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How to edit RAW files with iPhoto

Use iPhoto’s advanced controls to organise and edit photos in RAW format

mainWhen taking snaps on a high-end camera, you will often have the option to save your photos either as a standard JPEG file or in a RAW format. The former is best for most casual users, but shooting in RAW will save the complete set of data collected by the camera’s sensor. While saving in this format takes up more space, it will also give you more freedom when it comes to editing the shots. The extra information stored gives you access to every bit of photographic detail, meaning you can pull out more from the image you have.

iPhoto helps you to pull out these details using the editing tools built into the standard interface. With a RAW image open, you can access extra controls in the Edit menu. To find out how, read…headerbar

step11 Import your images

First, add your images to your iPhoto library as you normally would. Bear in mind that they’ll probably take a little longer to import due to the larger file sizes of RAW images.

step22 Choose a shot

Choose a shot that could do with fixing, like this one, which is over-exposed to the point of details being lost. Since it’s a RAW file, we can pull a lot of the details back.

step33 Recover highlights

First, open the Edit panel and choose the Adjust tab from the top of the screen. Hold down the Alt key and Exposure will change to Recovery. Drag the slider all the way to the right.

step44 Adjust Exposure

Now that the highlights have been recovered, you can start playing with the Exposure. Drag it to the left to bring more detail back into the shot – we found around -1 worked for us.

step55 Highlights and Shadows

Use the Highlight slider to darken the light areas more, but don’t go too high with it. Then use the Shadows slider to bring out details in the dark areas of the shot.

step66 Contrast control

You might find the colours are now a little flat in your shot, and the whole thing looks washed out. To combat this, increase the contrast until the colours look deeper again.

step77 Increase Saturation

You may also want to try boosting the saturation of the shot, but it’s important to remember that you still want the colours to look natural, so don’t overdo it.

step88 Fix White Balance

As you boost the saturation, you might find that the image goes a little yellow. If this is the case, use the White Balance slider to bring things back to a normal level.

step99 Export

When you’re done, you can export the edited shots in another format. Select File>Export and you’ll see that you have all kinds of export options, including file types.

Click Image to Enlarge: