How to send an edited RAW photo to a lab for processing without the RAW file automatically being converted to jpeg & loss of data.

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    What Processing do want them to do? What are your expectations. What do you want them to do with the raw data you send to them, how will they know what you want the image to look like? Do you have an understanding of what a RAW file is and what services a photo lab offer as opposed to hiring a professional photo editor to edit your images ? – Alaska Man Apr 14 '20 at 17:12
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    Why don't you ask the specific lab you're using what file formats they accept? – xiota Apr 17 '20 at 0:28

An edited RAW file would need to be interpreted by exactly the same software you used to initially edit it. This is just not practical.

If you export as a TIFF with your camera's .icc profile embedded [or potentially pre-converted to sRGB], you will lose no data & the receiver will be able to extract the image you intended. The only issue with TIF is they can be really quite large files - RAW 25MB, TIF 190MB

The standard accepted formats for printing would also include .PNG [totally lossless] or even .JPG at 100% quality. [between 6 - 16MB]

If your printer expects to receive CMYK files, then RAW is out of the question. If they accept either, I'd stick to sRGB as their pre-print conversion will likely be better attuned to their workflow.

I've produced prints at 120x80 cm from .JPG with no visible loss of quality whatsoever other than the slight 'stretch' of printing at 150 dpi rather than 300.

  • A .png will often be smaller than a pretty high quality .jpg, also -- much more efficient compression method. – Zeiss Ikon Apr 14 '20 at 15:43
  • Possibly. My printer likes jpgs, so that's what I've got used to sending. I quickly ran my last print job out as png. 16MB, compared to the jpg at 7MB. I imagine variables like image complexity may make quite a difference. – Tetsujin Apr 14 '20 at 15:47

Beside JPEG and PNG you can also consider TIFF format. The advantages are:

  • support CMYK
  • support >8 bit colours
  • support multipage

and disadvantages are:

  • much bigger files
  • some TIFF formats are not supported by manufacturers

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