Camera RAW Workflow

4. Sharpness and noise reduction

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I always do these last, because any sharpening effects can be emphasised by increases in contrast done afterwards. I don’t usually set the sharpness this high, since I prefer to leave the image slightly soft and then add Unsharp Mask in Photoshop, but this picture is quite hazy, so a bit of extra sharpness will punch it up a bit.
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5. Output

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What you choose for this area will depend on what you intend to do with your final image. I’m planning to print this out at A3, so I’ll leave it at 10-megapixels, use the sRGB colour space, 16-bit colour depth, and a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. If I want to re-size the image later for sale to a photo library, I’ll use the bicubic resample feature in Photoshop, since that has been approved by the library I sell to.
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6. Save in TIFF format

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Before doing any further post-processing, I’ll save a copy of the converted image as an uncompressed TIFF-format file, since this preserves maximum image quality. The finished file is 57.46MB, so if you plan on doing a lot of this sort of stuff, make sure you’ve got plenty of hard drive space.
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Because of the wide variation in hardware and software, there is no “correct” way of processing RAW files, but with experimentation and practice you should be able produce much better images than the camera-processed JPEGs, and since they have never been compressed they will be of innately higher quality.

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