Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

jpg from your camera is not something you can sell!!!

with 10 comments

I met a business person from Moscow who liked my work and she asked me for advice about their photographer. She told me that she hired a photographer to do a portrait of their director and photographer submit her a CD with 400 images.

Don’t ever do that!

JPG produced by your camera is – as I call it – half-product. And if their is something worse then a generically produced jpg that is 400 generically produced jpg’s!

If I can understand photojournalists who have to submit images immediately, I certainly don’t understand laziness of all other photographers who do photography half way, and by some coincidence they are the one who are complaining all the time about prices, jobs, clients, colleagues, younameit,…

I don’t understand photographers who are treating their work in such a manner. Selecting your images is not only part of the job you are payed for, but also crucial for yourself as an author. I shoot solely in raw files and each file that I pass on to magazine or other client I check and make some adjustments, that are necessary.

Anyhow here is how I work. Picture above is too dark and back lit. You don’t have to own an expensive computer or calibrated monitor to figure out that face that is made out C47%, M58%, Y42% and K12% is way too dark! Normal skin tone should be C0%, M30%, Y40% and K 0% or with other words:

So here is a minute of work with retouching. I couldn’t took all the cyan out, because the face is in the shadow and shadow is as we all know cyanish. I’m not an expert in preparation of images for print, but that simple rule helps me a lot.


Written by Borut Peterlin

28 September, 2008 at 15:45

10 Responses

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  1. Good post. I agree that the photographer mentioned acted in an amateur manner (give a client 400 photos for one portrait?), though I don’t think JPGs are always a half-product. I also prefer to use RAW whenever possible, but sometimes it’s just not necessary – I recently took a portrait of a friend for some printed article, we were in a rush but we had the advantage of good side lighting. I took around 20-30 photos, playing with different amounts of fill light and a couple of different angles, and a few of the shots were very good, with one standing out as excellent. I doubt I could have made it any better had I used RAW – even if I had the time. Though it must be said that I wasn’t getting paid – it was more of a favour 🙂


    28 September, 2008 at 19:20

  2. True,
    generic jpg could be good but it will never be as good as raw. disk space is not an excuse, speed of camera is not an excuse (I’m doing photojournalism with 5D), so RAW IS THE LAW. Check this crop from raw.

    Borut Peterlin

    28 September, 2008 at 21:12

  3. I agree. I was at the other site though. A photojurnalist made an article about an event, where my products were selling and took some shots of my work as well and I was a bit sceptical the way she was shooting and than she said don’t worry I’ll correct them in Photoshop. But I don’t realy think she did anything to them. She either doesn’t have a sence of correct exposure or they didn’t take that chepter at school yet. She did not impress me as a photographer and I wouldn’t hire her for the next job, if I was in a position of selecting.


    29 September, 2008 at 11:33

  4. thx, for the comments!

    Borut Peterlin

    29 September, 2008 at 12:33


    I don’t agree 😉 Working for weekly newspaper, when you need to send one single photo from event, is one thing. Working for agency, where you need to send 20+ photos, and they need to be there 20mins ago already, is another thing.
    But even in first case, why to bother with raw, when you can easily do this with jpeg and pocket pc, especially when all together is in newspaper.
    But on the other side, I also agree with you at some point. Raw is perfect solution for some things, just not for everything.


    30 September, 2008 at 12:10

  6. Primož I said:
    “If I can understand photojournalists who have to submit images immediately,….”

    Raw + small jpg is perfect solution for all scenarios. and believe me raw or raw + jpg does not make a difference in storage place or in time for processing. Remember I’m photojournalist too and just now I need to submit news images on Patria 8×8 AMV. Sure I work for weekly magazine and they do not (can not) demand images immediately because they didn’t supply us with palm computer, but I do submit images in next few hours.

    The main thing is photographers attitude to his work. You can do only for what you are payed for and get one time publication in a newspaper in shitty quality, or you can do that + treat every picture that you take as potentially the best picture you ever took, a picture that will be admired by generation, that will make a change, that will be a piece of art in dimension 20x30m.

    Borut Peterlin

    30 September, 2008 at 19:04

  7. Borut don’t understand me wrong 🙂 I went through this raw vs. jpeg debate too many times, that I would want to start another one, especially because there’s no real winner in this.
    I agree we should all do our best, and not to be happy with any crap we produce, just because it’s suppose to be good enough, and because our clients have no other option, so they even publish it.
    I also agree, we should treat every photo we take as maybe best photo we will ever take. But realistically, I think there’s many events we cover, and won’t have any historical, news or even art value after week/month or two, when particular event won’t be news anymore.
    PS: When minutes do matter, copying 1GB or 5GB of images make difference. That’s why I think jpeg has its benefits, and raw has its benefits. And then it’s up to us to decide which one to use for which purpose.


    30 September, 2008 at 19:41

  8. Ej Primož,
    cool site. Did you run your own server?

    Borut Peterlin

    30 September, 2008 at 20:44

  9. Hi Borut

    No I don’t run it on my own server, yet. But there’s not much difference with running it on my server or not. At least the way I have things arranged now 🙂


    2 October, 2008 at 09:37

  10. What service do you use? I use

    Borut Peterlin

    2 October, 2008 at 10:38

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