Using Your Photos

In the old days of digital, it was easy. To be honest, the files were so low resolution that there wasn’t a lot that you could do with them. Now, with social media, different types of printing, and mobile viewers, the end results involve a lot of decision making. Now that you have actually photographed something, decide what to do with it.

File formats from the camera

All modern cameras come with the option of creating RAW files or JPG files. RAW files are just what they sound, the raw data of the photograph without any adjustment. Its very much a “what you see is what you get” format. A JPG is a compressed format which makes the image smaller, but doesn’t include as much data. Both are common file types, but are meant for very different uses.

  • RAW– Every camera company uses their own RAW format, but its all the same idea. It includes all data and allows more in-depth data that can be edited. For example, if your photo has shadows in it, the RAW file will typically let you bring out the detail and information in the shadows, while a JPG won’t.
  • JPG– JPGs are compressed images. These work well in web pages because they can be seen easily in browser and the file sizes are small. While this is great for the web, The files are typically not meant for printing as they don’t have the resolution or data that are needed.

Use Your Photos Online

Most people post their photos online. Typically for social media like Facebook or Instagram, but it might be for photo sites such as or Flickr. For these uses, you will want to use JPGs at a small resolution. Please make sure that you export your

Another thing to be aware of is that while you have control over how the photo looks on your computer, you will have no control over how it looks on users’ devices. They may be looking at it on their phones, computers, or TVs. They might have their brightness turned on. The colors probably won’t be calibrated. Adjust what you can control, but be aware of what you can’t.images at the appropriate minimum resolution and size.


I love printing my photos. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I hold something tangible that I have created. I love being able to be able to put it on my wall. It makes it feel more real to me. There are two ways to get prints:

  1. Ordering
  2. Printing it Yourself

Just as in knowing where the photos will go online, know what the photos will be used for will effect how you should print it. While I would never print one of my fine art prints on standard photo paper, it would be completely appropriate for snapshots of family and friends. The biggest thing to remember is that the printer is just as much of the process as the camera and lens are.

The cheapest way to get into printing (and remember, this is photography, so cheap is relative) is to use a printing service. Services like Bay Photo have a number of paper types and sizes. I recommend ordering a paper sample book and even doing test prints so that you can adjust your photo per the sample.

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