One question that i get asked a lot is, “How does Lightroom separately manage the RAW and JPG files, when the RAW and JPG are recorded for a single picture in the camera”. This scenario happens when the photographer shoots both in the camera (which is usually a setting within the camera’s menu system). Shooting RAW and JPG can be beneficial, the reason that I shoot both, is that I tend to turn on Black and White processing on the preview in the camera, and therefore my JPG will be recorded in Black and White, and I see the black and white version on the back of the camera. This technique can help when correcting/perfecting compositions in the camera (covered in blog post from 2013). This change won’t affect the RAW file (as the RAW file doesn’t record this type of data), but will obviously affect the JPG. Doing this gives me a different way to compose the image in the camera, as well as allowing me to re-create the in camera JPG look once in Lightroom later on.
When both of the files come into Lightroom, we need to know how to manage them, either importing them as a single RAW+JPG file, or as a two single files. Both of these scenarios are managed from the preferences panel within Lightroom (Lightroom preferences can be found in the Lightroom toolbar menu under Lightroom / Preferences (on a Mac), and Lightroom / Edit / Preferences (on Windows)). Within the Import options, there is an option to “Treat JPG files next to raw files as separate photos”.
When this option is turned off, the RAW and JPG file will be treated as a single file, and merged together. You will see this on the import screen.
Once imported, there will be a single representation of the image.
The initial preview and image within the Development tab will be settings from from the RAW file plus any changes that may have been previously made (it may have come from another photographer with Lightroom metadata changes, blog post on this here).
If both files are needed as separate RAW and JPG files, then the check box should be turned on (as below)
This time, when importing, there will be two files in the import dialog, the RAW and the JPG.
Once imported, there will be two files within Lightroom
Hopefully this post has de-mistified how to work with both RAW and JPG files within Lightroom and has added a little extra knowledge to your Lightroom workflow.