Pop quiz: What exactly does the Exposure slider do in Adobe Camera Raw? Chances are some of you will say it controls highlight, some will claim it affects the midtones, and some will just throw up your hands. Deke McClelland is here to clear up any confusion you may have around this adjustment and help you master exposure in Camera Raw.
Today in Deke’s Techniques, he’ll help you take a dark, heavily shadowed image and bring out the brightness—and rugged handsomeness—of its subject: fellow lynda.com author James Williamson! (Did you know these guys hang out together? Worlds collide!) He’ll accomplish all of this using the controls in the Basic tab in Camera Raw, including the Exposure slider. He’ll also show how to avoid clipping your shadows and highlights, work directly in the histogram, and make other adjustments in the Effects tab to diminish any noise that might occur as the result of your exposure adjustment.
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.
Shooting with a limited amount of natural light at a high ISO can result in a lot of noise in your photos—like the image below that Deke shot in Carlsbad Caverns, 800 feet below ground. But if you have a high enough number of pixels, you can rescue the photo and smooth it into a print-worthy image with the assistance of Adobe Camera Raw.
Welcome back to Deke’s Techniques. This week learn how to transform the Dunguaire Castle image from last week’s technique into a weathered black-and-white print with Adobe Photoshop and Camera Raw. We’ll balance the luminance levels to create the sepia tone, and we’ll add some film grain and vignetting. Let’s see how it works.
The first time you try them out, Photoshop filters can be sort of fun, turning your images into a pastel drawing or giving them a chrome effect. But as Deke points out in this week’s free technique, you’ll soon realize that many of these built-in filters are nothing you’d actually want to use. So instead, Deke has used a familiar tool to a surprising purpose this week, by using Adobe Camera Raw to create some filter-like recipes that result in usable effects. And you don’t need to use raw-format photos to make it work, either.
He begins with this image (shot by lynda.com‘s own Jacob Cunningham), which does happen to be a raw image to which Deke applies conventional Camera Raw processing in order to set his starting point:
For his first effect, Deke uses a negative Clarity value to reduce the edge contrast and a negative Vibrance setting to leach out the most vivid colors in the image. He then adds back some saturation to return the glow of the model’s skin tone.
Next, Deke takes the same image, and applies a bleached effect that’s centered around the application of a drastic temperature reduction. Who needs Instagram when you have ACR?
The third effect emulates old school cross-processing (as if you were developing one kind of film with a process designed for another) by adjusting the temperature and tone, then setting vibrance and saturation at odds. The result is this interesting effect:
The next recipe applies an etched effect, which gives our good-natured model an almost other-worldly look. This part of the technique involves tweaking the Recovery, Fill, Blacks, Contrast, and Clarity values.
Finally, because you’ve undoubtedly come to expect extremes from Deke, he’ll show you how he used the Tone Curve to set the different levels inside the image at extremes with one another, resulting in this stark treatment:
Five photo-processing filters in under nine minutes. And all along, you’re applying your effect to duplicates of an original smart object, so everything is non-destructive and you can riff off of Deke’s ideas without harming your original image.
And if that’s not enough, members of the lynda.com Online Training Library® can view another new movie in which Deke shares his sixth and most outrageous filter effect inside Adobe Camera Raw. It’s Deke—you can occasionally question his taste but never his talent. And you never know what the inspirational effects of going over the edge might be.
Camera Raw is an independent application that lets you develop your raw photographs and exploit every byte of the vast information captured by your digital SLR camera. Not just powerful, it is a force unto itself. In this week’s Photoshop Top 40 Countdown, Deke shows us how to tap into its many features.
Macworld.com thinks that lynda.com would be a pretty cool holiday gift idea for the creative types in your life, and while we might have a bit of a bias, we agree.
Here are a few reasons to give the gift of lynda.com this year at the holidays:
You know someone who is getting a new digital camera this year. Check out the hours and hours of digital photography and camera RAW courses in the Online Training Library®.
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So, yes, we’re a little biased, but we know from experience that there are hundreds of reasons not to want to go to the mall this time of year: The long wait in lines, not knowing your giftees’ clothing sizes, fighting traffic, catching colds from strangers. There are also a lot of reasons that a gift subscription to lynda.com is a great option for many on your gift list. Visit the lynda.com Gift Center today and give the gift of knowledge.