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16 How-To Tips for Using Photoshop Camera Raw

#29 Adjusting Exposure and Tone Automatically

As a professional photographer, I spend the majority of my time in Camera Raw adjusting exposure and tone. There are two options for making these adjustments: Use the Auto option or make custom adjustments using various sliders in the section of the Basic tab that contains tone controls. (The latter is discussed in #30.)

Let’s first examine the Auto option.

The Auto button is located at the top of the tone controls section (Figure 29). When you click the Auto button, Camera Raw analyzes the raw image data in the file and makes automatic adjustments to tone controls, such as Exposure, Recovery, Blacks, Brightness, and Contrast. Three main situations make it advantageous to use the Auto option:

  • If you shoot a high volume of images and don’t have time to dial in specific tone settings, selecting Auto will greatly speed up your workflow.
  • If you want an initial idea of the best settings for your image. Auto doesn’t always produce perfect results, but it can give you insight into what adjustments may be needed.
  • If you are new to Camera Raw, Auto can be used as a starting point. Click Auto and then fine-tune the image with the adjustment sliders.
Figure 29

Figure 29 Click Auto to apply tone adjustments automatically.

5. #30 Adjusting Custom Exposure and Tone | Next Section Previous Section