Camera RAW Workflow

If you ask any five professional photographers about the process they use to create their pictures, you’ll get ten different answers. The amount of processing and adjustment used varies depending on the job at hand and the type of final image required, as well as the type of camera used to take the photo and the type of software used to process it. However I’ll run through what I normally do for landscape shots that I want to print for display, which should at least get you thinking in the right direction. For this shot of Tavy Cleave on Dartmoor, I used a Sony Alpha A100 DSLR with an 18-70mm lens, and converted the RAW file using Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CS2.

1. Correct any lens aberration.

Although the 18-70mm kit lens that is supplied with the A100 is excellent value for money, it isn’t perfect, and suffers from slight chromatic aberration toward the edges of the frame. Fortunately Camera RAW has an option to correct this. It’s largely a matter of doing it by eye, but you can create your own pre-sets for often-used focal length and aperture combinations.


2. Adjust exposure and contrast

This doesn’t usually need much adjustment, but for this shot I’ve boosted the saturation and contrast to compensate for the slight haze, and also slightly increased the brightness while reducing the heaviness of the shadows. I’ve also set the white balance to a neutral 5500K.


3. Curves

Adobe Camera RAW also provides a second method of adjusting contrast, by altering the tone curve. It has several pre-set values.

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