Save disk space using a RAW to JPG workflow using Lightroom

For obvious reasons the RAW file is the one to keep if you require the highest quality file on which to retouch. But by a a simple change in your Lightroom workflow there are many jobs you might shoot that you can save acres of disk space by saving jpegs.

A Canon 5D MK111 RAW file weighs in at 25mb. This workflow will save JPEGS at around 12mb or less depending on your settings. A 50%+ saving on file size without hardly any perceivable loss in quality.

This RAW to JPEG workflow requires you to make basic white balance changes in the RAW file and export to JPEG. The files are then saved as JPEGS and the RAW’s are trashed.

RAW to JPEG Lightroom Workflow

  • Import your RAW files in LR.
  • Make any colour and white balance adjustments as necessary.
  • If you require require different colour grading for the images then make those adjustments on virtual copies.
  • Rename your files if necessary
  • Export as jpegs to Same folder as original folder at a jpeg compression of your choice but do not rename them


  • Right click an image > Go to Folder in Library
  • Right click the folder in LR > Show in Finder

Screenshot 2017-04-15 12.22.02 by .

  • In that folder you will see the RAW’s and the jpeg’s stacked together.
  • Sort by kind and delete the RAW files.
  • Right click the folder in LR > Synchronize Folder


The jpegs will then be imported in to LR with the changes made. You can then retouch a file that is already very close in terms of white balance and colour correction but is much smaller than the RAW file.

rvj1 by .


  1. Adam Hills says:

    like this, any smart ideas on how to do lots of folders at once whilst keeping the structure?


    • John Clark says:

      HI Adam. Lightroom will recognise a folder nest. Click the top folder in the nest and all the images in the ‘nest’ will show so you can export JPEGS into their original folders. To get rid of the RAW’s go to Finder, hit cmd-F and choose the top folder in the nest to search in. Search for images and order with ‘kind’. You can delete the RAW’s there. You could also write an AppleScript to do it for you.


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