If you have a DSLR camera, you may be taking photos in a RAW file format. What's RAW? It doesn't mean your photos haven't been cooked properly!
RAW photos are bigger, clearer and more detailed than regular digital image files. They're sometimes called "digital negatives" because they contain the unprocessed data from the image sensor of a camera.
That means more detail and a wider dynamic range. You can also edit white balance and exposure after you've taken a photo. But you'll need special software to even view them, let alone edit them!
Some higher-end cameras provide software for editing RAW files. Other cameras don't offer any tools. Plus, the tools you do have could be limited.
RawTherapee is a free, full-featured RAW editor for computers. It lets you do the same things pricey programs like Adobe Lightroom do. If you're serious about photography, it's a must-have.
When you download RawTherapee, read the descriptions. There are a few dozen different links. Each one is for a specific version of Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu or Gentoo.
Check to make sure you download the proper version. You can use this free software to learn more about your computer, including what version of Windows you have.
Here's another thing to keep in mind: RAW formats can vary among camera manufacturers. Also, different models can have different formats.
Double-check that RawTherapee supports your camera's files before downloading. Also, this program may prompt you for a donation during the installation process.
As always, it isn't necessary to pay to use the software. However, if you appreciate the program, your donation can help support updates as well as other helpful free tools.
To Download the RawTherapee, click the blue download buttons at the bottom of this page. On the download page, Windows users should scroll down the page and click the "RT 4.2.173 for Windows XP or newer 32-bit" link. Mac users should click the "RT 4.2.210 for Mac OS X 10.10 64-bit" link.
Note: If you're a Windows user with a 64-bit system, use the "RT 4.2.222 for Windows Vista/7/8 64-bit" link. You can find out what system you have by going to the Windows Start Menu and clicking Control Panel >> System and Maintenance >> System and scrolling down to see if the System reads "32-bit" or "64-bit."
Your download will begin immediately. When it's finished, open up the downloaded ZIP file. Double-click the application with a name that starts with "RawTherapee_WinXP" (or "RawTherapee_OSX for Mac users) and select "Extract All." You can then choose to extract the file to the Downloads folder or another location on your computer. Click the "Extract" button.
Open the extracted folder and double click the application with a name that starts with "RawTherapee_WinXP" (or "RawTherapee_OSX for Mac users). Select your language to start the installation process. Make sure to read the license agreement before moving on.
When the installation is complete, the program will launch automatically.