Jan 042013
  • RAW VS. JPG: Raw files give you the maximum size and quality possible with your camera, allowing you to print larger images or crop tighter to focus on smaller sections of your image without degrading the image quality (no pixelation.) Raw files are proprietary to each camera manufacturer. Unlike jpg files, they do not have white balance, sharpness, contrast, saturation and other settings applied in camera. You must do this in a raw editor, before converting images to jpg. psd or tiff files.
  • EDIT JPGS ONCE: Each time you save a jpg file after editing it, your image degrades due to the repeated compression applied to it. Therefore, you should not use a jpg as a work in progress file for adjustments. For a work file use an uncompressed format such as tif / tiff or psd. Jpgs can be used to share or print, being converted from the uncompressed formats as needed.
  • “FIX IT IN PHOTOSHOP” FALLACY:  Learn to shoot the best images possible in camera as there are images that cannot be properly fixed afterward. Underexposure can create extra (not fixable) noise in dark areas and overexposure can create blobs of light without detail – which cannot be recovered. Too slow a shutter speed can cause motion blur issues from camera shake or subject movement – again irrecoverable. While shooting jpg files, an incorrect white balance setting can create color cast problems that require extra work to eliminate.
  • SEE IN BLACK & WHITE: In one step you can improve greatly your ability to take awesome photos – stop looking at the color in your subjects. Color confuses and detracts from your ability to see details. Instead, practice seeing in black and white so you see more clearly the fall of light light across your subject and detail or texture created by the light. If you need help, try looking through a Roscolux #77 Green Blue gel.
  • USE THE LOWEST ISO POSSIBLE: To eliminate noise as much as possible, shoot in the lowest ISO (usually 100.) Even when taking night time or low light shots, use 100 and lengthen the exposure time – unless there is motion in the scene you are shooting. Shooting in manual mode, use the desired aperture setting and raise the ISO high enough to give you the shutter speed needed to freeze the action. Remember to use a tripod or other stabilizer with long exposure shots – and turn on long exposure noise reduction if your camera has that feature.