A lot of the quality of your final image will be determined by what you do with your RAW files when you open them in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) which comes with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Adobe Lightroom.
If you aren’t already shooting RAW files with your digital camera (as opposed to JPEG files), you should think about the advantages of shooting in RAW. Read the articles RAW vs JPEG Camera Files and The RAW vs JPEG Exposure Advantage at my photography web site.
When it comes to ACR, the names you need to know are Jeff Schewe and the late Bruce Fraser. They are both internationally known Photoshop experts. Fraser started the books on ACR and Jeff Schewe has continued the updates with each new version of Photoshop, and now Lightroom. If you are using Photoshop CC orCS6 or using Lightroom 5 or 4, get The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop by Jeff Schewe. If you are using Photoshop CS5, CS4, or CS3, get Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop by Fraser and Schewe. Be sure to get the update of the book that matches your software version. You can find them all at my photography store (which is powered by Amazon.com’s great prices and fast delivery) and they are all linked below.
Russell Preston Brown, Sr. Creative Director for Adobe Systems: “If you want to understand Camera Raw, then look no further than this book. Trust me on this one.”
The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (for Photoshop CC & CS6 and Lightroom 5 & 4)
Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5
Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS4
Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS3
The best of the best photography gear, books, accessories, and online photo labs: a series of articles.