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Minimum Requirement for Source Images for Editing

The digital format a picture is stored is essential to the quality of the photo when edited. There are various digital image formats, but the three most common are a JPEG, TIF, and RAW format on the camera itself. "Lossy" implies that image data is lost when the image is compressed while a lossless retains all original data, even when compressed.


JPEG (JPG, JPE):

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is optimized for continuous tone images that have many colors and pictures. You can achieve astounding compression ratios even with high image quality and maintain quality. GIF compression is unkind to such images. JPG works by analyzing images and discarding type of information that the eye is less likely to notice. It saves information as 24-bit color. The degree of compression of JPG images can be modified. At moderate levels of compression of photographic images, it is difficult for the eye to discern any difference with the original, even at extreme magnification. Compression factors of more than 20 are often quite acceptable. Best graphics programs such as Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop, allow you to view the image quality and file size depending on the level of compression so that you can conveniently choose the balance between qualities and file size.


Pros:
Small image size, excellent photographic reproduction, the best format for emailing or posting on the web, compatible with virtually all image editors and viewers. It supports IPTC / XMP metadata.

Cons:
It has a “lossy” format, and it is compressed by removing information that cannot be recovered, the source image degrades even if you set it to the highest settings.



TIF/TIFF:

It is a flexible format that is lossy. Details of the algorithm of image storage are included as part of the file. In practice, TIFF is used exclusively as a storage lossless format image that has no compression. Most graphics programs that use TIFF have no compression. Consequently, the file sizes are quite large.

TIF is recommended for digital preservation by United States Of America Library of Congress.

Pros:
The format is “lossless” - all image information is preserved. It supports IPTC / XMP metadata.


Cons:

Big file size, even when compressed.

It has several "rules" so not all programs can read all TIF files and it is not website compatible.


RAW

It has a lossless image offered by some digital cameras. This format is preferred by professional photographers for its "negative" image (original) because it allows greater flexibility in post-processing. One drawback of RAW is that the format is currently owned by the manufacturer of the camera and, therefore, is not a good standard of long-term archiving (you must convert RAW to TIFs file storage). Work is going on to standardize the RAW format.


Pros

It allows the post-image processing using any of the camera parameters (i.e. sharpness, contrast, etc.)

You can use any camera settings like sharpness, contrast, etc. to post process the image

It is the best format for photo editing.

Cons

Cons: format camera manufacturer´s proprietary (multiple standards), not all software can see the RAW files, large file size. It does not support a web browser.

 

JPEG (in Camera)
JPEG image quality

RAW
RAW image quality

IDEAL
IDEAL image quality

 

PSD and PSP Format

There are proprietary formats used by graphics programs. Photoshop files have the extension PSD while using Paint Shop Pro files has PSP. These formats are preferred working format as you edit images in the software since only proprietary formats retain all the editing power of programs. These packages use layers to build complex images, and layer information can be lost in non-proprietary formats such as TIFF and JPG. However, be sure to keep your bottom line as standard TIFF or JPG, or may not be able to see that in a few years when the software has changed.


Note:

The best image format for editing is RAW format.

The resolution of the pictures to be edited must be of high quality.

Bigger file size is preferred for photo editing.

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