Sometimes, I have photos which, instead of being kept in DNG format, could be converted to JPEG:

  • In museums, when I make a photo of artwork, I also take a photo of a label with the name of the artwork, the author, the description and other info. Switching back and forth between RAW and JPEG during the shooting is possible, but I would prefer not wasting the time doing it.

  • When creating panoramas in Lightroom 6, I prefer keeping the original photos if later, I decide to use a better panorama stitching software. This also means that having an additional 500 MB DNG file for the panorama itself isn't particularly useful, since I can always recreate it later.

  • Some photos are purely “technical” and don't have to be retouched later. For instance, if I take a photo of a piece of hardware, I want to keep it in the catalog in order to be able to find it later when I need it; but it's not the sort of photos where I would need to adjust the exposure or the saturation, because nobody cares about the artistic aspects of it.

Right now, what I do is that I:

  • Export the photo from Lightroom as JPEG,
  • Remove the original from Lightroom catalog,
  • Move the exported JPEG to the directory where it is supposed to be,
  • Add the JPEG to the catalog (which is very time consuming, since Lightroom won't let me specify the directory through copy-paste, so I have to manually work through the tree to select the corresponding folder.)

Is there an easier way to tell Lightroom that it should replace original DNG files by their respective JPEGs? I could imagine a command silimar to Library > Convert photo to DNG..., but I can't see any such option in the menu.

  • This doesn't quite answer the question, but are you able to do it on camera? I know Canon 7D for example has a jpeg/raw button the back which you can tailor (so for the next single shot, shoot a single small jpeg rather than RAW). If something like that is available to you that could save time with your process? – Crazy Dino Nov 16 '16 at 23:15
  • @CrazyDino: yes, there is such option on my DSLR, and this could be indeed a great alternative it if appears that Lightroom lacks the feature I'm looking for. I suggest that we wait for a few days and if nobody posts an answer, you promote your comment to an answer. – Arseni Mourzenko Nov 16 '16 at 23:33
  • 1
    I might as well promote to an answer now. It could be useful for someone else in the future. – Crazy Dino Nov 16 '16 at 23:35

One way is to set up "auto import", and then export photos into the auto-import folder. After exporting the picture, Lightroom will see a new jpg and import it, and then you can delete the original.

To set this up, first create a folder in a convenient location for your jpg images. Don't put anything in it yet, because the folder has to be empty when you first add it. Then, in Lightroom, go to File -> Auto Import -> Auto Import Settings and add your folder. Then do File -> Auto Import -> Enable Auto Import. From now on any image you place in that folder will appear in your library, so just export into that folder when you want to convert to another format.


If you're shooting RAW+JPG in camera, by default Lr will only import the RAW files (as the JPG is embedded inside the RAW file). You can, however tell Lr in the Options to import both the JPG files and the RAW files and treat them as separate images. For those images where you no longer want the RAW files you could just delete them.


Are you able to do it on camera?

I don't know how many cameras and at what level support it (I know Canon 7D for example does) but some cameras have a jpeg/raw button the back which you can tailor (so for the next single shot, shoot a single small jpeg rather than RAW).

If this is available to you, it would mean you don't have to worry with doing anything on the computer, however you would need to remember to push it before taking the shot.


There are two ways that come to mind. Well, and the third is “why bother” as disk space is pretty cheap. But:

  1. Export as JPEG into the current folder (you'll have to pick it each time), then synchronize when done with all and let the synchronize add the JPEG, and then delete the raw.

  2. You can set up Photoshop (or any editor) as an external editor. Photoshop (if you have it) is already set up, but if you set it up again as a custom editor (and answer “use anyway” when warned), it will give you the option of using JPEG as an intermediate format. Then if you edit in that custom Photoshop, it automatically converts, gives you a chance to further edit in Photoshop, and if you close/exit it saves it back and automatically adds to the catalog as a JPEG. Then remove the raw.

For both of these you can gain some efficiency by tagging the shots first (stars, colors, whatever), then doing a set all at one time as opposed to one-by-one.

In both cases you may need to set the preferences, General, “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos.” I'm not 100% sure if that's needed for the above (since the files do not come in together at the same time) but it may be.

Both of these have the burden of separate delete steps from creating the JPEG. I am unaware of any quicker path, short of writing a plugin.

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