Wednesday, January 17, 2007
10 Top Digital Camera Shooting Tips
Shoot it right from the start and get better images for use in the computer
An underexposed image can be lightened in the computer, making the color brighter, but that doesn't exactly reveal the original color. As a color is underexposed and gets darker, the sensor doesn't respond the same to the chroma, or actual color information in the image. There's less chroma with the underexposed color, offering less color to work with when processed in Photoshop.
2. Get what you pay for. A sensor is designed to respond to a certain tonal range from black to white in an image. If the full range of the sensor isn't being used when the image is captured (underexposure), some of the camera's capabilities haven't been used—capabilities that you paid for! A sensor also does its best job of capturing bright colors if they're exposed to keep their inherent brightness registering fully on the sensor.
3. RAW is no substitute for shooting it right. Underexposing forces tonalities into a smaller range, which especially affects darker tones and colors. When processed, these tones can be expanded, but this increases contrast. Subtle tonalities can be lost. A lot of photographers say "so what" to this because they shoot RAW, but I guarantee that if you shoot a test that includes subtle colors and tones, you'll see them change when you compare images with proper exposure versus processed underexposure.
4. Avoid increasing noise. The latest digital cameras do a remarkable job of controlling noise and allow higher ISO settings with less noise nearly across the board. The challenge, however, is that noise is best controlled at proper exposures.
Underexposure always increases noise, at least to a degree, and as underexposure increases, noise can increase dramatically. I've seen the same camera deliver a nearly noise-free image when exposed properly, yet when underexposed, the noise increases so much that you'd swear the ISO setting was changed.
5. Minimize banding. The smaller tonal range represented by an underexposed image must be expanded when processed in Photoshop. This expansion can cause banding because there isn't enough tonal information left to smoothly cover certain tonality variations. Since JPEG starts out with much less tonal information than RAW, this can quickly present a problem in that format (although banding can occur in RAW, too). If JPEG is carefully exposed, you can get an excellent image file that can be well-processed in Photoshop.
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