Subject: Re: Processing Images from RAW to Print
Well, at first glance from your workflow description (“Open Raw Image (I hit ok at first screen”), it would appear that you’re not taking advantage of all the controls in Camera Raw? That’s the big advantage with a raw file, you process/optimize it in ACR and then do any final tweaks in Photoshop. So if that is the case and you’re not using ACR to it’s fullest extent, I’d suggest picking up a copy of Bruce Fraser’s book, Real World Camera Raw with Adobe CS2. There is tremendous power in ACR that you are missing out on.
My second comment would be to start using Adjustment Layers in Photoshop. They give you a great deal of flexibility to change/modify or throw away your adjustments. When you go straight to something like Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast (which by the way is considered to be one of the “bad” adjustments), you’re working directly on the pixels. Instead of Brightness/Contrast, you should learn how to use Levels and Curves.
Another suggestion would be to keep your master file (the results of all your adjustments) in a format other than JEPG. You can always save out a separate JEPG version if you need it but since it is a “lossy” compression format, use PSD or TIFF instead. That will also allow you to save layers and keep the file in 16bit.
There’s a lot... more than can be said on all of this (and your other steps) but hopefully this gives you some ideas in terms of a more robust and flexible approach to your files. One of Bruce’s other books, Real World Photoshop is an excellent source of information of all of these issues.
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