Raw workflow Intro.
In the next few weeks I’ll cover different aspects of the “raw workflow” (along with a few other side topics). I personally don’t adjust my photos a lot, I don’t have the time or patience to spend 20 hours working on 128 layers in Photoshop. So my experiences and needs may differ from others. Friends of mine shoot a lot less that I do and work their images a lot more (to each their own). I also only use a very limited amount of software , Picassa and Light room are the 2 I use most. I don’t have Photoshop but Photoshop elements. As Light Room covers 99% of my needs I didn’t see the point in spending so much money.
If you rethink digital for a second, and instead of having a JPG finished product coming out of your camera (kind of like a Polaroid camera providing you with a finished product), but you load you DSLR with RAW film. Our RAW’s are a digital film that we have to develop in the digital darkroom e.g. Light Room, ACDsee pro, Apeture, Bibble, Phase one etc. There are a lot to chose from, they all offer trial versions so try before you buy and chose the one that you feel comfortable with. A lot of the processes in the raw workflow are still based (and named) on how film was developed like dodging and burning. So although we no longer have a physical piece of film, the raw workflow still have a lot of similarities to the good old darkroom, as that is where it evolved from.
Before you get started.
1st before you can edit any image on your computer you monitor needs to be calibrated.
If your not seeing you images on a properly calibrated monitor then how do you know that the corrections are actually correct or that others will see the same final product. The grey scale above will help give a rough idea of how well calibrated you monitor is. You should see pure white on the left and pure black on the right a total of 20 evenly sized different shaded bars. If the left most bar isn’t pure whit but has a tint of another shade then the colour temp of your monitor may be out. If you only see a very fat white bar left or black bar right then your gamma, contrast or brightness may be incorrect.
The grey scale is only a rough guide line to help you see how close your monitor is. But as the human eye sees things differently from person to person, the only true way to calibrate you screen is with a bit of hardware. There are a lot of different calibration devices on the market: the cheaper ones can only do a minor colour balance, the more expensive ones can do full monitor calibration as well as calibration for printers and scanners.