Monday, January 29, 2007
The Power Of JPEG
Capture outstanding photos from JPEG-saved images by following these shooting guidelines
Labels: Learning Center
Many digital cameras have an overexposure warning (bright areas blink) that can be helpful in seeing problems with bright areas. However, the way to be certain of your exposure in important parts of your composition is to take a glance at the histogram (see "The Magic Of The Histogram," PCPhoto, October 2004, for an extensive article).
The histogram quickly gives you a visual indication of where your tones are falling. A glance at the right side shows highlights-the graph should slope to the bottom just before the end is reached.
More exposure moves the graph to the right, less moves it to the left.
Glance to the left side to check your shadows. The graph should slope to the bottom just before the end is reached there, too. If the graph is cut off at the left, shadows are "clipped," meaning they have lost detail. If there's a gap, that can be okay if your highlights are within range; you can adjust that in the computer to bring your darks down, which gives you better color and tonalities anyway (plus less noise). However, if your highlights are jammed at the right, you need less exposure to move the whole graph to the left.
I rarely shoot auto white balance for three basic reasons: it doesn't consistently give me the best colors (either from an accurate or creative point of view); it gives inconsistent results when shooting multiple images in a scene where you change your angle to the subject and lens focal length; and it's usually based on a smaller color temperature range than the camera is capable of handling. Auto white balance's inconsistency is due to the camera's attempt to adjust to the different things it sees on the sensor, which leads to definite workflow challenges in trying to match photos later.
I recommend shooting with presets that work for your scene, such as daylight for daytime shooting, incandescent for indoor work, cloudy for shade and cloudy days (plus for sunrise and sunset), fluorescent for those lights and so forth. Experiment to see what you like best; I like the flash setting for a lot of daylight exposures, for example.
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