Raw Tuesday: what to edit (and when) in Adobe Camera Raw

What to edit (and when) in Adobe Camera Raw: essential advice for how to process raw files to get the best results

How to Edit Raw Files, 4: Correct Exposure

 

What to edit (and when) in Adobe Camera Raw: essential advice for how to process raw files to get the best results

While it’s best to get your exposure right in-camera, shooting raw means that you have more control over the exposure of your final image should you need to adjust it later.

This is particularly useful when you are shooting in conditions where it’s impossible to capture detail in both the highlights and the shadow areas of your image – when shooting at sunset or sunrise, for example.

Remember that like many techniques it’s easy to get carried away with 
the amount of detail you try to recover, especially in the shadow areas.

You can end up with garish, false-looking tones similar to those seen in badly processed high dynamic range (HDR) shots, so use Adobe Camera Raw’s highlight and shadow recovery tools with care and taste, and keep checking the histogram display to make sure that there are still full blacks and whites in your image.

4 Exposure warnings
The ACR window also has a highlight and shadow exposure warning, which you can use to find any areas of an image that are losing detail.

Turn it on by clicking the small triangular tabs on the top left and right of the histogram display.

With these active, the main preview display will show clipped highlights as patches of red and clipped shadows as patches of blue.

Work until the patches disappear.

PAGE 1: The best order for editing raw files
PAGE 2: Adjust white balance
PAGE 3: Correct exposure
PAGE 4: Recover lost highlight detail
PAGE 5: Recover lost shadow detail
PAGE 6: Sharpen the image

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