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If you're taking advantage of your digital camera's raw capture capability, then when open a raw capture in Photoshop you'll be presented with the Adobe Raw Camera dialog. And here you can adjust a variety of settings for the image as it's being converted from a raw capture to actual pixels. What you might not have been aware of though, is that you can also specify the color space that that image should be converted into. A raw capture, by its nature, doesn't actually have a range of colors that specifically define the possibilities for your photo.
You're defining that at the time of converting the raw capture, and those settings are found in the workflow options dialog. There's a summary of the current settings found down below the image. In this case, for example, you can see that the current color space is Adobe RGB 1998. And my preference is to work in ProPhoto RGB. So rather than converting the raw capture into the Adobe RGB color space and then needing to further convert that image into ProPhoto RGB, I can change the color space directly within Adobe Camera Raw. To access the Workflow Options dialog, I'll simply click on the summary link here.
That will bring up the dialog so I can specify which color space I'd like to use. From the pop-up you'll see that I have Adobe RGB 1998, color match RGB, ProPhoto RGB, and S RGB. The largest of these is ProPhoto RGB, so that's the color space I prefer to work in. I'll go ahead and choose that option, but one of the caveats of working in ProPhoto RGB is that because it's such a huge color space, there is a relatively high risk of posterization if you're applying strong adjustments to the image. And so it's very important to work in the 16 bit per channel mode so that you have as many colors available as possible. You can see the depth is currently set to 8 bits per channel. I'll go ahead and click that pop-up and choose 16 bits per channel. So, now I'm working in the largest possible color space and I have plenty of actual colors by virtue of my 16 bit per channel bit depth and so this will give me the best potential as far as applying color adjustments for the image. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept those settings and those settings will now become the default moving forward for Adobe Camera Raw. It's not a bad idea to double check when you open an image in Adobe Camera Raw, and you're adjusting your settings, take a quick look to make sure that you're set to ProPhoto RGB and 16 bit per channel.
But do be assured that once you've established those settings, they will be the defaults for new images that you open. So, with those settings established, I can continue applying any adjustments before opening this image into Photoshop to continue on with my color work.
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