Tips For Editing Camera Raw Files In Adobe Lightroom

Using raw image files

Raw images carry unprocessed details that can be further developed into a great photograph. The regular jpeg images that you click using a camera is automatically enhanced depending on the maker of the camera. The raw images are untouched by the automated settings of a camera.

The camera raw file format changes with the brand and model number of the camera. The commonly used camera raw format is the Digital Negative or DNG format.

Lightroom supports import of different types of raw files. The iOS version of Lightroom also offers editing of certain raw images which can be opened in the desktop version for further enhancements.

12 Tips to develop your raw images beautifully

Import your raw image in the Lightroom workspace and follow these tips as per the required results:

1. Adding white balance

When you click on white balance option, there is a pop-up list of white balance options such as daylight, cloudy, tungsten and more. You can use one of the options to fix the white balance of your raw image or try better options from the list.

2. Color and Tone Correction

Adjust the color balance in photographs. Clarity, vibrance, hue, saturation, tone curve etc. are some of the Lightroom options to correct the color and tone of the images. The vibrance slider is used to control saturation but it does not oversaturate skin colors.

3. Correct the exposure

The raw image may be overexposed or underexposed. Use the exposure slider to increase or decrease the exposure values.

4. Enhance the details

Use the fill tool to bring back the missing detail in the image which is present in the raw file.

The amount of brightness captured by the raw image is much more than a regular jpeg image. Adjust the values in the highlights slider to recover the details from a raw image in Lightroom.

5. Vignette effect

Lightroom has a post crop vignetting feature which can be used to add effects to a cropped image.

If you have a lot of highlights in your image then choose the Highlight Priority effect. Choose the Color Priority effect to preserve color hues in your raw image. Select the Paint Overlay option to blend black and white colors with original colors of your raw image.

6. Grain effect

Add a film grain style to your raw images to create grain effect. For revealing a part of the image, add the grain effect to rest of the image area with a higher value as grain amount. You can control the size, amount, and roughness of the grain. For a blurred image, increase the size of the grain particle to more than 25%.

7. Dehaze effect

There are times when weather conditions can lead to a hazy image with smoke or fog. To fix the haziness or adjust it, use the dehaze effect. Once you have made the required changes to the photograph by adjusting the color, brightness etc., go and select the “Dehaze” options in the effects panel.

8. Radial Filter

To focus on people or objects in an image, you can use the radial filter. After you select the radial filter from the toolbar, you need to select an area of focus. The filter gives you the choice to apply the modification inside or outside the circle drawn by you.

While working on projects for photo retouching services, you can add more radial filters on the images to bring multiple objects into focus.

9. Paint with the Adjustment brush

Lightroom gives you the freedom to paint the local adjustments such as brightness, tint, saturation, clarity and more. This alternative lets you paint adjustments in parts of the images as per your choice.

Similar results can be achieved with the Graduated Filter tool.

10. Retouching

Professionals widely use the retouching features of Lightroom to deliver high-quality photo retouching. You can remove blemishes, adjust brightness and make a lot of adjustments to retouch photos.

Here is one quick tip; before starting to retouch portraits, tick “Profile corrections” and “Remove chromatic aberration” in the basic tab under the lens corrections tab to fix distortions captured by the camera lens.

11. Save presets

You can save the changes that you make using the Adjustment Brush tool or the Graduated Filter tool as a preset. Use the “New Local Correction Setting” to save the adjustment presets and use it again while working with raw images. These presets can be useful while working on color correction of similar images.

12. Add Camera Raw

You can use the Camera Raw plugin with Lightroom to correct distorted perspectives and do more. Camera Raw is another raw image processor from Adobe and has similar photo editing functions.

Personalise Your Photographs – Enjoy Your Photography More

Modern Digital Cameras are remarkable in that they can help you to take photographs that are almost perfect in a technical sense. The camera manufacturer has included software in the camera’s ‘brain’ which quickly analyses the picture you are taking, compares the result with it’s built-in library and then gives you what the manufacturer thinks is the perfect result. No matter who is taking the picture with that camera the result will be the same.

Digital cameras all over the world are producing millions and millions of pictures of an ‘acceptable’ standard based on the average results of the calculations of the camera manufacturers.

But, what if you are not content to be ‘average’? Perhaps you would like to capture images that are ‘your’ images alone. Unlike the images anyone else might take with the identical camera. You would like to be able to use your own creative instincts which would make your photography so much more rewarding than if you simply press the shutter button.

During my courses I have had many people say to me ‘I would love to be able to do creative exposures but I have only got a very basic point and shoot camera.’ There is no such thing! All digital cameras are just amazing in what they can do but most users just accept what they think are the limitations.

Exposure Value Compensation

I have yet to meet a camera, no matter how simple, that does not have this function built in to it. This is a fantastic, easy to use method of personalising your pictures and, judging by people I have had on my courses, I would estimate that over 90% of camera users have not even heard about it, let alone made use of it!

It allows you to adjust the automatic exposure setting of your camera to give you the type of creative exposure that you really want. Making your picture either darker or lighter than the automatic setting can make the world of difference – many times the difference between a snapshot and an excellent, creative image.

Being digital you can immediately see the result on your camera screen and re-adjust your exposure if necessary. This is all part of the fun!

There will either be a +/- button somewhere on the outside of the camera or else it will be easily accessible using the camera menu (read your instruction manual!)

It is really easy to use – if you want the picture to be darker move the pointer to the left and if you want it to be lighter move it to the right. Being digital you can see the effect immediately. It’s that easy to add your input to your pictures!

= underexpose (darker)

+ = overexpose (lighter)

With some cameras you will have to turn the small dial from ‘A’ for Automatic to ‘P’ for Programme to be able to use Exposure Compensation. Nothing else should change.

Do not forget to switch back to zero!

The EV setting does not self correct when you turn off the camera. Otherwise you may get a lot of images tomorrow which don’t look as you expect them to look!

Don’t hesitate. Take out your camera and experiment with Exposure Value Compensation today. You will be so happy!

What Makes A Great Sports Action Photo?

This article is going to be a little different from many of the ones I like to read on sports photography. Most provide very useful tips on which camera settings work best for different types of shots. I have read others that give great insight on how to take better sports action photos. These are all very informative. But how do you know if you’ve got a great action shot? I think it would be very interesting to find out what different photographers look for in a great sports action photo. So that is what this article will address. What is the difference between a good action shot and a great one? Here are three things I look for when making that distinction. If any one of these three elements are captured, it has the makings of an awesome shot. Get two out of the three, and there is an excellent chance that you have taken a photo that will always be remembered.

Element #1: Intense Focus & Concentration. Being able to capture the look on athletes’ faces when they are totally in the zone can really set a photograph apart. It’s one of those qualities in a shot that you can’t necessarily plan for, but you know it when you see it. Here is what I mean. One tennis player I really enjoy watching is Roger Federer. If you ever want to see what total concentration looks like when a tennis player at the top of his game is executing his most lethal stroke, just Google “Roger Federer Backhand”. His eyes are trained on the ball like a couple of lasers as he prepares to hit the ball. I am convinced that if someone blasted an air horn right next to Federer’s ear, he wouldn’t even hear it as he nailed another backhand winner. There are plenty of examples in other sports as well. So without a doubt, if an athlete’s focus and concentration can be caught in a photo, it can make for a very special shot.

Element #2: Raw Emotion. If focus and concentration can give a photograph a certain edge, raw emotion brings it to life. I have seen many iconic sports moments on television. And years, even decades later, nothing can put me back in that moment better than a photo that has captured the emotion at that instant in time. One of best examples I can think of is the shot of Brandi Chastain after she scored the winning penalty kick to beat China in the 1999 Women’s World Cup in soccer. Again, you can Google it to see what I mean. Caught up in the moment, Chastain, ripped off her jersey revealing her sports bra and dropped to her knees in celebration. The look on her face says it all, but that is only half of the story. One of the wider shots shows her teammates sprinting down the field to join her in that celebration. That was pure, unadulterated joy, and I can’t imagine there is anything that gives a sports photographer more satisfaction than capturing that for an eternity.

Element #3: The Human Body Operating At Its Peak. Let’s face it, the human body is an incredible machine. And when it can be caught in a photograph working at peak performance, it really is amazing. It doesn’t really matter what sport the athlete plays, but my favorites to watch in this arena are the individual Olympic Sports. One athlete I truly enjoyed watching in the Rio Olympics was Simone Biles. She dominated the competition on her way to winning the all-around gold medal. There were times when I thought she was going to jump out of the gym. There are dozens of outstanding photos (yup, that’s right. Google “Simone Biles”) showing her twisting and twirling in a way that the human body was not meant to do. And the ease in which Biles appears to do it is equally impressive.

So those are three elements that I think are keys to a great sports action photo: intense concentration, raw emotion, and the human body operating at its peak. Capturing one of those elements will separate your shot from the pack. Nailing two of them would be a clear game changer. What are some of your favorite sports action photos? I would enjoy hearing from you and getting your perspective. In the meantime, good luck in your efforts.

What Is Creative Photography?

Creative photography is a wide open field for all people. Honestly speaking, there’s no straightforward definition of the term, as a good number of people think of a creative photo as something that’s both abstract and out of focus. Others simply think the term “creative” is just a fun way to praise an overall bad photo. But what would be the next best thing that can define creative photography for us? Some artists think of creative photography as something that contains extra elements which are used to improve the original version of the photo in a creative way.

If you noticed, that definition has two very important aspects which make a big difference between a creative photo and an everyday photo:

Extra Elements, which are mainly outside of the regular process of taking a photo, and have plenty of space for interpretation. Creative minds always include some simplistic kind of workflow in photos, and they can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. The main goal is to simply get only the best out of a single photo.

Intent, or the intentional use of extra elements. When taking photos, photographers always lack that extra creativity. This is why getting good camera exposure will never make a photo look or feel creative. But the intentional underexposing with a goal of getting a darker image does add an extra touch of creativity.

When capturing a well exposed image of anything, no artist will consider it as a creative sample. If you’re asking yourself why, you should know that it’s because nothing outside of your normal photography workflow was used to take the image. As good as your location, lighting, timing, and all other real life factors are, you just can’t bring out the colors and other details of an image without good post-processing skills.

Once you compare a non-stylized photo with something taken under harsh light, a shallow depth of field (DOF), and the rule of the thirds, you can create an image that will get your audience to dream about whatever your image showcases. With that approach to photography, not all artists will admit that your work has a creative touch, but when you take the definition highlighted above, the extra elements and the intent can be nature itself.

Of course people will always differentiate creative and non-creative photography, but just like art, there is no pattern that will direct you in any way whatsoever. There’s no definitive answer to what makes a photographer creative, because unlike the technical side of photography, which has a clearly defined workflow, the creative part doesn’t have it. That’s the more challenging and exciting part in creative photography, and that is also why people think of learning photography as something they spend their whole lives on. Even though you can grasp knowledge of the technical side of photography, it’s the creative side that will demand you to always look for new ways of accomplishing your goals.

The unfortunate thing is that almost nobody can ever give you a straightforward workflow on creativity. The only two things you can work on are careful observation and thinking outside of the box. These two methods are absolutely mandatory for capturing creative photos.

The best practices for capturing an image ready for a creative touch include improving the frame’s composition by removing all elements around it that are distracting to the eye (such as trees or buildings). The end result will, of course, look dull and boring, even though there are no technical errors on the image. It can take as little as a sea wave to make a picture look stunning, and it’s a completely natural occurrence.