camera will achieve - best of all: you have unlimited trials to do so, in as many versions as you fancy.

    Jep Jepjep wrote:

     

    I am about to start editing photos, and using Lr (4) for the first time. Hence I have a plethora of questions regarding JPEGs and Lr 4. I apologize beforehand for the obscene length and possibly bad English.

     

    I currently shoot RAW, but I have thousands of JPEGs. I would like to avoid losing the quality of those JPEGs (through resaving and recompressing needlessly), and be able to handle and edit them as efficiently as possible.

     

     

    Could you please confirm or correct the following assumptions:

     

    1. Lightroom 4 only resaves and recompresses JPEGs when you export them. CORRECT.

    Therefore, there are no losses to the quality no matter how much and how many times you edit them (either in Develop module or by altering metadata by adding keywords etc.) before exporting. Furthermore, the exported file is a copy and the original is left untouched, so you can keep working on the lossless photo in Lr.

    CORRECT. LR is just a database=catalog which contains instructions how to interpret an image file and what other metadata there are about it.

     

    2. Saving metadata (by saving manually or having the "Automatically write changes into XMP" -option on) to the XMP-space inside the JPEG file does not cause a resave and recompression of the JPEG in a way that would result in any loss of quality (it only modifies the non-image part of the file).

    CORRECT.

     

    3. Point number 2 holds true even if you choose to include develop settings in the metadata by turning on "Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files".

    CORRECT.

     

    4. Saving metadata to the JPEG alters modified date as shown in Finder. There is no setting or convenient way to avoid this.

    That is also my experience on win7. No idea if it could be avoided. Inside LR though you will always have the original capture date (Date Time original in EXIF)

     

    5. "Automatically write changes into XMP" and "Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files" should be turned off, unless you also intend to edit those files in another program that understands the data (e.g. another copy of Lr, Photoshop, Bridge etc.).

    Debatable. I have it turned off, because I feared it might slow down LR. Or that it might save something I do not mean it to.

    So usually I save to metadata manually, mostly twice: once after I deem myself ready with develop, another time after I deem it ready for metadata tagging. I select the image and hit ctrl s.

    This is also a sort of belt-and-braces in case my LR catalog would be lost, as I could recover most by reading from metadata in a new catalog. It also helps currently easing some bugs in LR3-to-LR4-conversion.

    CORRECT if those other programs should benefit from LR's result. If you invoke the other program within LR by "Edit in"-command (buggy at the moment!), you do not need to save to metadata before.

     

    6. Original JPEGs can be exported without recompressing and loss of quality by choosing to export as originals. In this case, no edits (white balance etc.) will be visible, but changes in metadata will be present (only) if the metadata has been saved in the JPEG as described in points 2 and 3.

    CORRECT. But if you have saved metadata it will also include your develop settings, apart from stuff that does not fit into xmp, like collection-membership, flags, or virtual copies (use snapshots instead).

     

    7. JPEG files can be renamed on import or at a later point without recompression or loss of quality (even though this information is not only stored in Lr catalogue since the name is also changed in Finder etc.).

    CORRECT.

     

    8. There are no advantages to converting a JPEG to a lossless format (e.g. DNG) if you plan on editing them only in Lr and then exporting the final versions.

    Not that I would know of. DNG is the safe long-term storage format for proprietary raw formats, in case you do not trust your camera vendor to support their format *forever* or in case you would be bothered by having xmp-sidecar files for saved metadata. I use it, especially as I dislike the camera vendor's raw conversion programs (be it Nikon or Canon in my case).

     

    9. Lens profiles only work on RAW images. However, you can alter the lens profiles to make them fully applicable to JPEGs as well. All you need to do is Change "True" to "False" in the following line of the XMP file:

    [stCamera:CameraRawProfile] True [/stCamera:CameraRawProfile]

    Assume so, but you need somebody else, a real proficient in camera profiles, for a definite answer.

     

    10. The JPEG file should never be resaved again as JPEG, but in Lr this is not even possible without exporting.

    CORRECT. This is a Photoshop-risk, impossible for LR.

     

    11. Creating virtual copies, moving between folders etc. doesn't cause recompression or loss of quality.

    CORRECT. Virtual copies are just a 2nd record in LR's database how alternatively to interpret the image it points to. Moving inside LR is tantamount to doing so in your OS (Finder), with the added benefit that LR's DB knows about it. Should you do it outside LR you have some effort to re-establish the pointing links. Which can be easy, if you move existing folders, but a real pain if you do some serious reordering in Finder...

     

    A. Are there any (other) settings or practices I should be aware of or avoid in order to avoid losing JPEG quality?

     

    B. Should the workflow with JPEGs differ in someway from RAW workflow in order to achieve maximum quality / efficiency.

     

    C. Are there separate editing presets for JPEGs and RAWs? If so, can RAW presets be applied to JPEGs as long as the resulting look is pleasing?

     

    D. Where could I find good JPEG lens profiles (for Pentax K-5 or Olympus XZ-1), free JPEG editing presets, and Lr tutorials on JPEG editing, such as how much you can tweak certain settings without going overboard etc.?

    I would ask some JPEG-professional to answer these questions.

    My JPEG-shooting days are over, so I have become a dummy about them...

    I consider JPEGS as so much *baked*, that anyhow not much good tweaking is possible. Getting them right in camera is the only safe bet.

     

    A photo journalist may help you, or some social photographer who needs to print/publish almost immediately to sell and thus needs to avoid raw images.

     

    Cornelia

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2012 6:44 PM   in reply to Jep Jepjep

    ... and the answers even match on most of the questions

     

    Beat

     
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