Sunday, March 21

CoffeeShop 101: Quick and Easy Editing: Edit JPGS in ACR in PSE or CS!

This is a fun tip to quickly edit a jpg using the Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. ACR is the RAW editor for both programs (ACR is somewhat limited in PSE, but still a great way to edit RAWs, especially if you want to batch edit).

However you might not be aware that you can also open and edit jpgs in ACR. This is a great method to quickly edit white balance, make a B&W, or even make some quick and special enhancements!

The first step is opening your jpg as a RAW file. Go to File, Open As.

Find the jpg you wish to open and then select Camera RAW where it says "Open As" on the bottom.

Your jpg will open in the ACR menu. Here you can edit using sliders (easy, right?). Click on the Detail tab to adjust sharpness and also do some noise reduction. If you want to reset your image, simply hold down the Alt key and click on the "Reset" button on bottom. Click on "Open Image" to open your ACR edited image in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. If you decide to not edit your image, click on "Cancel".

Here is my original jpg.

Now for some enhancing! Click on the images below to see larger versions and to check out my settings. To make your image B&W, just slide down the saturation slider and then adjust the other sliders to taste to customize your B&W.

Here is a nice vivid color pop.

This is a "scorched honey" version.

Why not go dark and moody?

Why would you use ACR rather than actions or layers? Because this method is so fast and easy. If you have Photoshop you will have more creative tabs in ACR and the sky is the limit, but even in PSE you can get a huge variety of creative effects simply by moving a few sliders. All of the sample I posted here were edited in PSE6's ACR.

NOTE: If you open up an image and it has weird settings already applied, just click on the tiny pull down menu above your tabs (Basic, Details, etc.) and click on "Reset Camera Raw Defaults".

I hope this tutorial will encourage you to go and edit with ACR, even if you shoot jpgs!

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  1. Thanks for this post. I just downloaded Camera Raw upgrade and so far all I did was the auto fix.

  2. You are freakin' awesome. You teach me so many simple things that I definitely wouldn't have ever figured out on my own. This is such a fantastic way to touch up pictures quickly and simply. Thanks so much for the time you put into your blog. It's my favorite blog and I learn a ton!

  3. Hi. Love your blog! Go to the following link to install an add-in that allows you to get at ACR from Organizer. Very convenient!


  4. Ah! Thank you! I keep telling myself I need to try editing in RAW in PSE but I never knew I do! Thank you for everything you do!

  5. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. I had no idea you could open jpgs in ACR! You've done it again! Thanks!!!

  6. Thanks for yet another great tip Rita. I never knew I could do this either!

  7. I just know you through the internet but I love you! (okay, hopefully you've seen the movie UP! or that's gonna sound really awkward to you...and everyone else :)

    This is so cool, it would have taken me the same number of months to figure this out as it did to figure out I actually did have ACR and could open a RAW file in PSE!!

    It's like you wrote this post just for me, thank you :D Still love ya!

  8. Thanks everyone!!! And Claudia, I totally get you, I LOVED "Up". One of the best movies I have ever seen, and I don't usually like cartoons... And I love you as an internet friend!!! :-)

    So glad everyone can use this tip! Rita

  9. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on in the Tutorials category today [22 Mar 10:43am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  10. Thank you so much! I have a ton of photos that I took in jpg format before I discovered RAW. I will be going back and playing around with those today. :o)

  11. Does this work in PSE5? I couldn't open them, but maybe its just because I'm not sure what I am doing!

  12. I had NO IDEA! Thanks for the tip! Love all of your stuff. You have taught me so much!

  13. Thanks Rita, can't wait to get home and try. I love your lessons!


  14. I knew I could open JPGs in ACR (learned in Scott Kelby's PSE book) but I didn't realize I could make changes that had the same effect as actions. Do you think you could share some of the things you tweaked to get those results?

  15. Amanda, if you click on the images they will open much larger and you can see my settings!

    Yes, you can replicate many actions using jpgs in ACR. Pretty cool, right?


  16. I have CS4 and can't figure out how to get on the same page with the sliders to adjust? thanks!

  17. This is great! Always knew you could do this just didn't know how. My question is how do you open more than one image at a time?
    It will only let me select one image to open.

  18. Oh my oh my oh my... Thank you so much for this. I did a whole photo shoot where I was sure I was shooting in Raw. Checked it several times...low and behold I get home and they are jpeg. I so wanted to use the ACR editing and now I can. Thank you so very much for this and all the wonderful tutorials, freebies, and info you provide on your blog..if I could hug you I would!!!!

  19. "Does this work in PSE5? I couldn't open them, but maybe its just because I'm not sure what I am doing!"

    It does work in PSE 5 but it depends which version of ACR you are using. I had the same problem using PSE 5. I was using the version of ACR that came with the software but I have upgraded (free from Adobe)to version 4.5 of ACR. That's the latest version which PSE 5 supports.

    Thanks for the tip Rita, it's really useful.

  20. Oh my, it's like this fell out of the sky JUST FOR ME!! I recently took a trip to NYC with a borrowed camera which shot everything BLUE. I"m not kidding. Because they were jpegs, i figured i was out of luck on the white balance. Thanks so much for this tip - had no idea i could open those jpegs in ACR. You are the best!

  21. love your tutorials! It is wonderful that you share your passion with so many! I also look for free tips in lightroom when processing and organizing!
    see great free tips here:
    and at

  22. Your sent from Heaven! Thanks so much for this post! It has help me 150%. Thanks!!!!!

  23. I totally forgot, since I read my first book on PSE, that this was possible! Thanks for the reminder!!

    1. I always forget this too! I wonder if it still works PSE 2018.


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