In our latest Raw Tuesday tutorial on editing raw format files we explain how the Camera Raw editor in Photoshop Elements can help rescue your travel photos from some of the common mistakes photographers make.
Before the days of digital, you would send a roll of negatives off to be developed and when the prints returned you were stuck with the results. Alternatively, you might process your negatives in a darkroom and adjust tones and colours to suit the scene.
Now you can set your camera to process a compressed JPEG as you shoot, changing its colours, tones and sharpness according to specific in-camera presets.
This is similar to sending your negatives off to be processed by a third party. You can, of course, use Photoshop Elements to try and fix problems with a JPEG’s colour, tone and sharpness, but you run the risk of revealing artefacts created by the compression process.
Alternatively, you can shoot in uncompressed Camera Raw format and process the images to perfection in the Adobe Camera Raw editor – your digital darkroom. By shooting in raw format you have more information about a scene’s colours and tones to work with.
As you’ll see in our tutorial, the Camera Raw editor’s tools enable you to overcome common photo problems with greater control.
Shooting in JPEG format is fine if you need to quickly process your snaps, but if you’ve travelled to a unique location (such as our Himalayan scene) then editing in Camera Raw is like being back on location, enabling you to change camera settings to produce the perfect picture.
How to rescue travel photos in your Camera Raw editor: steps 1-6
01 Open start file
Download our start image and follow along! Copy the files onto your computer’s hard drive. In Photoshop Elements, go to File>Open. As this is a .dng (digital negative) file it will automatically open up in the Adobe Camera Raw editor. Our start image lacks contrast and has desaturated colours. It needs a bit of processing to look its best.
02 Change process
Photoshop Elements 11 replaces some of the sliders used in older versions of the Camera Raw editor. To access missing sliders in this version (such as Recovery), click on the Camera Calibration tab. Set the Process drop-down menu to 2010. This will restore familiar sliders to the Basic tab.
03 Change preset
When on location, you can use your camera’s presets to tweak colour and tone. By editing in raw you can experiment with different camera presets for better results. Go to the Camera Profile drop-down and choose Camera Landscape. This instantly boosts the scene’s washed out contrast.
04 Custom white balance
Click back on the Basic tab. Even though it’s a snowy location, the shot’s colours look a little too cool. You can quickly warm them up a little by changing the White Balance to Flash. The colours suffer from a hint of green tint that can be counteracted by dragging the Tint slider to +13.
05 Clipping warning
Press O to see any over-exposed highlights. These will appear as patches of red. Before we restore any clipped details we’ll crop the shot to improve the composition. This will save us from wasting time fixing areas that won’t appear in the final version of our processed picture.
06 Crop the shot
Now click on the Crop tool. Drag to select the entire shot. Click on the bottom left corner of the crop window. Hold down Shift and drag the corner handle to lose space at the edge and make the trees and flags look more prominent. Click the Zoom tool to see the cropped version.
PAGE 1 – How to rescue travel photos in your Camera Raw editor: steps 1-6
PAGE 2 – How to rescue travel photos in your Camera Raw editor: steps 7-12
PAGE 3 – Convert your travel photos to black and white in Photoshop Elements
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