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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

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Member since 11/2005

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Wow -- interesting info. about RAW -- I never really knew the difference and maybe someday I'll get there -- when I work out all the other fun stuff on my camera. But I did have one question: When editing the photos can you edit a bunch together at one time -- like you said you always do saturation and sharpening, can you do that to multiple photos at one time? Just wondering. . . I might be more apt to do that because it would take less time!

Becky (aka: beckywed)


Thanks, Karen, for explaining that in a way that I totally *get*. I am now going to try that out - I have PSE 6, so I don't know if that works with RAW or not, but I am going to find out. Any other readers know if I can edit RAW in PSE 6 or not? Also I wonder if I can use those actions easily. I have read some things about using actions in Elements that are so complicated and I wasn't able to find the file where I needed to put them, etc, etc. Your photos look great! I also love your new borders. I would love to be able to use them w/o printing at Sb Pictures.


I have finally switched to raw as well. One thing I would mention is that you should save to TIFF before you move to photoshop to edit. TIFF is a bigger file but you won't lose more info like jpg will. I only save mine to jpg when I am exporting for web or for printing.

I have found that switching to raw has made me "develop & print" less photos. I used to print all the "good" photos which included the OK to the great and everything in between. Now I select a few to develop further and finally print. I save the others on an external hard drive just in case. Maybe some day I will be able to get rid of these, maybe. ;)

Jamie S

That's interesting to see how your post processing goes. Have you ever tried lightroom? It is an AMAZING program. There is a beta version out there now of the next edition to try out. I think the best thing about it is that it was made for photographers where CS3 was originally geared towards graphic design. The result is that a lot of the actions and things are built with the photographer in mind. So being able to process a lot of photos at once is a snap and getting to and from photoshop is easy also. Just throwing it out there for anyone who might be interested.

Kristen Olson

Karen, Thanks a TON for sharing all that you do. I've learned so much about taking good photos, just in the few months that I've been following your blog. Love it. So excited for your class in June!!

And a note to "scrappinseminole"--- I, too, have been using PSE 6.0. It is a great program and I believe it is capable of doing so much more than I would ever need it to... However, I was struggling with the actions situation as well. It's hard to be in love with something that you know your program can't do (at least not very easily, and I sure wasn't going to be able to figure it out on my own!!).

I wish you the best of luck in figuring out how to run actions with PSE 6.0. For me, I caved and bought CS3 on Monday (along with a tutorial DVD- I'm going to have NO CLUE how to use it!!), and as soon as it comes I'm planning to buy the action set Karen uses so much... I can't tell you how excited I am. I just know I'll think it's worth the money (although I'd love for that money tree in the backyard thing that Karen talks about to somehow become a reality so the money thing wouldn't be quite so scary!).

Best of luck. And thanks again, Karen. You're willingness to share what you've learned has had a very positive impact on my life. So cool.

Grant Goodyear

It's useful to know that the "RAW file unedited" is not unique. Somebody using lightroom or photoshop will see a different image than somebody using Apple's Aperture, or Nikon's Capture, or any of the other raw converters. In fact, raw files from photoshop or lightroom can be rendered differently depending on the version of the Camera Raw plugin that is installed. Strangely enough, that's a good thing. It means that
raw conversion improves over time, so a raw image that has uncorrectable flaws now might be rescuable with time.

Here's a nice article about some of this:

Tanya Webster

RAW rocks...more time consuming by far but worth it...every little bit :)


So, if you have a digital point and shoot can you change the settings to take raw photos???



Great information. Thanks for these tips! They have helped me out tremendously!


You can take RAW pictures with a Canon if your are willing to hack your firmware. (I say that like I know what I am talking about - hahaha). More information is here:

I got the link via photojojo. It seems easy to do, and easy to re-set (just take out your camera's battery) if you don't like it.


I am so glad I stalk your blog! I enjoy the pictures of the kids and seeing your beautiful photos (My daughter is a little younger than Annie) but then there are days like today where I get to learn something and make it work for me. I switched my camera to RAW as soon as I was done reading your post and I took some shots of the kids. Right off the bat I LOVE it! I already consider the post processing in CS3 standard processing so this is no biggie! I am so glad I tried it! Now I will have to start using it in the studio! Thanks so much for all the inspiration and information! Hugs!

Andrea Devisser

Very cool, thanks for the info Karen. And it looks like you've been asked a few questions already... My question is, do you keep all original RAW photos and the JPEG edited ones? Or do you delete the original after the editing process is complete? I tend to keep everything, and would be scared to delete the original, in case down the road I would want to edit it some other way, or use different actions. Just wondering, I have so many photos on my computer now, sometimes I wonder if it's all just too much? Thanks Karen, I'm looking forward to your photography class in June! :)

~Ann (Pinewoodtoo)

That you so much for the article. It is clear and easy to understand. It might just be the push I need to switch to RAW. I'm also getting more comfortable with my CS3 so the timing if perfect. ~Ann


I think the first one is fabulous to begin with... but I'm that one in 25 still at film girl at Memory Lane, PA! ;) While I did step up and buy a p&s digital, I'm still loving my film... Thanks for sharing so much information and so much of your life with so many strangers!


Karen, this is off-topic (sorry) but do you have any secret squirrel inside info as to when/where the May CI releases will show up? In particular I'm looking forward to the heart-shaped journaler's notebooks and the 5x7(?) window books/albums. Thank you!! - Melissa


Karen thanks once again for all your photo tips they really help so many people. Can't wait for class to begin!
Take Care

Melissa Priest

So, isnt this the weekend you are getting married??? No updates??

Congrats girl -


Kim Bolyard

Question for you Karen,

I have been asked to shoot a wedding for a friend...Have you ever shot a wedding and if so/or not still need to know...what lens or lenses would you recommand?


Kim Bolyard

One more is a beach wedding at sunset...should I use a flash and what flash would you recommand?


Can't thank you enough for the indepth explanations you provide as well as all the info on your actions which I can't wait to do someday when I finally get CS3. Thank you thank you thankyou!!!! Oh and I get to meet you at the end of June at the Scrapbook Clubhouse in CT....weeehoo!


Thanks for the explanation! I switched to RAW (or Nikon's version NEF) a while back but since I didn't understand that the camera corrects JPEG images, I just thought I was getting worse as a photographer. Thanks for letting me know in terms I can understand!


Great for the potential photo-editing class? You've totally set yourself up for that one! If you are inclined to start a list of interested people, sign me up! Love your photos, and the fact that you so freely explain your process!


Thanks for the info. I do have Photoshop but also have a 2 and 4 year old, so I'm hoping to switch to RAW when life settles down a bit. Hoping for next year. I love your photos and all your wonderful info! Thank you!

alison copes

Holy all makes so much more sense to me know! I have been shooting RAW for the past couple of years and couldn't figure out for the life of my why my pictures always came out crappy. EDITING...I hate to do it (Photoshop is not my friend) and would always skip it and print. That equaled terrible pictures. Better pictures from my point and click than my SLR.

Thank you so much for taking all the photography jargon and putting into simple "even Alison can understand it" terms. You ROCK, girl!

Kimberly Kwan

Once you've gone RAW, you'll never go back! :-)
I've been shootign RAW for 2 years and cannot fathom how I did it before. Obviously, you still need to shoot technically good photos: in focus, correct exposure, custom white balance when possible....but the creative freedom RAW affords is AWESOME!

I am also a BIG fan of the Boutwell "Totally Rad" actions....not usually one to buy "canned" actions, but their set is BY FAR the best and most customizable EVER!


So, my only question is what you do with your RAW files after you have converted them to JPEG? Do you save the RAW files on your computer and if so, how do you have enough space on your hard drive to do so?

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