Ever had a photo that looked bright and colourful on the back of your camera, only to open the RAW file and discover all that goodness has mysteriously gone walkies?

Or if you’re a Lightroom user, for a second or two after you open the image for the first time it looks great but then – snap – it suddenly reverts to a dull, lifeless version of that once-vibrant shot?

Here’s why…

The image you see on the back of your camera is NOT actually the RAW file.

It’s a JPEG preview that has been generated by your camera – and which the camera has done some of it’s own processing on.

When you open the RAW file on your computer, you’re seeing the pure un-edited version of that shot.

And that thing in Lightroom where it teases you with the good version first?

That’s Lightroom displaying that same embedded JPEG preview, just momentarily while it renders the view of the RAW file in the background.

Then when it’s ready to show you the RAW file – it flips over to that.

But here’s the good news…

That JPEG preview is based largely on your cameras “Scene Mode”.

You know those settings like “Landscape”, “Vivid”, “Natural” etc…

And for most cameras, Adobe Camera RAW actually knows how to re-create each of those scene modes.

To get that goodness back, it’s as simple as picking whichever scene mode you want from a dropdown in the the ACR module (in Photoshop) or the Develop Module (in Lightroom).

And what’s even better than just being able to recover that original scene mode?

Because you have the RAW file, you can keep swapping between each of those scene modes in PS/LR and just pick the one that looks best.

In the workflow I use (and teach), this Scene Mode stuff (along with a number of other “image primers”) is all done right at the begining.

But that's just the beginning…

If you want to take a deep dive into the whole process from start to finish in Photoshop, then check this out (click here).

Talk soon