- The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers
- The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
Everyone knows that RAW files are the best quality format, but not every beginning photographer knows why that is. Let's dive a little deeper into that. The RAW file from your camera is the uncompressed image file. In other words, whatever capabilities your camera has are contained in that file.
The RAW file is also best suited for post processing, mainly because you don't lose image quality, which is not the case with JPGs.
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Exactly how much processing a RAW file can take depends on the camera it came from. Newer cameras have a wide dynamic range and that gives you a lot to work with in post processing. For example, you can take an underexposed shot (a very dark photo for all you beginners), and turn it into a correctly exposed photo with the help of tools like Lightroom and Photoshop. You can even save an overexposed photo if it was taken with a good enough camera. Only after experimenting will you be able to tell how much post processing your camera's RAW files can take.
As a rule of thumb, if you can't get an even exposure, because of a bright sky for instance, it's better to underexpose the rest of the photo. Make sure the highlights are properly exposed because the darker areas are much easier to save than the blown highlights.
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Using a ND filter will also help you even out the exposure. Consider buying one if you don't already have it. Until then, check out the ND capabilities of Lightroom 6 in this video tutorial with Mark Wallace for Adorama TV.