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File Types - The Different Kinds and What You Use Them For.

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Files can be confusing. JPG, TIFF, PNG, RAW, PDF, what do these all mean? And what do you use them all for?! Today we're sharing the specs on each type of file so you can have a quick guide to knowing which one you need if you're a photographer yourself, working with a graphic designer for your business, or maybe doing some design work yourself! Hope it's helpful for you!




JPG

THIS IS THE MOST COMMON FORMAT USED FOR PHOTOS.

THEY CAN BE VIEWED ON ANY DEVICE WITHOUT NEEDING TO DOWNLOAD AN IMAGE VIEWER. JPG'S ARE PIXEL BASED WHICH MEANS THAT IF YOU ENLARGE THEM YOU WILL LOSE QUALITY.

USE IF:


YOU WANT TO UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS OR OTHER GRAPHICS ONLINE OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA.


DON'T USE IF:

YOU WANT SOMETHING PRINTED.

IF YOU NEED A GRAPHIC WITH A TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND.



PNG

THIS IS A HIGH QUALITY FORMAT USED FOR IMAGES. EVEN WHEN ENLARGED, THE IMAGE WILL RETAIN COLOR AND SHARPNESS. THEY ARE LARGE FILES.

USE IF:


YOU NEED TO HAVE AN IMAGE WITHOUT A BACKGROUND LIKE A LOGO.

FOR HIGH QUALITY IMAGES ON YOUR WEBSITE.


DON'T USE IF:


YOU WANT SOMETHING PRINTED.

YOU WANT TO UPLOAD TO INSTAGRAM AS IT GENERALLY DECREASES THE QUALITY OF PNG FILES.



PDF

THIS TYPE OF FILE IS USED FOR ONLINE DOCUMENTS AND PRINTING PURPOSES. YOU CAN CREATE LONG FILES AND SHARE THEM WITH OTHERS WITHOUT LOSING ANY OF THE FORMATTING.

USE IF:


YOU'RE READY TO PRINT YOUR DESIGN. MOST PRINTERS PREFER PDF.

YOU WANT TO MAKE A DOCUMENT DOWNLOADBLE. IT KEEPS IT TOGETHER IN A PROFESSIONAL, EASY TO VIEW FILE.


DON'T USE IF:


YOUR DESIGN NEEDS TO BE EDITABLE IN ANY WAY.


TIFF

TIFF STANDS FOR TAGGED IMAGE FILE FORMAT. TIFF IMAGES ARE UNCOMPRESSED SO THEY CONTAIN ALOT OF IMAGE FILE INFO AND ARE HUGE FILES.

USE IF:


YOU ARE IMPORTING RAW IMAGES INTO PHOTO SOFTWARE TO EDIT SUCH AS LIGHTROOM, PHOTOSHOP, IN DESIGN ETC.,

DON'T USE IF:


YOU WANT SOMETHING PRINTED.

YOU WANT TO USE THE IMAGES ON YOUR WEBSITE, SOCIAL MEDIA ETC., AS THE FILES ARE MUCH TOO LARGE AND CAN ALSO NOT BE READ.



RAW

RAW IMAGE FORMAT CONTAINS THE UNPROCESSED DATA CAPTURED BY A DIGITAL CAMERA. THERE ARE MANY DIFF TYPES OF RAW FORMATS BUT SOME EXAMPLES ARE DNG, NEF, ETC., USUALLY IMAGES ARE PROCESSED AND THEN THEY ARE CONVERTED INTO ANOTHER FORMAT (EG., JPG OR TIFF)

USE IF:


YOU ARE SHOOTING AND EDITING PHOTOS.

MAKE SURE YOUR CAMERA IS SET TO RAW SO YOU CAN CAPTURE THE HIGHEST QUALITY AND MOST VERSATILE IMAGES.



DON'T USE IF:


YOU'RE WORKING WITH GRAPHICS AS RAW WAS MADE FOR PHOTO EDITING. WHEN YOU'RE READY TO EXPORT YOUR PHOTOS POST EDITING, YOU'LL WANT TO CONVERT TO JPEG.



VECTOR IMAGES

THESE ARE USED FOR DESIGNING LOGOS, ICONS AND DIGITAL ILLUSTRATIONS.


THEY ARE HIGH QUALITY AND SCALABLE.



Hope this was helpful for you!

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