How to Edit RAW Files

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One thing that most studio photographers will tell you is to shoot in RAW format so that you can eke out as much detail as possible from your shots. It is the purest form of data that your camera captures because it is not compressed into a format like JPEG. This lack of compression gives you large file sizes to work with that contain all the information your camera has recorded of your scene. You can then edit this information just the way you want without damaging image quality.

But while many photographers will tell you why you should shoot RAW, they won’t necessarily tell you how to edit the files. That is what this short guide is about. We will discuss some of the best RAW photo editors from two very different companies that you can use today so that it’s easier for you to make your choice.

  1. Adobe’s Giants

Almost naturally, the first pair of programs that come to mind whenever one talks of photo editing are Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom. These have been on the scene for a very long time and have developed a very high reputation. Of these two, Lightroom is the one that specializes in RAW image editing.

Upon opening Lightroom, you’ll see a collection of sliders that you can use to edit your photos. It is very simple to use because of its slider-based interface and will let you adjust every aspect of your photo that you can imagine from the exposure to noise levels. An advantage to using Lightroom and Photoshop is that both are directly compatible with one another, meaning you can tweak a RAW image in Lightroom and bring it straight to Photoshop for further creative editing.

  1. MacPhun’s Newcomers

MacPhun is a company that is relatively new to the scene of the professional-grade photo editing. However, it has become a direct competitor to Adobe’s programs in a very short amount of time. Its two most impressive editors are Luminar and Aurora HDR.

Luminar is a competitor to Lightroom and Photoshop both. It is an all-in-one photo editor that has some serious RAW editing capabilities. Not only does it have a plethora of editing tools, it also makes the whole process of adjusting RAW images very quick and easy. It allows the use of layers, masks, selective adjustments, and lot more that makes it a very serious entry into the world of photo editing.

Aurora HDR, as the name implied, specializes in creating HDR photos. It also has an easy-to-use design that is suited both for beginners and professionals alike. The results produced are natural and very quick. You can download Aurora HDR from this link.

Both Luminar and Aurora HDR are cheaper than Adobe’s programs, and both have the added advantage of providing plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom. So if you already have Adobe’s products and would like to make certain processes easier, you can always use the plugins.

 

Editing RAW photos isn’t very difficult once you get the software that is right for you. The four mentioned here are all great at what they do, so we would suggest you take each one for a trial run before settling on one.