From RAW to Cooked / by Simon Ng

I often get asked the following question by people looking at my photos: so is it Photoshopped? My response is always the same: Sigh. Yes. And the image below shows you why (just move the slider to see what processing does).

I try to explain why this shouldn't be either a surprise or a crime, but whoever asked usually stops listening after about half a sentence. So I'll just put this out there. If you take your photography seriously, there is a reasonable chance (although not a given) that you shoot in RAW and so you need to post-process your shots to make them presentable. If you are a holiday snaps type of guy (or gal), then you almost certainly shoot in JPEG format. If that's the case, guess what: your photos are post-processed by your camera or phone, just not by you. In other words, there isn't a digital photo out there that isn't post-processed. The only distinction is whether it is done without the photographer knowing (or caring) or whether it is a deliberate part of the development of a photograph that the photographer takes responsibility for. 

Enough said.

But the question also begs a different response, and that is what this post is really about. I'm going to show you my workflow, using not Photoshop but Capture One Pro, that turns the before into the after above. This is the cooking of the RAW file to make it presentable. The video below is my first, so I'm still figuring out how to make it professional and polished, and the process I use is not definitive nor necessarily good. But it's my process. So if you want to learn a bit more about what I do, then watch.

Of course, this is an attempt to show my workflow, so the actual image took a little more time and precision, and you can see the actual final product here.