Teenage boy using a laptop on a folded out sleeper sectional, orange curtains, blue blankets, steam from a vaporizer.

Well, having put several hundred exposures through my jpeg-forward workflow, I’ve re-learned:

  • White balance matters to me just enough to not care for sticking to jpegs, but not so much that I use my gray card when I enter a new lighting area; so I should stick to raw because white balance is more fixable than a jpeg.
  • Fujifilm’s in-camera settings, especially around color, take some work. I really, really want to like the chrome blue and color chrome settings, but the fine line between “that’s nice” and “aaaaargh! TOO MUCH!” is taking some finding. The reds, in particular, do something I don’t like. There’s some interplay between the underlying film simulation, saturation, DR, and tone settings.

And really what I’ve re-learned is sloooooowwwww dooooooown. A lot of the problems with a raw-based workflow come from the own-goal of trying to do post on a phone. Whenever I go back to something where I did post on a phone, or a small tablet on the train, my edits are overcooked. I remember going through this when I was using Instagram and felt a little imprisoned by feedback: People respond better to contrasty stuff with pops of color that bust out of the confines of a small screen. I already sort of drift in that direction, and I feel much better when I rein the impulse in rather than indulge it.

I think I will also take a swing at using Fuji’s desktop raw processing software, because that’s a way to take a raw image and apply Fuji’s own settings to it on a desktop and big screen, where I can look for those Goldilocks settings without more “shoot, process, learn, iterate” on the parts I want to spend less time on. I’ve seen enough stuff from Fuji’s own brand ambassadors to know there’s something there, so it feels worth an hour’s time to run through a few variables and see where it leaves me.

Anyhow, this is my idea of fun.