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Preface: Real World Raw

Preface: Real World Raw

If you're reading this book because you want to be told that digital really is better than film, look elsewhere. Those discussions tend to generate a lot more heat than light, and if you aren't at least contemplating shooting digital for some or all of your work, this book isn't relevant. If you want to be told that shooting digital raw is better than shooting JPEG, you'll have to read between the lines—what this book does is to explain how raw differs from JPEG, and how you can exploit those differences.

But if you're looking for solid, tested, proven techniques for dealing with hundreds or thousands of raw images a day—moving them from the camera to the computer, making initial selects and sorts, optimizing the raw captures, enriching them with metadata, and processing them into deliverable form—this is the book for you. My entire reason for writing this book was to throw a lifebelt to all those photographers who find themselves drowning in gigabytes of data.

The combination of Photoshop's File Browser and Camera Raw plug-in offers a fast, efficient, and extremely powerful workflow for dealing with raw digital captures, but the available information tends to be short on answers to questions such as the following.

  • What special considerations should I take into account when shooting digital raw rather than film or JPEG?

  • What edits should I make in Camera Raw?

  • How and where are my Camera Raw settings saved?

  • How can I fine-tune Camera Raw's color performance to better match my camera's behavior?

  • How can I set up the File Browser to speed up making initial selects from a day's shoot?

  • How can I make sure that every image I deliver contains copyright and rights management notices?

  • How do I make sure that all the work I do in the File Browser, ranking or flagging images, entering keywords and other metadata, and sorting in a custom order, doesn't suddenly disappear?

  • What are my alternatives to editing each individual image by hand?

  • How can I automate the conversion of raw images to deliverable files?

Raw shooters face these questions, and many others, every day. Unfortunately, the answers are hard to find in the gazillion Photoshop books out there—much less Photoshop's own manuals—and when they're addressed at all they tend to be downplayed in favor of whizzy filter effects. This book answers these questions, and the other daily workflow issues that arise, head-on, and focuses on everything you need to do before you get your images open in Photoshop.

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