Lightroom RAW+JPEG pairs

How to manage Lightroom RAW+JPEG pairs

05 Fixing the problem

Lightroom RAW+JPEG pairs

If you do inadvertently choose the wrong import setting, there is a workaround. First, you’ll need to go to the General tab in the Preferences dialog and check that ‘Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos’ box…

06 Re-import your photos

Lightroom RAW+JPEG pairs

Now you need to click the Import button again and navigate back to the folder containing the images. Lightroom will check the contents of the folder against the images already in its library and highlight only the ones it hasn’t imported yet. In this case, it’ll show all the JPEG versions you meant to import the first time around…

07 Back to normal… almost


When the import is complete, you’ll have both the JPEGs and the RAW files, just as if you’d opted to import them both the first time around. The only difference is that the RAW versions will still display ‘RAW+JPEG’, so just remember this doesn’t really mean anything and that they are just RAW files.

All this is a bit irritating. It would be much simpler if Lightroom imported both automatically and found some way to ‘hide’ the JPEGs behind the RAW files or vice versa, just like Aperture. As it is, if you make a mistake with the import settings, you face some tedious unravelling later on.

See also

More Lightroom tutorials

How Aperture handles RAW+JPEG pairs

6 thoughts on “How to manage Lightroom RAW+JPEG pairs

  1. I’m glad that you shared this. I used to use Aperture, but the volume of files that I generate plus the fact that I prefer to work with referenced files seemed to be too much for the application. I recently gave up on Aperture and bought a Creative Cloud subscription. I also just acquired a new Nikon Df and evidently Adobe doesn’t read the raw files yet and I wondered why I couldn’t even look at my jpegs. I waited so long for this camera and now I’m waiting until I can use the files!

    1. Aperture works with referenced files perfectly well in my experience, so I’d be interested to know what problems you had.

      The Df is very new, as you know, and it may be a couple of weeks or longer before third-party vendors offer support. The Nikon ViewNX 2 application on the CD with your camera will read and convert the RAW files fine, though.

      You can look at your JPEGs using any application. The JPEG format is universal. I’d need to know more about your setup to know why you’re having trouble with them.

  2. Thanks for the article. It’s clear and really useful.
    Regarding your last paragraph, there’s a way to do it:
    1- First, import both kind of files (as you have described)
    2- Then, stack both files (so one of them is displayed). The good thing is that you can do this automatically: Photo > Stacking > Auto-stack by capture time > Set the time to zero
    3- Collapse all stacks to hide the JPG (or the Raws)
    Hope it helps.

  3. Hi there, Thanks for the article.
    Do you know any way to import both RAW and JPG in Lightoorm and give them both the same file name (except for the extension) This is what Nikon Transfer does and I find it more manageable.

  4. In addition to Antonio’s comments and tricks, and if you did not enable the ‘Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos’ option before importing your pics, you can use the ‘syncronise folder’ option (after having enabled the option) in the library mode.
    So by playing with the preference settings .. you can tailor management of JPG&RAW duplicate per folder or catalogue

  5. Thank you for the information. I found a way to separate jpg from raw. It needs some work expect if you realize that early enough (that was my case).
    Select of the image and do a right click (show in folder).
    Move the jpg files into another folder
    The into lightroom’s navigator, select your folder and do a right click (Synchronize folder)
    I had Scan for metadata updates and Remove missing photos from catalog (not sure which one is needed)
    Then click on Synchronize
    You will get the file info for raw file only now
    Then you can import your jpg files as separate files

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.