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Adobe Photoshop Tutorial




Camera Settings

Before I go any further I think it is important to talk about actually shooting in RAW. The only difference between cameras that support RAW and those that don't is the way the information is recorded. All cameras initially receive RAW data. I.E. totally unprocessed data that comes in through the lens. Most cameras have to process this information into 8 bit format before it can be written to memory but some, mainly DSLRs can record everything 'unprocessed' straight to memory. I say, 'unprocessed' but that's not strictly true as I will explain.

So, what information does the camera use for processing? The information it uses depends on the settings we set before we take the shot. There are two types of settings, Mechanical and Software.

Before digital cameras and fancy electronic cameras came on the scene all cameras were strictly mechanical. The only settings you could control were Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. OK ISO is more a physical characteristic of the film rather than mechanical but I'm going to lump it together with the others as it makes sense to do so. It is these settings that make up your Exposure.

With modern cameras you can set all sorts of other features as well. All these features, however, are software driven. Exposure compensation, White balance, Sharpening, Contrast, Tonal corrections, Noise Reduction etc, etc.

Why do we need to know the difference when shooting RAW? Because making changes to any software driven settings is a waste of time but it is VERY important to set the right 'Mechanical' settings if you want to get the most out of you RAW conversion. True, RAW conversion can fix exposure problems but it has it's limits. If the original exposure was well out then it is quite possible that the data required to restore the image simply isn't there. Fixing the image in RAW will still produce better results than to attempt it as a jpeg but it's not a miracle machine.

Software settings. There is no need to set any of the other software driven settings before taking your shot. Leave the White balance on Auto and the Exposure compensation on '0'. That's two less things to worry about. If you do set them all you are doing is setting the 'Default' settings when you open the image in ACR (Adobe CAmera RAW) or any other RAW conversion software you might be using. You will see later when we look at the 'Basics' tabbed window in ACR that there is a 'Default' marker above the exposure settings and an 'As Shot' option above the white balance. Selecting either of these after making various changes will reset everything to the settings you chose to set on your camera. So as you can see, any of these settings that you set on your camera can be either undone or redone in your post processing and probably will be. It is the Mechanical settings that you cannot change.

In summary. Before taking your shot, make sure you set the required aperture and shutter speed and have the right ISO setting for the light. Don't mistake Exposure Compensation for Exposure. Exposure is the combination of Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO.



RAW - Intro

Next Tutorial - Importing RAW files with Bridge

Adobe Camera RAW Interface Explained.

Creating and Applying Presets

ACR Basics & Exposure Tools

ACR Sharpening & Noise Reduction

ACR Curves tools

HSL/Grayscale tools (Hue, Saturation and Luminance)

Split Toning tools

Lens Correction tools

ACR Top Menu Bar (Crop, rotate and blemis removal etc)

Saving your settings and converting your RAW files

Bridge and Converted RAW Files



Recommended Further Reading for Photoshop

Return to introduction & contents page

"A-Z of Digital Editing"


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