06 Apr 2012 8 Comments
When I’m doing an photo session, I try really hard to get the lighting and everything correct in the camera, because that makes it much faster to edit later and improves my skills as a photographer. But sometimes I still mess up the exposure, and even when I get it correct, there are still edits that I do in Photoshop. Because of this, I shoot in RAW rather than JPEG because when you shoot in RAW, your memory card stores more information about the photo and so you can do better editing to it later. What is RAW? It is an image format that preserves most of the information of the captured image. The purpose of the RAW image format is to save the data obtained from your camera sensor when you took the image. RAW images are processed in Photoshop where adjustments can be made, and then the file is saved as a psd (photoshop file), TIFF, or JPEG so that you can store, print, and upload the photograph. Let me show you what I mean:
Here is the SOOC (straight out of camera) photograph of my lovely sister. This was the first time I used my new 5D classic camera, and I was still figuring out where all the buttons were :) Clearly this photograph is way too dark, and if I had shot it in JPEG, it might be totally unusable. But with raw, I can make major adjustment and fix the image.
When you open up a RAW file in Photoshop, this is what you will see:
On the right are a bunch of things you can adjust. Make sure you have the preview box checked in the top right so that when you make changes, you can see how they affect your photo.
The first thing I did was adjust the exposure, dragging the sliding bar to the right to lighten the image. Look how much better it looks already!
I then slightly adjusted the “blacks” and “brightness.” This increases the dark and light parts of the photo and gives it more contrast.
Then I adjusted the temperature by dragging the bar to the right. When you drag the bar to the right, you warm up your image. Trivia tidbit: temperature is measured in Kelvin.
Lastly, I increased Clarity and Vibrance a little bit, which makes the image a little sharper and brighter.
Now I’m ready to open the image up in Photoshop. The Open button is at the bottom right (you can’t see it on my screen). The photograph is so much better after the RAW edits!
Usually, my edits in RAW are a lot more subtle, but they still make a difference in the final image.
I will post another tutorial soon about how to make basic edits in Photoshop, what Photoshop actions are, and how to use important Photoshop tools.
Absolutely feel free to leave questions about this tutorial in the comment section. Also, if there’s anything else you’d like to learn about photography or Photoshop, let me know!