Choose Your Journey & Don’t Care What Others Think

Bench with a View – Prefumo Canyon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 24mmPacific Blues Recipe

“If you want that look, you’ve got to shoot RAW. JPEG Recipes are for amateurs, and nobody serious would ever use them. RAW editing gives you complete control.” —Anonymous person on the web trying to be a gatekeeper

I get tired of being told that if you’re serious about photography, you must shoot RAW and not JPEG. It’s such a worn-out argument that keeps getting repeated. I discussed it at length last year in The RAW vs JPEG Debate Needs to End… Again.

Simply: do whatever you want, and don’t worry about what other people think. There are a lot of people who play gatekeeper, but they shouldn’t have any say in your photography. They have a way that works for them—which is great—but it’s wrong to suggest that their way is the “best” or “only” way, and that you must approach your photography the same as they do. My personal approach works best for me, their way works best for them, and what works best for you might not look anything like either. You have to decide for yourself what works best for you. There’s no right or wrong way to do photography, only what does or doesn’t work well for you.

Reflection of a Broken Door – Litchfield Park, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mmFujicolor 100 Gold Recipe

If you’re interested in learning more about my approach, I’ve discussed it extensively in various articles on this blog for years and years. It’s been a journey, and I invite you to travel along with me if you’re interested; otherwise, I published an article on Moment’s website earlier this year where I typed out my approach and why it might be preferable (click here). I don’t expect that everyone should approach photography this way—it’s simply what works for me, and it might or might not be what works for you. If you think it might work for you, too, that’s awesome, and I hope you’ll follow this website.

I just don’t appreciate when people tell me that my way is the wrong way. I’ve actually been told that I’m doing great harm to photography by suggesting that RAW editing isn’t a requirement. Or, more condescendingly, if I just learned to use RAW software, I’d realize why it’s superior (which ignores the years and years and years of experience I have RAW editing…). If you have a way that works for you that’s different than mine, that’s wonderful! Different strokes for different folks. But please don’t go around telling people that your way is the only way or the best way or the way that all serious photographers must use, because that’s nonsense and factually untrue. It’s simply the approach that you prefer, and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. It may or may not be what works best for another person.

One day the argument that you must shoot RAW will end. Shoot RAW if you want to and if it works for you, or shoot JPEG if you want to and if it works for you. Or shoot film. Or whatever other technique you like. Or do one approach sometimes and another approach at other times. There is no single path, and you get to choose your journey. Whatever anyone else thinks about it doesn’t matter at all.


  1. Curt · October 2

    Right on! Right on! RIGHT ON !
    So tired of the preaching about, RAW, film, B&W, natural light, camera brands, formats, file / chip size, etc.
    Show me your work – is it interesting?
    Done ! 

    • go2jrcom · October 4

      I agree with you. Creativity is what makes artful photography, not format. I know it can sound a bit snarky, but when someone subjects me to their close-minded opinions, I tell them: Thank you for your unsolicited opinion…I think it’s worth exactly how much I paid for it…

      • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

        I know my opinions might only be worth 2 pennies, sometimes not even that much. 🤣

        Thanks for the comment!

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Exactly! Thanks for the input!

  2. davepatphoto · October 2

    RAW vs JPEG, full-frame vs crop, Lightroom vs CaptureOne, prime vs zoom, fixed-lens vs ILC, film vs digital, Fujifilm vs any other camera company, SOOC vs post-processing, etc. These discussions can be interesting, informative, and (occasionally) fun, but they often become so tiresome or serious as to truly suck the joy out of the craft. The least fun I’ve had with photography is when took too seriously the advice of others about how I was “doing it wrong”, or needed different or “better” gear. The times I enjoyed it the most and (in my opinion) produced better images is when I followed my own path.  I shoot RAW when I feel I will need to heavily edit, use JPEG recipes when I want to just enjoy the ride, and (much to my wife’s dismay—she thinks I’m nuts) shoot film just to shake things up. Keep up the great work—I enjoy your writing at least as much as your photography and recipes!

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Thanks so much! Definitely do what you want and enjoy. Life is short. Thanks for the kind input!

  3. Writing Flower · October 2

    100%. Do what makes you happy!

  4. Ryan Long · October 3

    I shot RAW when I used DSLR, because – no EVF to see exposure, and I preferred the color rendering of tools like RNI. It was still a simple workflow – batch edit the RNI preset, then cycle through the photos and tap the exposure up or down. With EVF and Fujifilm jpeg (built-in simulations and recipes) RAW has gone from being a requirement to being a specialty tool for limited, specific use cases.  There’s also the idea that a new tool (in many cases) doesn’t have to be AS good as the old tool, it just has to be good enough that lugging around the old toolbox just isn’t worth it anymore. 

    • davepatphoto · October 3

      Agreed.  My limited use case for shooting RAW is night sky and Milky Way photography (I will shoot RAW only in this case, as I know I will be doing heavy editing).  

      For landscape photography, I will shoot RAW+JPEG— more often than not in this case, I find that the JPEG is good enough.  

      For sporting events, I will shoot JPEG only.  Speed is of the essence here, and I’m shooting way more shots than in the other cases.

      It’s a matter of using the right tool for the job and I’ve found what works for me.

      • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

        Yeah, exactly! Find what works for you, and it might be different approaches in different situations. Thanks for the input!

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Yeah, RNI is great. I used to use Alien Skin Exposure a lot, too. There are a ton of tools that can get the job done. It’s about what works for you. For some, it’s lugging around the old toolbox… for others, not so much…. Thanks for the input!

  5. verschelden.eric · October 3

    Oui , mais…. je ne comprend pas pourquoi les photographes doivent toujours metre en avant les qualités ou les indication de leurs matériels …? camera, optique, ouverture, temps de pose, logiciel…etc…. je suis peintre, et quand je présente une oeuvre je ne dit pas quelle qualité de toile, de chassis, de peinture, de pinceaux, de temps de travaille ou de séchage ….etc ! c’est a vous les photographes d’être plus modeste en ne présentant que vos photos ! et l’on jugeras mieux de leurs qualité sans se soucier de leurs technicité !!! merci …..

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Tu as raison! Cela n’a pas d’importance. La seule chose qui compte c’est la photo, pas la façon dont elle a été réalisée.

  6. Dário Agostinho · October 3

    Enjoying your mindset a lot. I use two systems: Sony FF and Fuji X. I like both but with the Fuji I shoot mainly jpegs. Shooting with the Fuji is very liberating and educational because I try to do everything right on the camera. And it works. Nothing against raw. Just getting in touch with the roots of photography. A more or less “analogical” approach with the convenience of the digital. Thank you very much for your work on this website.

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Yeah, I personally appreciate this hybrid analog-like-yet-digital approach of Film Simulation Recipes. Kind of the best of both worlds. Thanks for the input!

  7. davepatphoto · October 3

    I was thinking along these lines—do sculptors endlessly debate what chisel they use (or carpenters their hammers, or chefs their pans)?  I’m guessing not!  And I bet they judge their fellow craftsmen by their finished works of art!

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Yes! That’s completely correct. Thanks for the comment!

      • KM · October 6

        My first Fuji camera that I still use, is the X-E1. When I started with it I was still learning so it was all jpg. I love the photos from that time, when I nailed the composition and exposure on. Now when I look at my edited raw photos from before I discovered your site, they all look the same and unappealing to me. They all have the standard S curve look with some having split toning. I have a collection of cameras now from old p&s’ dslr’s to Fuji, and I shoot them all jpg. If the jpgs don’t look good, the camera doesn’t get used. Ritchie, finding your site has increased my enjoyment of photography so much. Thank you.

      • Ritchie Roesch · October 7

        Wow, I appreciate your kind input! I’m so honored to have had a hand in helping bring joy to your photography. Thanks so much for this comment! 😀 😀

  8. Sandro Liguori · October 3

    Sono d’accordo con te. Saluti dall’Italia! 🙂

  9. jamiechancetravels · October 3

    I agree entirely mate – I’m sat here having shot JPEGs for daily life, travel photography and some pro stuff for 5 years! It brings me joy and that’s all I care about



    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      That’s what matters. Do what makes you happy and gets you what you want. Thanks so much!

  10. oli · October 3

    sound like we share the same journey. take care! See you.

  11. Martin · October 4

    Totally agree. I got sucked into shooting RAW, and spending more money on software and hardware to store and process it. Totally took the enjoyment out of photography for me. 

    I’m new to Fuji having picked up a camera again, and love the results I can achieve straight from the camera.  Especially since finding these recipes. 

    My passion for photography has be reignited thanks to in camera film simulations. 

    Sitting in front of a computer editing photos is not part of the fun for me.  Now here with a 2014 MacBook and Photos for Mac! 

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 4

      Yeah, it’s no fun for me, either. I’d rather be out shooting or pretty much anything other than editing pictures at a computer. Thanks for the comment!

  12. TheCameraEatsFirst · October 5

    The militant RAW shooters are the new militant vegans.

  13. Nick PlanB Photo · October 12

    110% agree

    Some days I shoot RAW.

    Some days it’s JPG.

    And some days it’s film.

    Medium format, full frame, APSC, even a roll of 110 from time to time.

    Paid jobs or personal work, family & vacation photos, it’s what I want, the way I want, and it’s no one else’s concern.

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 13

      Yes, exactly! You get decide. Thanks for the input!

Leave a Reply