Monday, September 8, 2014

Rescue an under-exposed RAW file in 2 minutes

Let's get straight in to this. This example assumes you have shot in RAW format and I'm showing this using Adobe Camera RAW converter (ACR).

1. Open your RAW file in ACR and open the Camera Calibration tab. Here you can see the Camera Profile is set to "Standard" mode.

2. Change the Camera Profile to "Portrait" mode and you notice that the visible tonal range expands slightly. Sometimes it's very subtle and other times it's more noticeable. It's all dependent on the actual image you are working on.

3. Now go to the "Basic" tab shown here as a symbol of an aperture, to access the exposure settings. If your white balance needs adjusting you should also adjust that under this tab too. To recover the detail in this image you can see the exposure has been pushed up to 1.5. I also pulled the recovery tab up to 38 to stop some of the highlights in the background from being blown out. The other main change was to bring the Fill Light tab up to 70 to reveal the hidden detail in the RAW file. I also increase the vibrance to give the colours a subtle boost after bringing out the detail.

And that's it. All you have to do now is take it into your favorite image editor and finess the image to the style of your choosing.

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