Great Camera Raw Book

Camera Raw with Photoshop My late discovery of Camera Raw format continues. I picked up Camera Raw with Photoshop, and I'm learning quite a bit about how to adjust raw files. As a bonus, I'm learning about how digital cameras work. (I'm going to call my camera a photon recorder from now on, because it sounds like something from Star Trek.) I learned early in my digital photography experience to underexpose everything, and bump up the midtones later in Photoshop. I could almost always salvage an underexposed photo, but if highlights were blown out there was no saving the photo. Camera Raw works differently, though. Completely blown highlights are still trouble, but if you expose the shot toward the right-end of the histogram, you can bring the exposure down in Photoshop and get more detail in the photo. So far I've learned that getting correct exposure when I take the photo is even more critical with raw, but that erring on the overexposed side can have good results. Even learning that the human eye sees shadow-detail better than highlights has me thinking about exposing for shadow-tones as I take photos. (Instead of thinking that the shadows will be all or mostly black in the final photo.)

This book has already taught me a lot about reading histograms, white balance, and color balance. It's written for people who know their way around Photoshop, but I think novices will pick up quite a bit of digital darkroom theory. Reading this has been like watching over the shoulder of a Camera Raw pro as they fine-tune their photos, while they explain why they're making each adjustment, step by step.

Comments

There's a lot of talk about how easy digital photography is because you can see what you're going to get on the back of the camera immediately. I disagree-

Digital cameras in general have less exposure latitude than film, particularly with highlights- under exposing a 1/2 stop or more can usually save your shot. Whereas with film you could often get away with exposures off by 2 or more stops; with digital, you really can only go a stop at the most (especially on the highlight end) and still salvage detail- whether you're shooting raw or not. you're right, though- exposure is critical. much more so than with film.


Also, what you see on the back of the camera can be very misleading. I've been relying more on the histogram than the thumbnail lately. And a nice feature of newer digital cameras is that completely overexposed sections will flash black. That's a good, quick indication that the exposure was way off.
I've been shooting in RAW since I bought my Digital Rebel and can't imagine working with anything else now.

I'm also using Histograms more and more as displays are misleading. I've turned the brightness of mine right down.

This book http://www.amazon.co.uk/o/ASIN/0817463003/ comes highly recommended on Dpreview.com. I ordered a copy last night and I'm patiently awaiting it's arrival.
Yep, I'll 2nd Understanding Exposure. Here's the US version--

http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/0817463003/onfocus

It's one of the first books about photography I picked up, and I've been referring to it for years. (I haven't seen the updated version.)
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