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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Raw File Processing > 1

There are eight sections.

If you would like to print all of the sections at once, go to Raw Processing - Entire.

The menu below is for all eight sections.

1 - Why Use Raw Files?

JPEG Files

A JPEG is like a Polaroid.

It comes out of the camera and it's done.

When you press the shutter release, the raw information collected by the sensor is processed into a JPEG file.

Many decisions are made during this processing.

Once these decisions are made, and the JPEG file appears on your memory card, that's it.

You can't process the raw sensor information into a different JPEG file.

Raw Files

A raw file is like a negative.

You can develop it according to your needs and those of the photograph.

And, because a raw file contains far for information than a JPEG file, especially in the shadow areas, editing is facilitated.

If given a choice of editing a raw file or a JPEG file, edit the raw file.

For a complete discussion of the differences between raw files and JPEG files, go to Raw v. JPEG.

2 - Raw File Extensions

A file extension is the three letters following the name of the file.

You're familiar with the file extension denoting a JPEG file: .jpg.

Each camera manufacturer has their own proprietary raw file format.

So, there are many file extensions for raw files.

Here are the file extension names for Adobe, Canon, and Nikon.







Adobe DNG

Adobe's raw file format, DNG, is an open standard, unlike the raw file formats from each camera manufacturer.

The DNG raw file is similar to a TIFF file.

You can convert other raw file types into Adobe DNG raw files.

Use the Adobe DNG Converter or save them as DNG files while using Adobe Camera raw.

Go to Adobe.

3 - Raw File Processing Software

Adobe Raw Converter

You need software to process raw files.

As described, raw file formats are proprietary, except for Adobe's DNG raw file format.

You need software that can open your particular type of raw file.

Many people use the Adobe Camera Raw converter that's included with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

Photoshop Elements users have to download and install the latest camera updates to the Adobe raw converter.

Do the following.

1) Go to Adobe Updates.

2) Install the Adobe Raw converter update.

Go to How to Install.

The Adobe Raw Converter is updated often.


If you have difficulty opening raw files in Photoshop Elements, go to Unable to open camera raw file in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Other Software

You can also use your camera manufacturer's software, such as Nikon Capture or Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

There's also software made by others.

Bibble 4.0 Raw workflow software

Breeze Systems


DxO Labs