“I’ve been working on my photos from October rather than reviews….”—Ken Rockwell, February 2, 2023
I just stumbled upon that quote from Ken, which was followed by an iPhone photo from October (that’s why this article begins with an iPhone picture). I bet a lot of you can relate to his statement. When you photograph a lot, your post-processing workflow can get backed up quite a bit. I have thousands of unprocessed RAW files that have been sitting on a now-obsolete computer’s hard drive for at least seven years now. I get it: you’ve got stuff to do, and your limited time is being pulled every which way, so something’s got to give.
I discovered that there’s a better way. There’s no need to get four or five months behind. There’s no need to let your photographic work back up so much. You can can accomplish so much more with the time that you’ll save. What is this better way? It’s really simple: shoot JPEGs, and skip the picture editing step (called One Step Photography, as explained by Ansel Adams in his book Polaroid Land Camera). More and more photographers are embracing this approach.
Ken Rockwell knows this. Not only does he often shoot JPEGs, but he once tried one of my Film Simulation Recipes on a Fujifilm camera. He shoots with a lot of brands, and Fujifilm isn’t his main make. I have Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras, I have Recipes for Ricoh GR cameras, and I have an iPhone camera app called RitchieCam; if you don’t shoot with Fujifilm, Ricoh, or iPhone, your options are much more limited (I did make a few Recipes for Nikon Z, too, but it’s a pretty small number).
The reason why it’s important to shoot with Recipes is because the settings have been fine-tuned to produce a particular aesthetic that doesn’t require editing. The images look good straight from the camera, as if they had been post-processed or perhaps were even shot on film. Except they weren’t, which saves you a ton of time, money, and hassle. If you aren’t shooting with Recipes, you are most certainly doing some amount of post-processing, whether you shoot RAW or JPEG. There are some people who do still edit their camera-made-using-Recipes JPEGs, but they’re doing much less editing than they otherwise would be. The point of using Film Simulation Recipes is to edit less or (preferably) not at all, which has a huge upside, but it does require Recipes that produce excellent results, and a little extra care by the photographer in the field, since “I’ll fix it in post” isn’t really an option.
If Ken had used a Fujifilm camera programmed with Fuji X Weekly Recipes, surely he would not be busy right now post-processing pictures captured way back in October. Instead, he’d be writing those reviews that have been delayed, or out on some other photographic adventure. The October exposures would have been completed in October, or maybe early November at the latest. If he had used RitchieCam, there would be no need to process his iPhone images with Skylum software, because they would have been ready-to-publish the moment they were captured. Ken, you should try my iPhone camera app. And you should shoot with Fujifilm cameras more often.
With the Canikony brands, shooting awesome straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) JPEGs isn’t as easy or prevalent. Sure, it can be done, but it is much more often done with other brands because of things like the Fuji X Weekly App, which contains approaching 300 Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras, so no matter your desired aesthetic, there’s a Recipe for you. Download the Fuji X Weekly App for free today (Android here, Apple here), and consider becoming a Patron subscriber to unlock the best App experience. Ken is sitting at a computer right now fiddling with files, since he didn’t shoot with Fujifilm cameras programmed with Film Simulation Recipes.
People seem to either love or hate Ken Rockwell. To be clear, this article is not bashing him. I’ve actually had correspondence with Ken, and he seems like a very nice guy. I think his “real” personality is much more kind and genuine than his online persona, which can sometimes come across as abrasive and perhaps even offensive. If you hate him, I would suggest that you reach out to him with an open mind and heart, and try to get to know him a little, because your mind might get changed, even if just a bit. Personally, I have found some of his articles, insights, and commentary to be quite helpful; however, I certainly don’t agree with everything that he says, and I take his words with a grain of salt (as you should with mine). He’s very successful at what he does, so he’s obviously doing something “right” even if I don’t fully agree with what it is.
All of that is to say, if you don’t want your workflow backed up for months because you have so many exposures to edit, and you’d rather spend your time doing something else—including capturing more photographs—then SOOC JPEGs might just be the thing for you. If you don’t own a Fujifilm camera, consider picking one up. Download the Fuji X Weekly App. Select a few Film Simulation Recipes to try. Let your RAW editor subscription expire.
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
Fujifilm X-E4 in black: Amazon B&H Moment
Fujifilm X-E4 in silver: Amazon B&H Moment
The hardest part about SOOC is remembering to change the recipe (Q) when conditions change. Thankfully Raw Studio makes for very quick work of those situations with saved recipe profiles. It’s also handy for real quick exposure adjustments. Excellent post.
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Thanks! I don’t use X RAW Studio myself, but I do know that it is a helpful program for many people.
But why is RitchieCam NOT available for Android phones too?
Especially when the Fuji X Weekly app is.
It would be a lot of work. Because of the diversity of Android hardware and software, it would be twice as much work to create it for Android compared to iPhone. Creating it for iPhone took almost a year, and a lot of work has gone into it since the initial release. If I started today, I estimate that an Android version wouldn’t be released until spring of 2025. Frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to even start.
Ken Rockwell is my source of photographic knowledge, if I hadn’t started with his writings, I would be rather testing lenses for brick wall sharpness in the edges and measuring noise to signal ratios. An Argentinian influencer posts her selfies and trips, she was asked why her photos looked quite nice and she showed her camera, an old Nikon compact camera, she a few times will apply filters from trending free apps. It is interesting because her photos look very natural while at the same time have a mood or style. Is like that image in the main page of Flickr, with friends in the top of a mountain, the photo has a lot of noise but that flaw somehow communicates the time in which it was made.
Raw processed photos most of the time look not atemporal but rather a sameness that stops of being exciting once you notice which software, and which preset was used to strip them from its particularities and overlay their processing; you cannot link them to a time anymore but to a computer. But I am not in the side of “it must be SOOC without alteration,” I believe one first has to choose a color signature from a manufacturer, and then when choosing a camera to set it to parameters that fit with the personal way one sees the world. I like too much inky and deep shadows with dense colors, so I use mostly your Aged Color and Extar 100 recipes.
I think the advice that most impacted me from Ken’s website is to make your own website. He said something to the effect of: spend less time sharing your opinions on photography forums, and spend more time sharing them on your own platform. I did just that, and eventually it led to Fuji X Weekly.
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