Camera Raw Details

Ok so I get a lot of questions on how I edit my picture and even though I would love to personally be able to get back to everybody, it’s really impossible. I was working on my actions and I had them ready to be released in April… well that was before Photoshop crashed and nope I did not save them and yes they are ALL lost. Am I disappointed??? Absolutely… Do I want to start all over and redo them!!! Of course…. Do I feel like doing it right now?? Absolutely not!!! I just need some time to take it all in and I will start redoing them soon… It’s not easy to see all your work for several months… all gone… vanished…Oh well.. that’s the story of my new actions. I do have some other actions that you can find here.

So now to my pictures. I normally shoot in Raw? What is RAW? Raw files are just the raw sensor data. They are not pictures yet until they are processed further. Because RAW files hold all the RAW data captured by the camera they give the photographer excellent fine-tuned control of their pictures. In their simplest description Raw files can be compared to digital negatives. What I often tell the people I mentor is when shooting in RAW you with your artist eye and expertise will have to decide the feel and color of your pictures, when you shoot jpeg, the camera will decide those colors for you.

So here is a screen print of one of my images. As I open it in Camera Raw it’s kind of blurry, grayish looking not too much color to it. There are just a few things that I adjust in Camera RAW or I use on of my presets and then adjust little things after that.

There are 4 particular things I adjust on most of my pictures and that is the White Balance, I love to add some warmth to my overall picture here, I increase the blacks just a bit since that will not affect the skin tones but rather make those colors pop, if the skin tones are blown out I use the recovery tool ( in this case I just wanted to make sure when I bring the picture in CS5 the skin will not be washed out), and for a little more contrast I adjust take the contrast a bit higher.

Of course you can play with those settings for a long time but those are the basic things that I like to adjust to my pictures before I bring them in Photoshop. You can see how the colors just pop and the picture has a much nicer and warmer tone because of the white balance changes that I made.

This is just the surface of Camera Raw and I encourage those of you that have a camera that can shoot Raw to find the manual and try shooting in Raw and you will be pleasantly surprise with how your pictures will change with just this little trick.

Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and I’ll have more details soon on the Photoshop part.

Camera Raw Presets

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Lara - September 7, 2011 - 5:11 pm

Brilliant post – think you just convinced me to switch to RAW :) I knew I should be shooting in that way anyway, but somehow it seemed more of a faff. I think I just needed to see the difference you could make with just a few tweaks.

Mary Schannen - September 11, 2011 - 9:18 am

Thanks Lidia! I’m soooo sorry to read about your PS crash! We need to catch up at some point!

Nick Webb - September 27, 2011 - 6:26 pm

Thanks Lidia, great post! Could you answer a question for me, though?

Do you store your photos in RAW long term, or do you simply take them in RAW, then convert to JPEG after you are pleased with the results? I’m taking a bit of a poll as RAW takes up a lot of space, and can be hard/expensive to protect against data loss with that much data.

-Nick

Chris - November 3, 2011 - 10:00 am

I enjoyed reading (above) in regards to RAW image files. We’re about to make the leap from full-automatic-Panasonic digital to an SLR….specifically looking at the Nikon D5100. I’m also looking to take some courses so that I won’t do what I fear the most…..spending the money on that much camera and constantly shooting in full-auto-mode….and storing in JPG. :-)

I had read that there may be some type of RAW limitation on the Nikon (will have to re-read the other article and see). If you know of any immediate limitations, let me know.

Thanks again…

[...] Rad Actions Florabella Actions I found this on Pinterest and it’s very similar to how I edit my own photos. Pinterest is a great source on [...]

Nicole - December 2, 2012 - 2:05 pm

I’d love to try to make these adjustments! Could you let me know how to get to this screen? I can’t find the white balance window. Thanks!

Sarah T. - January 27, 2013 - 3:25 pm

Hey! I will make this short and sweet….I took pictures with the RAW setting on my Nikon 3100 and my computer won’t read them :( What do I do?

Sarah T.

Thanks!!

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