How to Convert RAW Files to JPEG in Adobe Lightroom

Throughout your photographic journey, you’ll often hear about the importance of shooting in RAW mode. It’s a great way to keep all the detail and gives you a lot of editing flexibility. In short, shooting in RAW gives you more control and gives your photos a professional look.

RAW files are not image files. The files only contain all unprocessed data from your camera’s sensor. So you need to convert them to JPEG to make them usable.

Converting RAW files to JPEG in Adobe Lightroom is not a complex process. Just follow our step-by-step process to prepare and convert your RAW files.

Why convert RAW to JPEG?

When you shoot in JPEG format, your camera gives you a compressed file that’s ready to use. On the other hand, RAW files are useless. They’re also significantly larger because they contain a lot more information from your camera’s sensor.

With JPEG images, your camera provides you with an edited version of your image. That’s why JPEG images look alive right out of your camera. The colors in the RAW files appear muted and dull. So you need to edit the photo and then export it as a JPEG for sharing and other uses. This also saves a lot of space considering JEPG compresses the details to smaller file sizes.

If this is your first time shooting RAW, make sure your memory card has enough space. Keep in mind that RAW files are significantly larger than JPEGs. Another potential problem that you are likely to face is computer memory. However, you can avoid this by using an external hard drive to store your RAW files.

Read the pros and cons of shooting in RAW and JPEG here.

How to convert RAW files to JPEG in Lightroom

First you need to set your camera to record in RAW mode. The steps to do this differ depending on the camera brand and model. If you’re not sure how to do this, consult your camera’s manual. It will have all the steps.

Once you have your RAW files, you need to import them to your computer.

Step 1

Open Lightroom and import the files from your camera. Go to file > Import photos and videos. Select the photos you want to edit. By default, all new photos are selected.

step 2

Scan the imported photos and reject the photos you don’t want. Go to photo > set flag > Rejected. You can also do this by selecting a photo and pressing X on your keyboard.

This step will help you keep only the best files and quickly delete the others.

step 3

You can delete the rejected images from Lightroom or even from your hard drive. Go to photo > Delete rejected photos. RAW files are quite large so you can save a lot of space by removing unwanted photos like duplicates and blurry photos.

step 4

In which library Module allows you to rate your photos with stars. You can also go photo > set flag and choose your rating.

This is a good way to find the best image from many similar shots.

step 5

Add metadata to your photos. You can find it on the right under the histogram. It’s not mandatory, but adding the relevant details is good practice. For example, be sure to enter the title and copyright information.

You can also enter the keywords. This is a crucial step if you are a stock photographer or regularly upload to photography websites. You save time because your keywords are already pre-filled. Check out our guide to becoming a successful stock photographer.

step 6

Go to Develop module on the top right. Zoom each image to 100 percent and check focus.

If the image is slightly blurry, you can try adjusting the sharpness in Lightroom. You can also try these options to fix blurry photos.

If your image looks completely unusable, you can reject and delete it.

step 7

Time to edit your photos. Remember to do all your edits on your RAW file. Shooting in RAW mode is all about capturing all the information. Once you’ve exported the photo to JPEG, you don’t want to edit it unless you want an odd-looking image.

If you want to tweak the white balance or flip your photo, now is the time to do it. Also do other edits like exposure compensation, adjusting highlights and shadows, enhancing saturation, etc.

Try using presets if you want a faster workflow. Check out our guide to creating your own presets in Lightroom.

step 8

If you have similar photos with the same lighting conditions, you can synchronize them. First, select all the images you want to sync, then click Automatic synchronization Button. You can customize the sync settings. You can also sync your metadata and keywords in the Library module.

step 9

Once you’re happy with your edits, you can export the photos to JPEG, but make sure you check the before and after images for comparison. You can do this by clicking yy button on the bottom.

step 10

Export your photos to the desired location. Go to file > export. Specify the export location.

Choose JPEG as the picture format under File Settings. blow export.

Your JPEG can be used and shared.

The steps above are useful for a small batch of files. However, if you need to edit hundreds of photos at once, you may need to find a proper culling technique to find the best photos to keep.

Once you have your JPEGs, make sure you save the RAW files to disk or cloud storage. If you want to correct something in the future, it’s better to edit the RAW file than the JPEG file.

Capture in RAW, share in JPEG

When you shoot in JPEG format, you let your camera do all the editing for you. It usually gives good results, but it’s better for you to learn the basics of editing and take control of your photos. Shooting in RAW format and then converting it to JPEG can instantly improve the look of your photos.

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