How to edit raw images..

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 88888888, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. 88888888 macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    I started shooting in raw.. but im having trouble editing them..
    How do you edit them?
    Do I edit the raw (adjust sharpness, highlights, etc.) then export them as jpeg?

    or do i export the raw as jpeg and edit the jpeg..

    so lost.
  2. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    in what application?

    photoshop? iphoto? something else?

    it doesnt sound like you should be shooting in RAW?

    whats the content of your images?
  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I have several years of PhotoShop experience, but when I got my dslr I took things real easy. I shot just .jpeg to get used to the camera and then RAW+.jpeg just to see what the RAW editing panes looked like. I could goof with RAW without worrying about my images, since I was comfortable with .jpeg editing. I did this for about a month before I was OK with just RAW. Have a look at these search results and take your time.

    Note: I shot film for 30 years. Digital is a new thing to me.

  4. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
  5. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    For simple editing of RAW files (most common ones) you can use iPhoto or something like Picasa. Just download the RAW files into the program, then do your usual editing the same as with .jpegs. If you export a file, then the conversion is done, usually to .jpeg at the size you choose to export to. The original file is never altered, so you always have it when you want to re-edit it, or do conversion in another program in the future.

    Shooting RAW will take much larger file sizes as a rule, but the nice thing is that in the future as software gets better and better at RAW conversion, you still have the original RAW files to convert from. If you're shooting Nikon RAW files (.NEF) you can also use Capture NX2 to convert the files and it will recognize all the in-camera settings/picture controls you applied to the file. These can also be changed again in the software, so it's more flexible than outputting a .jpeg only file from the camera which will limit how much you can change things like white balance, exposure, etc.

    If you're doing ordinary, snapshot type stuff then just shoot in .jpeg to save some storage and time.

    I'm sure some folks who have more experience in digital RAW conversion may have more to add to this.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    iPhoto handles RAW the same as JPG. You will hardly notice the difference except that the adjustment slides are more effective ad offer a greater range of adjustment if the files are RAW.

    The above applies to Aperture too.
  7. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Basically it's this:

    RAW is the data the camera captured - without processing.

    A few years ago, it was very difficult to edit raw - you had to import, then export tiff/jpg into photoshop, etc.

    Today however it's much easier. Personally I use Lightroom, have used Aperture in the past and I think even iphoto will edit raw. You can't actually edit RAW in photoshop, so if you're using PS you'll have to export first, which is where a program like Aperture or Lightroom makes life much easier (can use Adobe bridge as well, I just never liked it)/

    The key is that the RAW file will always remain untouched, it's basically like your negative. So you will have to export a jpg if you wish to print.

    I end up with a print output folder with jpgs, that I periodically delete. Other than that, everything is RAW on my system except for TIFFs I export to do photoshop work.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Try to edit in a lossless format, raw, TIFF, PNG, it really doesn't matter, so long as you always go back to it to edit. It takes more space, but I'd save as TIFF (with LZW compression, which is loss-less) after the initial edits so that you can always go back to the raw file as a completely untouched "digital negative" in case something interesting happens in image processing at some point in time that makes you want to re-import the original images (or you get better at or have a feeling for different levels of saturation, contrast, WB....) Then save to JPEG as the last step, since if you re-edit the JPEG you'll lose some information with each save, eventually visibly degrading the images. Getting into the habit of always exporting to JPEG last means you don't have to worry about the loss no matter how many steps you put into your workflow over time.

  9. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005

    What are you talking about, "exporting as a TIFF/JPG before Photoshop"? Just open the RAW file in Photoshop, which prompts Camera Raw. Do any preliminary adjustments and click OK. The file instantly goes into Photoshop. Edit away, and save afterwards. There is no exporting step in-between that.

    And PS, Bridge is not an editor. It's a file browser.
  10. capoeirista macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2007
    I tend to download the RAW files into bridge, trash the bad ones (most of them sadly:p) then use the RAW editor in Bridge to tinker with the pictures. The RAW editor in Bridge is the same as that in PS (I think), and if the files a tweak more than what the RAW editor can handle I export them into photoshop.

    However, all this is entirely moot if you don't own a copy of Creative Suite.

    OP I started shooting in RAW when I bought my camera (all of 5 months ago), and only because of what I'd read whilst I was reseaching what camera to buy. I would suggest that lots of reading around the subject would be a good start. Oh and I bought a Canon which I think comes with some RAW editing software in the box, if this helps...
  11. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    My error - the last time I tried to use PS direct from raw files was probably 4-5 years ago when I was using Rawshooter as my RAW processor. I forgot that camera raw would automatcially run - but basically it IS exporting a file to PS - right?

    I've been spoiled by aperture and LR over the last several years - thanks for setting the record straight.
  12. 88888888 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    I tried editing in raw.. they don't appear as sharp, colors are off compared when i shoot jpeg..

    I think im unsure how to adjust sharpness, definition, saturation, colors, levels etc... How do i learn how to do that kind of stuff?
  13. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    RAW files don't have any in-camera sharpening applied to them (jpegs do) so they will initially appear a little softer than when editing JPEGs. Expect to need to apply a little more sharpening to the shots to get them to the same sharpness. Note that this does not mean the RAW files are not as sharp, all the data is there you just need to do the sharpening yourself (this can be thought of as a good thing because it gives you greater control over the sharpness)

    Color renditions too will be "off" from the JPEGs because they don't get the in-camera color profile, which is proprietary to each camera manufacturer and they don't give it out to other companies like adobe to use. If getting that same color look is important to you, open the RAW file in your camera brand's RAW converter (example if you shoot Nikon, use Nikon Capture NX) and it will apply the proprietary color profile to the RAW. Otherwise software like Lightroom has some color presets that emulate the look of the manufacturer profile. Again this can be thought of as a good thing because it gives you a greater control over the color rendition.

    Saturation, levels, etc. are all handled just the same as a JPEG file. It just may be that they need more working or different approaches vs. a JPEG.

  14. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    When you say "colors are off compared to when I shoot jpeg", that could mean a couple different things.

    If you mean the jpeg is closer to the real image, then it sounds like (surprisingly) your default white balance and color settings that your editor uses are doing something odd. Normally your editor should just grab your camera's "as shot" white balance setting and use that by default, so in terms of white balance the jpeg and the default RAW should be the same. With RAW, you can always change the white balance (well technically you can with jpeg too, but the adjustment will be applied to already-compressed data and so will be less accurate).

    If all you mean is the jpeg and the RAW file look different, then Ruahrc has already covered that.

    As far as learning how to use the program goes - there are lots of tutorials on the web, video demos (certainly for Aperture and Lightroom), etc. If you tell us what software you're using, you might get better info.
  15. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    When cameras save in jpeg they "optimize" the picture from the raw sensor file (RAW file). This usually includes sharpening, white balance adjustment, and a few other things. You just never see this as the end user until you see the RAW images. The good thing about RAW is that you can do all the adjustments the way YOU want them done and there is more data in the image file. One example is that white balance adjustment on a RAW file is much better and accurate compared with editing a jpeg file. To the point where I don't even worry about white balance anymore because I know I can get it perfectly when I'm editing the image.
  16. bzollinger macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2005
    I suggest starting with the software that came with your camera. Once you get that down. Then move on to something else. Unless you have PS, then ACR is good for most every camera.
  17. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    88888888, you started this thread 3 months ago with same Q, seasoned members gave you advice and no reply from you in this thread, then asked again by you 3 months later??

    My advice, worked for me, ymmv:
    Go to Borders/etc and browse the photography section there.
    Lots of printed material on your Q, will show you what to and what actions does what, with before/after.
    All will show you workflow (steps); do this 1st, this 2nd, this 3rd, etc, routine steps to follow.
    Find a book you are comfortable with and buy it, read it, use it.

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