An image describing my problem:
'edits' = Edits made in develop mode.
'CR2' = My RAW image file format.
I have existing CR2's with edits for them saved in Lightroom.
I want to replace the CR2's with JPG's, and do nothing else. I want those JPG's to inherit the CR2's edits, but I DO NOT want the edits to be permanently applied to the image.
If I export the CR2's (which have edits) to JPG's, the edits will be permanently applied to them. I do not want this.
If I export the CR2's to JPG's without the edits, I have no way of getting the edits back and will have to redo the work if I use that photo again.
Any solutions? I've been trying for a while and have no idea how to do this.
Q: Why not keep the CR2's?
A: I am uploading these files to an online host (S3) as my primary storage method and uploading CR2's takes way too long with my internet speeds. Furthermore, online storage costs money.
Q: Why not shoot with JPGs instead of shooting raw?
A: I do my initial edits with the raw files and then archive them as JPG's to save storage space. They won't be raw anymore if I apply future edits, but I still have the option of retouching them from the 'original' state and still have my old edits preserved.
Probably the best thing for you to do is simply use lossy DNG format (e.g. export as, or convert to..): raw data is re-formatted with jpeg compression (full-rez or reduced-rez), but all raw settings apply.
If you insist on trying to have a true jpeg file with (mostly) raw settings, then:
The simplest way I can think of to do it without a script or plugin:
* Reset the raw photo (consider preserving things that don't translate well, like profile-based lens corrections and white balance).
* Export jpeg
* Un-reset the image (e.g. using edit history or pre-reset snapshot).
* Sync settings from raw to jpeg (note: omit settings that don't transfer well, or that were not reset..).
* Optionally: Delete raw
To automate/streamline would require a script or plugin.