This article aims to highlight some of the more useful tools that you can find in Camera RAW. It's doesn't cover everything, and purely focuses on the useful things for the image used. But hopefully it will give a bit of insight and maybe even highlight something that you haven't used before...
This tool will save your life. Honestly. I'm not exaggerating! Whilst it is possible to 'over' soften an image, most of the time all that's required to reduce a little noise is to up the luminance slider just a little bit.
Auto White Balance
Quite often , the white balance can be the only thing that upsets an image. In the example that I'm using, the day was fairly dull but the whiteness of the sky was quite overpowering. Therefore the clarity of the image turned out to be weaker than I wanted and the light 'harsher.' Using 'Auto White Balance' gave it an Autumnal sort of feel and a tinge of orange to make it feel a bit more golden, as you can see below...
This is a really useful tool - it often auto detects the lens you have used to correct any distortion that might have occurred when you took the photograph. In this particular image, it didn't auto detect my lens so I simply selected the make and model in the drop down list for it to correct everything for me. It was only a minor tweak, one you would barely notice, but it makes a lot of difference.
This is probably the most dramatic change out of all of the above. HDR doesn't work for every image and might not look good to your eyes, for this one! But it's worth testing it out occasionally and remembering that the option is there.
Saturation, Hue and Vibrancy
This is a selection of handy sliders that are, fairly often, overused. You'll find that they are most often over-used with sunsets! However with some careful 'sliding' and attention to the how the image is changing you can get some fairly good effects from playing around.
Before & After...
The final image, although not too dramatically changed from the original, has definitely got a slight air of improvement! I wanted to use a plain and simple image that I'd taken just randomly as part of my 365 challenge and try and revamp it in order to write this article. Hopefully the tools that I've listed will help you change an image (perhaps for the better - maybe for the worse!) The only other 'tweak' that I did here was to remove some 'lens spots.' The bane of every Photographers life. You can do this traditionally in Photoshop with the 'Cloning Tool' or you can do it with the magic 'Healing Brush.'