>WFMW – Shooting RAW and Using Adobe Lightroom for Photo Editing

>works for me wednesday at we are that family
This is just a quick Works for Me Wednesday post before I hit the grindstone today.  A lot of people ask me how I get my photos to look so great.  Yes, I have a nice camera, a Nikon D90 digital SLR.  Yes, I have a collection of lenses and I know when each lens is appropriate to use. And of course, there is a lot of technique and experience involved in getting the shot.  But one tool in my arsenal has nothing to do with the camera at all, it’s what I do after the shot is downloaded to my computer. 

People also often ask me for quick copies of simple things, like my extended family asking for the digital files to copy during a weekend together so they don’t have to wait till I get home, edit, and upload them.  I get a lot of eye-rolling when I say no, that nothing ever goes unedited.  Nothing.  In fact, I don’t shoot JPG files, only RAW, so you can’t open them up to use or print without edting software.  This is my number one tip for new photographers using digital SLRs if you want to improve your photos….shoot in RAW.  One RAW file captures infinite more light and color data than a JPG file.  You may not notice the difference until you start trying to edit the image, but then you will surely figure out the advantage fast.  RAW allows you to “fix” under or over-exposed shots far more easily. 

If you are on a super tight budget, I highly recommend Photoshop Elements.  If you are serious about improving your photos, and especially if you take a LOT of photos, spend the extra money and get yourself Adobe Lightroom.  Lightroom is designed for photographers, not graphic artists, which is what Photoshop is really meant for.  It has done wonders for my workflow, allowing me to work faster and more efficiently.  If you have 20 images of the same person in the same spot with slightly different expressions you can make your edits to the first image and copy the settings to the other 19, lickety split!  I can soften the skin of newborn babies to give them that special glow, I can remove cuts and pimples from people’s faces, and I can make colors pop more.  It takes some practice with the various tools in the program, but I find it intuitive and there are countless free tutorials available on the interent. 

So that’s my advice for taking the next step in your photography, and it’s what works for me.


One response to this post.

  1. >Wow, a lot to learn! Thanks for sharing your expertise!!


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