Photoshop format Vs jpeg

Photoshop format (PSD)

Photo Tip Friday May 23

JPEG vs Photoshop (PSD) format

Whenever I have a Photoshop class (as in public classes or private lessons), I have noticed that many photographers are not aware of the pros and cons of each of these formats and often make a mistake in knowing which to choose and when. In this article I’ll discuss some of the major differences between these formats and which the best workflow to save time is.

JPEG and Photoshop formats (PSD) are two file formats that are used with images. These are actually formats used to store digital images. The main difference between JPEG and PSD is the applications they are connected to. JPEG is a standard format that is not tied to any application, which means virtually all programs that deal with images are able to open and save to the JPEG format. In comparison, Photoshop (PSD) is the native file format for Photoshop, the very popular photo editing software. This means to open a PSD file you need to have an application or program which can read the file.

As a native format for Photoshop, PSD gives you a lot of flexibility with the things you can save to the file. One of the key aspects of Photoshop is the ability to work with different layers that are merged into a single image. PSD can save all that information so you can open the file and still be able to work on the layers individually or in a group. If you have multiple layers and you want to save to JPEG, the different layers would be combined into a single image (Flattened) before being saved. When you open the JPEG file, you only get a single layer.

Layers adjustments in Photoshop format
Layers adjustments in Photoshop format

The downside to the way PSD works is that it typically saves a lot more information than JPEG and these means much larger files. So if you are saving a group of pictures for print or web base application, it is better to go with JPEG than with PSD. You should use PSD if you are actively editing a photo or if you have an edited image that you want to keep make changes to sometime in the future.

Jpeg is a flattened single layer
Jpeg is a flattened single layer

You should probably keep in mind that PSD files cannot be opened outside of a computer, while JPEG is supported by many gadgets. Many cameras can directly save to JPEG, including smartphones. For saving and storing photo files, it is still best to use the JPEG format. Not only do you have the ability to open the files just about anywhere, you also save on storage space, which on many portable devices can be quite limited.



For any kind of presentation, whether as prints or sharing via emails or online, you need to save your images as JPEG, both for the smaller file sizes and so your viewers don’t need a special application or program to view the photos.

On the other hand if you spend time editing an image to make it perfect, you may want to save it as PSD (provided that you edited the image using different layers) so you can go back and make changes without distorting the image quality. I always suggest to my Photoshop students to save their work as PSD and if they need to post it online or make a print, it is recommended to save a copy as JPEG. To free up room on your storage device you can delete the JPEG file after you are done with your presentation and keep the PSD as your original copy.


Do you want to learn more about the wonderful world of editing in Photoshop Layers?


Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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