If you are a Photoshop or Photoshop Elements user (and have one of the latest versions), then there is a fantastic photo editing secret just begging you to dig for it! It is so fantastic, I’m busting at the seams to share it with you. But, let me back up and explain something first.

You may have read about the benefits of shooting your photos in RAW format, most important being complete control of your image in post production. Basically you are handed everything the camera sees, instead of a condensed “best guess”. However, not all cameras have this option (especially point & shoots) and the files can be several times as large, hogging precious memory card space.

When you try to open a photo that is in a RAW file format (i.e. your camera’s native RAW format) using Photoshop or PSE, it will open using the amazing default plug-in called Adobe Camera RAW. Whether you open more or multiple photos, with ACR (as its called) you can make a whole suite of adjustments (white balance, contrast, brightness etc.) from one single control panel of sliders. This greatly expedites processing.

Now here’s the secret tip – JPEGs and TIFFs can be opened with ACR too! While you are not retaining the full spectrum of image information as with a RAW file, you are able to leverage the intuitive and efficient editing capabilities of Adobe Camera RAW. So here’s how:

  1. Open your Adobe software
  2. Go to “File” > “Open”
  3. Select the image you wish to open in ACR
  4. Look for the “Format” drop-down
  5. Select “Camera RAW” and click “Open”

It’s that easy! For more beginner reading on RAW, visit this great series at Adobe Press.