For this year’s professional pet photography blog circle Project 52, we continue to work through the lessons in the book The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs” by David Duchemin.

 This is Week Five and we are continuing our exploration of exposure by working on optimizing our RAW exposures. The RAW file is similar to a negative in that it is the raw data captured by the image that we must then “develop” in our preferred processing program (Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are just a few of the photo editing program choices on the market.) For our assignment, we were supposed to turn the “blinkies” on, which means we turn the highlight warnings on so that when we look at our images on the back of our camera, the areas with very bright highlights will be blinking.

The other thing we were supposed to do was use the historgram (which is a chart that looks like a mountain range) and shoot to the far right. Now, I personally tend to shoot more to the left, so had a really hard time shooting for the right, especially with a light-colored subject, like Mr. Bojangles. So, while my image ended up with a histogram more to the right (and not very far right at that), it did not start out that way as you will see.

First, here is the histogram from my RAW image.

Next is the histogram for the image after I made my basic adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.

Here is the before and after of my image. The RAW image is on the left and the one with the basic adjustments is on the right. You can see how it is lighter and brighter and a little warmer toned than the RAW image.

That brings us to the histogram for my image with the final edits applied. As you can see, there are a few more spikes on the right side of the histogram than in either of the two previous histograms.

And the final, optimized image with all of my finishing touches in place.

Now, for more images that go from RAW to “cooked” head over to Blue Amrich Pet Photography in Massachusetts and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session for your pet or for you and your pet, use the hot pink “BOOK NOW” button to the right of this post (at the bottom of the page on mobile) or give us a call at 513-288-1650 or send an email to suzi [at]

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