Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

This will be where you start your workflow.
Open your RAW file into ACR.
Start with an in focus, properly exposed image.

You can also open .JPG and .TIFF files that do not have layers into ACR.
These are 8 bit files and do not have the information a 16 bit RAW file has.
An 8-bit image can hold 16.8 million possible colors, whereas a 16-bit Image can hold  281 Trillion Possible colors. A 16 Bit file is trice the size of an 8 bit file.


You can also open the files through the Bridge: Menu -  File - Open in Camera Raw, or Command “R”.


Start with: Lens Correction This corrects for distortions and aberrations found in different lenses. Focal length, f-stops, and focus distance will be examined and corrected. This correction makes the image look natural. You can also correct for Lens Vignetting, Barrel distortion and Pincushioning.

In the nested Profile tab of the Lens Corrections tab, select Enable Lens Profile Corrections.



Next use the White Balance Tool: With this tool selected look for what you want to be a neutral color in the image, an area with no color. Look for what you know to be neutral, white, black, gray. Click on that point, if you don’t like the look click again and maybe again, explore.

You can then fine tune the look of the image by moving to the Basics tab and adjusting the Temperature if needed. Moving the slider to the left makes the image colder/bluer - To the right warmer/yellower.

Tint:  compensates for a green or magenta tint in the image. Moving the slider to the left increases green, moving the slider to the right increases the magenta. Most of the time you will not move this slider after using the White Balance Tool.


Auto: The Auto Button many times is a good start point. Give it a click. Right next to the Auto Button is the Default Button. Click back and forth and see the difference.


Recommended workflow for the Basics Tab:
After the Lens Correction and WB look at the Histogram. See where on the Histogram your image falls. That will dictate how you process the image.

For an average image with the tones falling across the entire Histogram start here.

•Start at the Blacks Slider and work your way up. Move the black slider to the left until clipping starts to occur, then pull back the slider until the warning is gone. You do not want to kill your shadow detail.
•Next the White Slider, push it to the right. Same thing, look for the clipping warning and pull it back. 

You are in control here. If the adjustment seems to be too much for the blacks or the whites use your best judgement for the look you are working towards. There is no one right or wrong!

•Next, do you need to recover the Highlights and/or Shadows?
•Do you need to alter the overall brightness of the image? - Exposure.
•How is the Contrast looking? If you started with the black and white slider much of the time you will not need to adjust the contrast.

When working the sliders don’t be afraid to push the extreme to see what it looks like. Then pull the slider back.

•Hold the Shift Key and Double Click on a Slider, see what it does. You want the black to be black. Try this with the black slider. This is an auto button for each individual slider. Pretty cool!

If you max out the shadow or highlight slider and want more, do this.
Move the exposure slider to the left for highlights or right for shadows looking only at the area you want to affect. After you like the look you then compensated with the opposite slider. If you were looking at highlights you would push the shadow slider the opposite direction bringing back the detail you want. If you were looking at shadows you would push the highlight slider back in the opposite direction. Give it a try.

•You can always reset any control slider to its Default settings by double-clicking on the slider knob.

•Camera Raw, has Multiple Undo. To access multiple undo, use the keyboard shortcut Command-Option-Z to go back more than one undo. To go forward use Command-Shift-Z.


1 - Zoom Tool - Shrinks or magnifies the preview
2 - Move tool - Moves magnified image
3 - White Balance Tool - Sets the WB
4 - Color Sampler Tool - Places up to 9 color sample points in the preview
5 - Targeted Adjustment Tool - Applies adjustments when dragging in the preview window. HSL/Grayscale and Curves
6 - Crop Tool
7 - Straighten Tool
8 - Transform Tool
9 - Spot Removal
10 - Red Eye Removal
11 - Adjustment Brush - Applies local corrections
12 - Graduated Filter - Applies a graduated correction where you specify
13 - Radial Filter - Apples a radial filter where you specify
14 - Camera Raw Preferences
15 - Rotate image 90 degrees counter clockwise
16 - Rotate image 90 degrees clockwise


Hue/Saturation/Luminance/Grayscale Tab
Luminance - is the brightness of the color

Saturation - is the intensity the of the color.

Hue - The basic color shift, here you can fine tune the hue.

Chromatic Aberration  also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane.  This is a failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point.

•Do not throw away the XMP file. That file holds your Camera RAW Adjustments. This file contains all of the adjustments you made in ACR, and the metadata from when you made the image in camera. Metadata is data that provides information about other data. The recorded metadata of a photographic file includes data such as the date and time the image was created, pixel resolution, shutter speed, aperture, focal length, ISO, white balance, metering pattern, and whether the flash was used. The information is saved using a standard format called Exchangeable Image File (EXIF).

In ACR you can dramatically change the image. It is where you will always start the image process. Explore and have FUN!