Processing An Image

Before

 

After

It’s not always easy to get the image you want without fine tuning. Like it or not, it’s a huge part of modern photography.

I always take every shot both as a jpeg and a raw file. In so doing, it’s simple to see how my camera processed the scene as a jpeg and compare it to processing the raw image with software. Every raw image has loads of data that’s never processed. The two examples above show that is is possible to select an otherwise dreary image, using the raw file, and create something that is, at least, acceptable.

I’ve tried several different brands of photo editing software and I’m convinced that Photoshop CS5 with the accompanying plug-in, Adobe Camera Raw, tops the list. Despite all the rave about Photoshop, Camera Raw really has most of the tools necessary to create the image you desire. PS has the fine tools for the finishing touch, however, CR has the optimal basics to bring out whatever is possible to recover from a raw file.

Basic adjustments in CR are really quite simple, and it’s important to follow them in the order they are presented. White balance, exposure, recovery, fill light, and contrast top the list as first steps. Minor tweaks might be necessary later.

One of my favorite features in the new version is the graduated filter. It can be dragged around to fit in almost any position where you can then adjust any of the other features (ie. color, contrast, exposure, clarity, etc,). It works great on skies.

Noise reduction has been vastly improved in the latest version of CR. That said, if you want a real improvement in noise reduction, use the Photoshop plugin, Noise Ninja. It targets only the areas that need noise reduction while leaving other areas untouched. That’s important since too much noise reduction produces a soft look on the overall image.

For a complete detailed analysis of CR, there’s one excellent book available, “Real World Camera Raw Photoshop CS5” by Jeff Schewe and Bruce Fraser.

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~ by spencedove on April 12, 2011.

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