Here's are two shots, before processing and after, of a cat I saw perched on the seawall in front of the Hilton Hotel by Hamagawa Harbour. The first is a JPG from the unprocessed raw image right off the camera (Canon 100D) and the second is after processing in Lightroom. The difference shows exactly what can be done with raw images in the the right software.
You'll notice that the photo looks almost black and white. This is because the software does not try to interpret anything from the raw file the way it would if displaying a JPG. A JPG would have been a lot more colorful because the in-camera software would have cranked up the saturation. But I son't want to let a computer tell me how my photos should look, so I develop the photos myself. The end result below took about 10 minutes in Lightroom.
To get this result, all I had to do was some basic processing. I raised the color temperature a bit to warm it up (as shot was a bit too blue). I raised the saturation on the orange and yellow sliders in the HSL section, giving the red a tiny boost too. But the warm colour didn't work well for the ocean and the sky, so I used the brush tool to lower the color temperature of those two parts of the image. I used another brush tool to raise the colour temperature on the buildings, making it look a little bit more like golden hour (the sun had just gone down and the actual scene was much darker to the eye than it appears here at ISO 800). I finished off with one final brush tool with which I brought up the exposure on the cat's face and bib. The black fur was just a bit too dark.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I used another brush tool to decrease the saturation on the cement sall in the immediate foreground. The difference is very subtle, but reducing the tiny bit color information in an element that is already gray helps the cat to stand out just a bit more, without having to crank the saturation to psychedelic levels.
Thanks for reading!
My simple blog about the art and science of photography.