The best way to extract every bit of image quality from your camera is to shoot in its raw mode. A raw image contains the exact data recorded by the camera’s sensor. By comparison, when a camera creates a JPEG image, it discards significant amounts of data in order to make the image more compact.
But life is full of trade-offs. Raw files provide far more flexibility when adjusting exposure and color balance in a post-processing program such as Adobe Lightroom, but use far more storage space than JPEGs. Many cameras have a “best of both worlds” mode in which they create a companion JPEG file along with a raw file. This lets you use the JPEG for minor edits but fall back on the raw file should the image require significant adjustments that, with a JPEG, could compromise quality.
Today’s Deke’s Techniques video shows how to merge multiple exposures inside of Adobe Photoshop CC and Camera Raw, creating a high dynamic range (HDR) image. For those not in the know, HDR imaging reproduces a wider exposure range, capturing both the faintest and most direct light in a single image. The classic example is a dark ground plane against a bright sky. However, without a special HDR-equipped camera, you don’t have much of a choice when you’re shooting. You can capture the sky and let the foreground recede into shadow, or capture the foreground and blow out the sky. By combining these images in post, you get the best of both worlds: a bright sky with detailed shadows.
In this technique, Deke uses Photoshop to perform the Merge to HDR Pro, resulting in a 32-bit image with lots of visual information but not a lot of life. He then takes advantage of the seamless Creative Cloud workflow to send the 32-bit HDR image to Camera Raw for further refinement, using the Camera Raw filter. Get started with the free video below, which includes bonus tips on getting multiple exposures with your camera’s bracketed shooting mode.
In last week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, we joined Ben Long at a wildlife preserve, where he photographed buffalo and prairie dogs—and shared some wildlife photography tips along the way. This week, it’s back to the buffalo—but this time, they’re on Ben’s computer screen. Something went wrong during Ben’s wildlife shoot: A lot of his photos were slightly overexposed and washed out. Camera light meters aren’t perfect, and when they don’t read a scene accurately, exposure problems result.
Fortunately, Adobe Photoshop—and other imaging programs, such as Lightroom, Aperture, and iPhoto—can often fix exposure problems. And if you shoot using your camera’s raw mode, you have that much more adjustment flexibility. That’s because raw mode saves every bit of data that your camera’s sensor recorded. By comparison, when you shoot in JPEG mode, your camera’s internal software—in its zeal to create a compact image file—throws away roughly one-third of the information that the sensor recorded.
Learn how to get rid of a special variety of color distortion called color fringing that’s at work inside your digital photographs. Color fringing falls into two color ranges—purple and green—which are color complements, falling on opposite sides of the color wheel. In this week’s Deke’s Techniques, Adobe guru Deke McClelland shows you how to identify and remove color fringing inside Camera Raw, and ensure that you get accurate color corrections.
Note that these instructions work best with Camera Raw 7, which ships with Photoshop CS6. If you’re working in an older version of the program, check out the videos at the end of this tutorial.
After watching our popular Photoshop CS5 Essential Training course, and hearing all about the photo-developing power of Adobe Camera Raw, one of our members wanted to know how to open her JPEG files in Adobe Camera Raw directly from within iPhoto. With a few Preference-setting hoops to jump through, it is entirely possible to set up iPhoto and Photoshop so that you can use iPhoto as your Photo organizing database of choice and still use Camera Raw in Photoshop to edit your JPEGs. Here’s a quick video tutorial that shows you the path of least resistance:
Note that for quick one-way edits (meaning you don’t have any need to go back to iPhoto with your newly edited image), you can set the Photoshop preferences as shown in the video, then simply drag an image from your iPhoto preview window onto the Photoshop icon in your dock and the image will open in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Also note, while I recorded this in Photoshop CS5, the preference settings are identical in Photoshop CS6. As a bonus, if you’re already using Photoshop CS6, expect to see some improvements to ACR developing, too.
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