Even though our Raw Tuesday series is concerned with using the raw format, we must acknowledge that JPEGs do have their advantages – the file sizes are smaller, and shots are ‘ready to go’ straight from the camera.
But if you’re serious about photography you should set your camera to shoot Raw. And perhaps the biggest reason why should do this is, in addition to getting the best possible quality, shooting raw files gives you an invaluable safety net when the scene in front of you presents exposure problems.
In our landscape photo above, the foreground is slightly overexposed, and consequently the sky looks washed out and lacking in detail. Luckily there’s a lot more tonal information hidden in Raw files than you might think; the trick is knowing how to tease it out, and if you have
Photoshop CS, then you’ve got one of the most powerful Raw converters available: Adobe Camera Raw.
As well as sliders for adjusting exposure, contrast and colour, ACR under CS4 and newer includes additional tools, including the Graduated Filter and Spot Removal tools.
The way Camera Raw is set up, with easily accessible panels and tools, makes it easy to quickly apply multiple edits.
And while you may not get the full range of creative tools that are available in Photoshop, you do get all the tools a photographer needs to optimise exposure and colour.
Adobe Camera Raw is the ideal place to begin your photo editing – and you may even find you don’t need to open an image in the main Photoshop interface at all.
On the next page we’ll show you step-by-step how to rescue highlight detail and balance your exposure in any shot using Adobe Camera Raw. Follow these simple steps and stop wasting pictures once and for all!