August PS/PE SIG notes – Workflow using Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw

You can view these notes online at and also download them as a pdf.

For this Month

  1. Introduction to Adobe Bridge
  2. Details of using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)
  3. August Challenge


The August SIG will show how to use a workflow using:

  1. Bridge to download images from a camera.
  2. Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to make basic adjustments to a photo.
  3. Open the photo in PS for further adjustments and to resize it do Save as so that we finish with:
    1. an image to be printed in TIFF format that is 5 by 7 inches
    2. an image to send an email attachment or to put it up on a website.

A bit about Bridge Here is a link to a short description of bridge:

Bridge is just one of many programs that you can choose from to organise your photos. Other programs that people use are iPhoto, Aperture and Picassa. The only ones that I am familiar with are Picassa and Bridge.

Demonstration Here are some photos that I took on morning of the AUSOM August meeting. I’d like to try to show you how to download these using Bridge.

(1) Open Bridge. This is already open to save some time.

(2) Connect the camera to the computer with the cable thingie. Or remove the memory card and insert it in your computer card reader.

(3) Click on File/Get Photos from Camera as shown below:

Demo 1 Importing Photos

File/Get Photos from Camera

Now is a good time to mention the method of going through the new images and quickly rating them with stars. Three stars is worth keeping on the first time through. Repeat this a second time with only the three star photos. This time you are rating the better ones as four stars. Same thing again. Rate the best ones as five stars. Now comes the horrendous part. Delete any photos with less than four stars. Kind of like convincing hoarders to throw things out. I know its hard, but it is necessary. With a bit of luck you will be down to maybe 10 out of 100 photos that you took. Don’t you feel better? Give yourself a pat on the back.

Open an Image in ACR Detailed instructions are on the website at:

(4) Select an image that you want to work with.

(5) Right click on the image and click on Open in Camera Raw. It should look like this:

Demo 1 Open in Camera Raw

Right click on the image and click on Open in Camera Raw

Adjustments in ACR.
Let’s look at a couple of short videos to get an idea of how to use to use ACR.

Video 1 – Basic Image Adjustments using the ACR

Video 2 – How to Easily Enhance Your Skies in ACR


Scott Kelby’s 7 Point system for ACR
Scott Kelby’s Scott Kelby’s 7 Point System for Photoshop came out in 2008. At the time it was the best selling Photoshop for that year. He never got around to preparing a book for 7-Point System for Photoshop in Camera Raw. But he did produce a nice 12 page set of notes in a pdf format as part of a presentation for photographers. You can download them from here:

We are going to look at some of the points from his notes during the SIG today. What follows is a summary taken from the pdf mentioned above.

Point 1 – Camera Calibration in ACR
(6) Click on the Camera Calibration in ACR. It should look like this:

Demo 1 Camera Calibration in Camera Raw

Click on the Camera Calibration tab in Camera Raw

Click on the different profiles until you find one that you are satisfied with.

Point 2 – Getting your colour right
(7) Click on the ACR Basic tab – the first one. And then click on the White balance drop down menu as shown here:

Demo 1 - setting the white Balance

Click on the Basic Adjustment tab in Camera Raw

(8) If your file was in Raw format, then you have several options to choose from as shown above. Pick one that suits you. You can always come back and change it. That is the nice thing about ACR.

(9) One way to have more control is to use the temperature slider. Move to the right to make your photo look warmer or to the left to make it look cooler (cold). Here is the image adjusted for white balance using just the temperature slider. notice that as soon as you start to move the temperature slider, the choice above changes to Custom.

Demo 1 - temperature Slider

Use the temperature slider to give a warm (yellow/orange) or a cool (blue) effect.

(10) A third way is to use the White Balance tool (third from the left in the top tool bar). Click on the tool and then select a grey point in your photo to set your white balance. Have a play with it and see what happens when you pick colours other than grey.

use the eye dropper to click on a grey area of your photo as a third way to set your white balance.

Use the eye dropper to click on a grey area of your photo as a third way to set your white balance.

(11) After each time that you try the eye dropper tool, the simplest way to Undo it is to use Control + Z as a keyboard shortcut.

Point 3 – Getting your exposure right
This is where you begin to see the wonders of ACR. If you have taken a photo that is too bright or too dark in some areas of the photo, then ACR gives you a way to recover those highlights rather than just deleting the image as you rate them.   In the past few months we have looked at a histogram that shows us the range of tones in the image we are looking at. We have grouped these into shadows (blacks), midtones (greys) and highlights (whites). We’re going to keep this part simple. for details, go to the website and download the notes in the pdf.

(12) Use the adjustment slider to set your exposure.

(13) If your image is washed out, then use the blacks slider to bring back some contrast.

(14) Use the Brightness slider to adjust the midtones. Use it to bring out details. Check the before and after by clicking on the Preview button in the upper right hand corner.

Fill Light
(15) Use the Fill Light slider to bring out detail in the shadows. This is kind of like using the flash on your camera when you take a picture of some one standing with the sun behind them. (You could just aim the camera at their feet and use the camera’s exposure lock feature to do the same thing. But I’ll leave that one for the Photography SIG).

(16) The Recovery slider lets you bring back detail lost in white areas that are over exposed.

Point 4 – Getting your Contrast right
You could do this simply by using the contrast slider but the result is really kind of rough. There is a much better way. Use the tone curve (the second tab) next to the basic adjustments tab.

Time to give you a break from me yakking too much. Here is a video from to help explain the tone curve and how it can be used.


(17) Let’s try the Tone control tab and make a few changes. My personal opinion is that I am not happy with the results from this one particular adjustment. I would rather leave it to do in Photoshop as a Layer adjustment.

Point 5 – Getting your midtone colours right with Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation
The Clarity slider is almost like a form of sharpening. But it only affects the midtones.

(18) Try slowly moving the clarity slider all the way between the left and right extremes. To the left, it creates a soft effect. And to the right it creates a sharpened effect which is easily noticed.

(19) Now give the vibrance slider a burl. It makes dull colours a bit brighter while leaving already bright colours alone.

(20) Only use the Saturation slider if you have to! There is a fine line between getting something that looks really nice or looks terrible.

Points 6 and 7 -Leave these for another time.
Since my aim for this session is to get from whoa (the camera) to go (the framed photo), then I will leave these for you to read up on in the pdf mentioned earlier.

(21) We are done here in ACR.  Time to move on to Photoshop. Click on where it says Open Image in the bottom right part of the screen.

Demo 1 - Open Image in Photoshop

Click on the Open Image to switch to Photoshop or Elements.

Onwards to Photoshop for adjustment layers and Sharpening

Demonstration 2
Hopefully you know the drill by now and can duplicate the layer and name it so that you do not have to do the walk of shame. That is when you completely ruin the original file and have to call up and ask for it to be sent to you again.

(1) Duplicate the background layer by clicking on Layer/duplicate Layer.

(2) Name it High Pass Sharpening Filter.

(3) Click on the Curves Adjustment layer in the layers Panel.

Click here to create a curves adjustment layer.

Click here to create a curves adjustment layer.

(4) Use the Presets to improve the look of your photo. As you click on each Preset, have a look at the way that the curve is changing. It is possible to make the changes manually. There is a short introductory video that you can watch here. Unfortunately, the rest of the videos are not free. But is definitely worth the money to join.

(5) I chose the strong contrast as giving me the look that I wanted.

Demo 2 - Strong contrast

Click on image to see full size.

Now I want to do some sharpening of the image with a high pass filter.

(6) Click and drag the High Pass Sharpening Filter layer to the top of the layers.

Demo 2 - click and Drag to top

Click and drag layer to the top.

(7) Click on Filter/Other/High Pass and gasp. Your photo is a shade of grey. Hilfe!

Demo 2 - Grey Screen

Click on image to see full size.

(8) Set the radius of the pixels to between 7 and 9.

(9) Click OK.

(10) In the blending modes box, select one at a time from Overlay to Pinlight. Pick the one that you like best. This is a good time to increase the size of your image to 100% so that you can see the changes easily. Use the keyboard shortcut Control and +.

(11) I settled for the Soft Light blending mode.

Demo 2 - soft Light blend Mode

Click on image to see full size.

Here is a helpful video on the High Pass filter.

Prepare for Printing
(12) I want my print size to be 15 X 20 Cm for the simple reason that that is the size of the frame from the op shop. Click on Image/Image Size. Demo 3 -Image size (13) The procedure that we have used in the past for resizing an image is Resample off, Change Dimensions, Resample on, Set resolution, then click OK. It should look like this. Demo 3 -Image Resized (14) Click on OK.

(15)  File/Print.


And that completes the example of a workflow from Whoe to Go. If you have any questions,please leave a comment or just email me at

The September PS/PE challenge

Since the last few challenges have  gotten such a limited response, I will try to offer up a few challenges in this month so that there is hopefully something for everyone to try. September Challenge 1 – Use ACR to edit an image (Introductory skill level ) Go out with your camera and take a few photos in your backyard

  1. Open your favourite image in Bridge/PS/PE and edit it using ACR based on the more detailed notes that we went through at the August SIG.
  2. Save it as a jpg.
  3. Please send your before and after jpg images to me at (

September Challenge 2 – Open a photo in PS/PE, duplicate the layer, and use a high pass filter along with a  blending mode to create a great photo (Intermediate skill level)

  1. Use the same or another image for this challenge.
  2. Use whatever method of non destructive editing to sharpen the image. (Hint,hint – use a layer adjustment with a high pass filter and Overlay blend mode)
  3. Please send your before and after jpg images to me at (

What are we doing in September?

These are the suggestions so far that I have remembered.

  1. Using the Curves Layer Adjustment tool.
  2. Create a composite/mosiac image using PS/PE.
  3. Any more suggestions? Please let me know.

That’s all, folks!


About woldham

Concise! Retired and loving it!
This entry was posted in ACR tone adjustment, August Challenge, Camera Raw, Using adjustment layers, Workflow. Bookmark the permalink.

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