Chances are, you’ve heard this advice before: shoot in RAW. So, you change your file type in your camera from JPEG to RAW and maybe even play with a few sliders when you open your first file. But are you really getting everything you can out of that RAW file? Probably not. Learning how to edit RAW images is the only reason to switch to the popular format.

If you’re new to editing RAW, or only know how to use a couple sliders, this video is for you. The easiest way to learn what Camera RAW can do is to watch it in action, and this video takes you through an entire workflow that uses nearly every option available, including a few lesser-known tools. Your workflow will change depending on your image, but this gives you a good overview of what Camera RAW can really do. (This one is best viewed in full screen).

But editing RAW files isn’t just for making a good photo better—there are a few tricks that you can do that change the mood of the image entirely. One of the advantages of shooting RAW is that a RAW file is just data: not an image. Therefore, a RAW file doesn’t have “baked in” settings the way a processed JPEG does. This means that you can change the settings data in post—like white balance options, for instance. Changing the white balance is a good first step to changing the mood of the image, but you have to go further with a few tools like the adjustment brush. Here’s an excellent tutorial that walks you through the process.

Shooting in RAW is just the first step–learning how to edit RAW images is what will really take your photography to the next level. Shooting with RAW opens up more possibilities after the image is taken, but only if you know how to use them.

About The Author

When Hillary Grigonis isn't writing, she's shooting—with her camera that is. A freelance writer and photographer, she's always keeping track of the latest photography news and gadgets. Follow her on Facebook or Google+.

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