How I edit my RAW files

Every now and then someone asks me how I process my photos, if they are photoshopped, or if I use filters.
As far as filters go, I sometimes us a 10 stop ND filter, which allows me to take long exposure even in the middle of the day, but rarely, and that's the only one I use..
As far as processing goes. I don not use Photoshop, I don't even own it actually.  What I do use however is Lightroom for (processing my RAW files- more on that below).  If you're not familiar with :Lightroom, it's basically the digital equivalent to the dark room of film days.  If you are familiar with lightoom, you know it's awesome!

Here is a visual example of what I do to my images, as you can see. Below is a further description of what I do and don't do.

RAW file, before

RAW file, before

Processed RAW file, after.

Processed RAW file, after.

 

As you can see, I like to bring up the saturation and contrast.  I love bringing out bright colors and textures but I don't add anything that wasn't really there, or take away anything that actually was.  

 

When you shoot RAW this means your files are not saved as JPEGs, but RAW files that need to be later processed and then printed or converted to JPEG, or whatever you like.  Raw files are like digital film and JPEGS are like prints, so when you shoot JPEG it's like the digital equivalent of using a Polaroid film camera from the 80's.  Shooting JPEG hands over much creative the control to your camera as it record your images as JPEGS, many aspects of the image are "baked into the file", color temperature, saturation, sharpening, contrast, all of that is set, you cannot change it afterwards without losing tons of image quality.  Shooting RAW allows YOU to determine these things AFTER you shoot the image, in Lightroom, without degrading your image quality much.  

 

I hope this answers some questions about what I do and don't do to my images! 
If you have any more questions, please ask away, I love chatting about photography.