When working with a raw image, its very easy to clip data. This happens when you push too many details into a pure white or black state (causing a loss of detail). Locate in the Camera Raw dialog you’ll see a Histogram display in the upper right corner.
Click on one or both of the small triangles. The one on the left is for shadows and the one on the right for highlights. Once enabled, clipped shadows appear blue, and clipped highlights appear red. Make adjustments as needed, but be wary of clipping too much information.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/59872741 w=640&h=360]
Taking effort to avoid clipping will lead to a better print and free the image of muddy or blown details.
This post is a sneak peak from the new Photoshop book I’m writing with Scott. The book is a remake of his original best-seller “88 Secrets to Photoshop for Photographers. It will be available as iBook later this Spring.