(Oct 19, 2013, 01:07)johnytrout Wrote: What is the best format to save your images as.
I have been told to save as TIFs which I have not done as yet.
My photos get downloaded as JPEGs.
I am quite new to this and have made a big mistake of cropping most of my images
and saving. This in turn has lost me the info on them.
Should I keep all originals, even the bad ones?
Or can I keep the info on the copies somehow?
How do you store yours?
The answers to all your questions are - it depends.
The maths and science give us no doubt that RAW files contain the most data from the camera's sensor. However, if you are an amateur (so your income does not depend on your photos), and you are unlikely to print bigger than A3, and you have a modern camera (good point & shoot, good bridge/super-zoom, or a DSLR), then there is little wrong with shooting and storing Jpeg images. The quality of your images could be just as good as when shooting RAW, in normal viewing conditions - i.e. full-screen image, or A3 print, viewed from a sensible distance, with 20:20 vision, without magnification.
Make sure that your camera is set to record its highest quality and largest Jpeg files. It is probably also best to ensure that your camera settings are neutral - i.e. that no extra contrast, saturation, or sharpness are being applied to your images by the camera - it is better to do things like this on the computer. Then just take care to avoid large burnt out highlights in your shots - it is just not possible to retrieve the detail that they should contain.
Apart from the latter case, and contrary to some claims, it is possible to do quite extensive editing of large, high quality Jpeg images, even changing their white balance if necessary. Any slight loss of image quality from the processing of Jpegs is unlikely to be visible in normal viewing conditions.
It is also worth understanding that Jpeg files are compressed when they are saved, and that this loses some of the data, so when you are processing an image, always make sure that your editing software is set to save the highest quality Jpegs - i.e. the lowest level of compression. With this setting, it is possible to save the same file many before you see any noticeable loss of quality in normal viewing conditions.
This is, of course, about the viewing quality of your images - it says nothing about whether they are good photographs - you are the only one who can really judge whether or not you keep every image that you shoot!
The really important point about those you want to keep, as others have mentioned, is always keep the original files out of your camera, and only ever edit a COPY of an original file.