Q. “You mentioned running actions on RAW files, I think I must be missing a trick here as I shoot in RAW (& mostly process in LR) but would convert to JPEG before running an action. Does it really make a lot of difference running an action in RAW rather than JPEG?”
A. Well…yes and no. First, I’ve got to say that this question was in response to me saying recently that Florabella actions work best on raw files. I was mistaken. I even did some testing today with raw vs jpg and they looked exactly the same when treated with Florabella actions. So rawk on jpeg users!
Now…when you buy presets and actions, the maker usually specifies if they work best with RAW or JPG (or both). There are certain controls you miss out on when editing a JPG such as white balance changes and so if your preset or action contains any commands which aren’t available because your camera has compressed all the information into a JPG (or you converted it to a JPG first) then it won’t work as intended. I did some tests on presets and actions I have and this is what I found:
One Willow Presets for Lightroom and ACR truly do work best on RAW and she has said quite clearly that her presets are for raw files. You can see below the difference when using the ‘Tocca’ action from the new Timeless Collection on a RAW vs a JPG:
As I said previously, Florabella actions worked beautifully with both raw and jpg as did the MCP Actions I tried. Florabella doesn’t say in her FAQs if the actions are meant for any specific file types and MCP didn’t specify either. As you can see below, the MCP Actions I ran on the image below worked exactly the same with a raw vs jpg:
I think that where you will find that automated plugins work best on a raw vs jpg is going to be Lightroom. I find far more often that presets are meant for one or the other and so you’ll need to check with the company you’re buying from first.