As a photographer or not, you should have a general idea of the image file formats. People are engaging images every day. 

Due to the smartphone revolution, capturing an image is very common for the child to an elder in society. People are used to uploading billions of photos on social media platforms every single day. 

Image file formats are very important and highly related to the photography field. 

What is the image file format?

Basically, image file formats are important when you are storing digital images in digital storage

You must use only digital images for computer display, mobile phone displays, printers, and other digital devices. 

Image file formats are special electronic, software-based format; we can store and read multiple data as a graphical way through the electronic devices

Different image file formats have different characteristics. As a good photographer, you should have a basic idea of the image file formats. 

Then you can choose the best option, according to your purpose. Therefore here I have listed the most commonly used image file formats in day today’s life and photography world.

JEPG File Format

image file formats

JPEG means Joint Photographic Experts Group

It is a lossy type of image format. Therefore when you are storing in the digital storage and previewing back in digital devices, data will lose. You can never restore the original image back. 

“What is Lossy and Lossless Image Compression? “

However, due to this higher compression, JPEG images need low storage capacity. But its quality will reduce than the original image. 

JPEG is very famous and the most common use in websites and photography. Because of this, small size and web pages can load quickly

JPEG images can be saved in the DSLR camera easily. DSLR cameras have three options for saving images as the JEPG image file format. Such as,

  • Low compression
  • Moderate compression 
  • High compression

Normally, JPEG images can open in any kind of image editing software. Therefore JPEG files can be easily modified and edit for any purposes. 

But JPEG images don’t reuse with saving again and again because its quality will reduce again and again. It is not suitable for high-quality printing purposes and large-scale size banner printing purposes. 

GIF File Format

image file formats

GIF mean is Graphics Interchange Format

GIF image format can be used only 8-bit palette or 256. GIF is the most suitable for images that have a low number of colors. They are diagrams, shapes, logos, and cartoon style images. 

However, the GIF file format supports most of the photo editing software. We can especially add a small animation part also in this type of image. 

But GIF motion compression is lower than some video format compression. GIF image file format uses lossless type LZW compression

Then it is not suitable for printing purposes because it can be used very low bit range palette. GIF is more suitable for web images because of the smaller size than jpg images and can be added to small animation part easily.

PNG File Format

image file formats

PNG means Portable Network Graphics

PNG file format is the most using lossless type image compression. Therefore original image quality does not reduce when it saves again and again. 

PNG designed with ignoring the LZW compression patent issues as GIF image file format. PNG file format provides RGB color modes and 16 bits too. 

It is transparent for 24-bit RGB images. Therefore we can produce transparent background images like logs and characters very easily with PNG image file format.

PNG file format is an open-source file format. Therefore anyone can use it completely free. 

Additionally PNG file format image size is smaller than the LZW compression GIF and TIFF format images.

TIFF File Format

image file formats

TIFF meaning is Tagged Image File Format

It is an extreme lossless compression type image files. Therefore, when you save TIFF images, again and again, there is no any data compression method happening. Then the quality of TIFF images (initial data and information) will not reduce while saving in digital storage. 

TIFF image format images provide high-quality images (high-resolution images) with large file sizes

However, the TIFF type image file format provides from 1-bit to 48-bit color, RGB, CMYK, LAB, or any type of Indexed colors

TIFF images can open in special photo editing software only. TIFF images are using for high-quality prints, professional publications, and archival copies. 

A DSLR camera has an option for saving images in the TIFF image file format. Basically, TIFF images do not use as web images because of the large file size. TIFF has unique attributes for saving transparency

RAW type file format

image file formats

The RAW word mean is unprepared or imperfectly prepared for use. In photography, RAW images are images that have plenty of unprocessed data (details) and that have been created by a DSLR camera or scanner machine. 

DSLR cameras can shoot photographs in the RAW image file format. These RAW images are the equivalent of a digital negative.

Therefore they are included a lot of image information but still need to be processed by using editor software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom

RAW image format does not go under any type of compression. It has special attributes, such as to save all the metadata, and it has lots of information

However, it is an unprocessed data bundle. Therefore RAW files must be processed to regular formats like JPG or TIF to be viewable and usable in any way. 

RAW type images are the best for professional-level photography. But the image size is very large

Bitmap File Format

image file formats

BMP means Bitmap Image File format

Microsoft developed it for the Windows Operating system. Bitmap type images are not compressing and information loss from the original image. 

Therefore those images have very high quality, but its file size is very large

Due to BMP being a proprietary format, it is generally recommended to use TIFF files. Bitmap images can be used for high-quality scans and archival copies. 

I hope now you have a clear idea of image file formats. 

Sometimes you have stacked in uploading images in any online platforms. The reason is those online websites do not allow some image file formats, due to some reasons. 

Then you can use an online image file format converter to change the image file format. Then you can upload images on the same website without any issues. 

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