Camera Raw Filter Workflow


Today’s Question: What is the better method: To adjust the raw file in Camera Raw and then open in Photoshop for further adjustments or to first convert the raw to TIFF and then process in photoshop using the Camera Raw filter followed by other adjustments?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I recommend applying your adjustments to the raw capture in Camera Raw (or the Develop module in Lightroom Classic) before processing further in Photoshop, rather than converting without adjustments and then using the Camera Raw filter on the rendered image.

More Detail: The Camera Raw filter in Photoshop provides a convenient way to apply the same adjustments available in Camera Raw to any supported image directly within Photoshop. However, for raw captures I still recommend applying at least basic tone and color adjustments in Camera Raw, saving the Camera Raw filter only for later refinements to the image.

There is some degree of advantage to applying adjustments as part of the process of converting a raw capture to fully rendered pixel data. These benefits can be relatively subtle, but there can be an impact on overall image quality. Therefore, I recommend making use of Camera Raw (or the Develop module in Lightroom Classic) to at least optimize overall tone and color before rendering the raw capture for further processing in Photoshop.

To be sure, the benefits of applying adjustments to tone and color at the time of rendering the raw capture to full pixel values will generally be relatively modest. Still, I consider it a good habit to use the best practices for ensuring optimal image quality whenever possible.

After processing the raw capture, you can then continue using the Camera Raw filter and other adjustments in Photoshop to further refine the photo to perfection.