Why AUTO Correcting is a good start

The following photo was a opportunistic shot. I was still using settings from my previous session and without any real thought took to a few shots quickly as the pilot was getting into his plane.

I reviewed the shot on my camera soon afterwards and could tell immediately from the histogram that the image would be under exposed, but not to worry I have ACR to assist.
F8 1/500 ISO200 85mm
Back in my digital workshop I reviewed the photo.

So what shall I do first?...auto correct, this is always a good starting point and will often give me an indication on which way to go.
It is very rare that I find the result to be terribly accurate and exciting. Why?

Well for starters my computer can’t recall the scene visually, so has no idea on what I actually saw.
And secondly it really has to rely on a series of calculations, and camera pre-sets within its internal database to work its magic. Hence why we get updates periodically to support new devices, new algorithms and other scientific magic J
ACR Auto

But  it’s not all bad and what it does do is to provide me with a very solid starting point.
So what did ACR tell me?

Firstly it suggested that the exposure needed to be increased. Fine because it was under exposed but perhaps not as much as +1.95.

Next it told me that my highlights where too much so these were reduced to -70. This might be the correct course of action considering ACR had just whacked up the exposure!

However what I thought was strange was how it dealt with the shadow and whites. I am guessing that the magic algorithm detected that I had a large Blue background covering a fair percentage of my image so it decided to perhaps leave these alone.

After further reviewing the other changes, I hit the good old Default button and went back to manual.

The exposure certainly needed adjusting but only by a small amount. Once the exposure was at a level I was comfortable with, I could see that the shadows required a tweak. The uniform had detail and by increasing the shadows (+50)I started to reveal more information.

I had to be careful not to adjust this too much so that the whiter areas started to become blow-out. By turning on the Highlight warning light, I was able to keep this to a minimum.

Next I played around with the temp setting. This really only needed a slight decrease towards the blue so I dropped this from 6200 to 6100 kelvin.
The whites I then pulled back to -70 this added a lot more depth across the sky and started to introduced more detail across the plane.

There were also a few other minor adjustments to the saturation just to make the orange of the plane stronger, and minor adjustments in the blacks. I avoided using any masks or gradient adjustments this time.

But like all photography it is of course subjective, so what I see as pleasing may be interpreted differently by others.
ACR Manual Adjustment
However as you can see by the results there is a big difference between Auto and Manual. But don’t be afraid to click auto as it will often provide you with a good starting point. Then decide what you think best fits your photo from your memory of the moment.

Happy tweaking.