Six Great Tips for Editing RAW in Lightroom


Camera vs. Computer 

It’s essential to understand the differences between JPEG and RAW image files and how those differences can affect your final product. There is a big difference between the two file types, especially if you plan on doing some editing.

After shooting a picture in RAW, what you see on your camera won’t match what you see later on your computer. The camera is showing you a JPEG image, not a RAW file. Your camera will automatically process the JPEG file to realistically capture what you saw and shot. Once you import the RAW file into Lightroom, that JPEG processing vanishes. You’re left with the unedited (original) RAW file. Thus, the difference between what you see on your camera and your computer.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. RAW files contain a lot of data, giving you more to work with for editing. While JPEG images might look good in your camera, they have less detail, making them trickier to edit without losing quality. This is why many serious photographers prefer to shoot RAW images. It will cost them some effort and time to edit, but they will have more to work with. The results are far better images than an average JPEG.

Restraint With Editing

Achieving excellent photo editing results involves using restraint to ensure a balanced outcome. Make the edits selectively, keeping in mind that if your goal is to create a realistic image, you’ll want to be selective and avoid dramatic changes.

While most images need individualized edits, the most common elements to adjust are:

  • Exposure

  • Shadows

  • Highlights

  • Saturation

  • Temp

When and how (and probably where) you shoot an image will influence the edits needed. For example, photos taken outdoors will likely need different modifications than images taken inside because lighting significantly impacts photos.

Often, a few tweaks of the sliders are all that’s needed to correct an image. The further you push a slider, the more you erode the image quality. You’ll begin to lose detail, and imperfections will start to appear. 


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