Tips for editing raw files

Photographers interested in printing their pictures will usually record raw files at the same time as the regular JPEG format, and most serious cameras include a RAW+JPEG setting for this purpose. Advanced cameras let you choose the size and quality of the JPEG image so you can opt for the biggest and best JPEGs or the smallest JPEGs for online sharing and when storage space is limited.

Filters and effects

Many of today’s cameras come with built-in filter effects that can be applied”¨ to shots as you take them. They are only applied to JPEGs because raw files are, by definition, created without adjustments. However, most (if not all) filter effects can be applied once images are in an editable format (JPEG or TIFF) and there’s plenty of software to help you.

Monochrome conversion

While some subjects look best in full, glorious colour, others can work better when rendered into black and white. Even though dedicated monochrome cameras exist, it’s easy to convert a colour image into monochrome and the end result can be as satisfying. Better still, you also have a colour original to return to.

Colour adjustments

Most image editors include tools for adjusting the hue and intensity of colours, as well as adjusting the overall colour balance in images. These adjustments are necessary because image sensors sometimes fail to record ‘true’ colours or produce colours that are out-of-balance in one or more ways.

Brightness and contrast adjustments

Brightness and contrast adjustments are among the most common functions performed on digital images. Because of this – and because photographers expect to be able to fine-tune these adjustments – most editors provide several ways of making these adjustments.

Resizing and cropping

Resizing and cropping are two of the most basic image editing functions. Both require careful consideration as they can affect image quality. Resizing changes the dimensions of the image, which usually affects the file size (and, thereby, image quality). Cropping always involves cutting away part of the original image and results in some of the pixels being discarded.