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My Camera Raw Workflow

It can be confusing trying to figure out what to do first to an image in Camera Raw. There isn’t really a proper order for the way things should be done, and over time you will develop your own workflow. Until then, here’s my ordered workflow for you to follow along with.

Step By Step

  1. Open the image in ACR, and go to the Camera Calibration tab.
  2. Select the camera profile that is most fitting for your image.
  3. Jump to the Basic tab and adjust the white balance if necessary.
  4. Check the clipping warnings to see if there are any problems with the highlights. If so, adjust the Recovery slider.
  5. If there are large areas of clipped shadows that are important to the image, use the Fill Light slider to brighten them.
  6. Increase the Blacks setting a little to improve contrast and saturation.
  7. Increase the Clarity setting (about 15 to 30 points) and the Vibrance setting.
  8. Finally, go to the Details tab, zoom in to 100%, and adjust the Sharpening settings.

Of course, some of these adjustments have an effect other adjustments, so I often go back and tweak some of the previous steps. For instance, raising the Blacks slider can make the image dark, so I might use the Exposure or Brightness slider to lighten things up a little. Just remember that every image is a little different, so be flexible with your edits.

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