Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos

Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |

I still remember how I felt the first time I discovered the true power of Adobe Photoshop. I was stunned.

I’d been using the creative program since my year 10 photography teacher first introduced it to me. I was obsessed with it [and still am]. I loved creating abstract images, playing with typography and retouching portraits. In fact, I even had people asking me to edit their photos for them with cool effects. LOL. Those were the days.

Since then, I’ve been using Photoshop for just about everything. Although I’m no longer running my professional photography business (because I am pursuing my career in blogging), I heavily relied on Photoshop when it came to giving my clients professional, high-quality images. There was just no other program like it, and there still isn’t.


“A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel.” – Peter Adams


As mentioned in my Tried & Tested Tips for Blogging Beginners post, I like it RAW. The photo format, of course.

I gave up shooting Jpegs a few years ago now & will never go back. Sure, the file size is smaller & they’re easily recognizable on all devices; But the loss of quality and just the overall loss of control you lose isn’t worth it. RAW files are the way to go. Take my word for it.

You see, Adobe Photoshop gives you so much more control over your images when you shoot in RAW. The expansion “Adobe Camera Raw” is what will load when you open your file. Here, you can customise just about everything: from exposure to clarity, sharpness & white balance. In fact, if you learned the ins & outs of Camera Raw, you’d barely need to do any more work in Photoshop afterward.


Here’s what Camera Raw looks like –

Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |


Although I haven’t experimented with the entirety of Camera Raw, the tools I have used are incredible. I’m currently discovering more of the program & will be updating you along the way.

Here’s what I tend to play around with inside Camera Raw:

  • White Balance: Because the lighting isn’t always right, this tool is perfect for adjusting the white balance. Get rid of the nasty blues from the winter sky & banish the bright yellow rays from the sunny summer days.
  • Exposure: Bump it up for a brighter shot, especially on darker days. If you can’t get your exposure low enough because of restrictions on your lens, you can adjust it here. Perfecto.
  • Contrast: I tend not to go crazy with contrast as I prefer my images to be soft and feminine more so than bright and bold. But if that’s your style, here is where you would really boost the contrast.
  • Highlights: Blown out highlights are a thing of the past with the highlights tool. You can boost your highlights or use it for it mains cause – to pull the whites back down and revive highlights/washed out/over exposed areas.
  • Shadows: Darken or lighten shadows easily with this tool. So simple.
  • Whites: Brighten & boost up your whites with this tool. Be careful not to go too overboard as it may wash out your image – great for flat lays!
  • Blacks: Darken blacks & remove greys. Fantastic for flat lays also. Removes shine off black packaging.
  • Clarity: Boosts the overall sharpness of the image and gives more texture to items that need it.
  • Vibrance: Different to the saturation tool, vibrance will give a softer boost of colour.
  • Saturation: A tool that’s been around for a long time. Bump up this one if your photo is a little dull. Be careful not to over saturate your images though!



Here are a few examples of how just using Camera Raw can majorly improve your photos
*Note: these haven’t been retouched in Photoshop yet, just purely Camera Raw


Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |

Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |

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Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos | ElleyMae.comPhotoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |

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Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos | Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |


For my blog photos, I then go ahead and add my custom watermark at 20% opacity to my photo. You can learn how to easily make your own here – it literally takes 5 minutes & will protect you in the long run.

Whilst I definitely add my watermark to my Instagram photos too, I also create a custom white border for each. If you’re not into creating a border for each photo because of how long it might take you, especially when you’re first learning Photoshop, there are loads of great apps that can help get your photos ready for publishing. Here’s a few of the apps I have on my phone.

So, if you’re still not convinced that shooting in RAW is for you, hold in there. Something amazing is on the horizon for all you budding bloggers & I just can’t wait to share it with you all. Until my next post – keep shooting, keep editing and have fun doing it! That’s what this blogging business is all about after all!

Photoshop 101: How To Edit Raw Photos |

Have a tip you’d love to share on how to edit raw photos? Don’t forget to share it below!


  1. Apr 2017 /

    Hey elley,
    thank you so much for this post! I have a question though. When I edit in RAW and add exposure or highlights to my picture, there tends to be grains or noise in the shadows of the products in my picture that I take of. Do you have any suggestions or advice for me to not get this problem? I didn’t notice this problem with JPEG and now after reading your post, I know why.

    • Apr 2017 /

      Hey Thy! Firstly, thank you so much for reading.

      Secondly, I’m just curious, have you noticed that this issue is only occurring when your ISO (on your camera) is up quite high? ie – 600-1000sih? If you’re shooting with a higher ISO, you’re likely to get a higher amount of grain in your images. If you try shooting with a lower ISO (which yes, means that your photo won’t be as bright initially), this can help to eliminate grain and then when you’re brightening in Camera Raw, you won’t have that issue.

      Otherwise, it could have to do with the camera settings you have on the camera itself that’s causing it to only affect RAW files, not jpegs. What camera are you shooting with? Have you checked that your RAW settings are the best recommended? 🙂

      Hope this helps, let me know how you get on!

      Elley xx

  2. Kate
    Apr 2017 /

    Awesome article! When I finally get my camera back I’ll be trying this out! Also the ISO tip is great too! I always shoot really high, so that’s amazing! 😀

  3. Apr 2017 /

    Wow ! What a huge difference! I definitely need to start trying this but I am such a camera newbie that all this is a bit overwhelming. Loved reading this post though and it was super helpful !

    x Helen

  4. May 2017 /

    Girrrrrrl! Yes, I LOVE this post!

    I absolutely suck at technology and always drool over your gorgeous photos! Thank you for the tips!


  5. May 2017 /

    Love this post Elley. Your photos are always top class and so attractive. At the moment I take all of my photos on my phone but with the exception of selfies (because I feel if I’m talking about makeup then it needs to be seen as true to life as possible) I edit my photos playing with similar things such as exposure and contrast etc. and it makes a huge difference even with those photos. At some point I’ll try using my husband’s camera which is a Nikon DSLR and have a go using your tips in this post. xx

  6. May 2017 /

    I don’t know how you do it! I currently shoot and edit in raw but when I change the brightness the colours always seem so off! I play around with vibrance and saturation but it’s still a hurdle for me!

  7. May 2017 /

    I’m such a newbie when it comes to shooting RAW. I keep trying but I’m just not comfortable yet, I’ll have to bookmark this post for sure 🙂

    Billie |

  8. May 2017 /

    I shoot in raw but my photos still don’t come out this good. I feel like I need to learn more about White balance.

    Bec | Beauty With Bec

  9. May 2017 /

    I love reading posts like this! Since I’ve become more invested in blogging it’s been great to see how other bloggers shoot their images! I used to shoot in RAW all the time but just haven’t gotten around to doing that lately! I think this post has convinced me to get back into it though!
    -Stephanie |

  10. May 2017 /

    Great post with lots of tips and info. I use Corel draw but that’s more or less the same 😀 That said the before/after is impressive! Good job! I usually shoot in a light box with daylight bulbs to get a whiter look.

    • May 2017 /

      I forgot to say that I love the style of your pictures!

  11. I have never actually used Photoshop and I didn’t really know about RAW files before reading this! I’m still using my iPhone for blogging and Insta photos at this stage. Thanks for all the info!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

  12. Alice
    May 2017 /

    Your before and after shots are amazing! Definitely going to be taking some tips from this for my photography as I sometimes find editing my photos such a challenge.

    Alice | alicemaysnell

  13. Jun 2017 /

    Hi Elley, loved the post. I had a question. I dont have photoshop. Currently I use the Photos app to edit my photos. Is it possible to edit RAW photos on the Photos app?

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