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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Power Of JPEG

Capture outstanding photos from JPEG-saved images by following these shooting guidelines

Labels: Learning Center

JPEG shooting focuses you on getting the best shot from the start. This goes beyond simply dealing with a requirement of the format (JPEG is technically a compression scheme and not a format, but its usage in digital cameras is as a format, so we follow that convention). When a photographer focuses on getting the most from every shot, he or she will check all the details-which often are missed by sloppier work that can be "fixed in the computer." Even a well-experienced RAW master can't make an incomplete RAW photo match a well-executed JPEG image.

Getting the photo right in the first place is important for another reason-less time in front of the computer until I have an image I like. This is an essential workflow issue for me. Photos that aren't quite right can take too much time to correct.

Use High-Quality Settings
Choose high-quality settings for JPEG. JPEG also has a "high" setting for compression, which makes for very small files, but this throws out a lot of data, which can result in significant quality problems. JPEG can offer you detail that will match any RAW file, but only if you choose the highest quality settings. These will give you slightly larger file sizes, resulting in fewer photos on a memory card, but still far more than RAW.

So as a rule, use the highest quality settings your camera offers, both in JPEG choices and megapixels. After all, this is what you purchased with your camera, so why not take advantage of it!

Exposure And Light
Keep this in mind: JPEG's 8-bit files have the most difficult challenge keeping up with RAW in the darkest and lightest tones of a photo. Pay attention to how your exposure is reacting to the dark and light areas of the scene. This can be a critical lighting issue, so be sure important details have the light they need.

You'll need to make some decisions. If the brightest parts of a scene are critical, expose so that detail is retained. If the darkest shadows are most important, make sure your exposure captures that detail properly. Dark area exposures have a big effect on both JPEG and RAW files because significant underexposure will increase the appearance of noise in those areas.




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