What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with (part 2)
What comes out of the camera
is just the basics to start with
One of the photography forums I hang out at is called Ugly Hedgehog. It’s a mix of the amateur, the professional wannabes, and even some professional photographers.
As I’m reading through the many posts each day, invariably I find at least one person claiming that you’re not a photographer unless you can get your picture correct with the camera — no photoshopping allowed.
Of course, in the digital world, if you shoot using just the RAW setting on your camera, you summarily are not a photographer and never will be by their definitions because RAW requires that you do post-camera processing somewhere just to get a picture that you can then post or print. There is no other way.
Their attitude also fails to take into account what we did before digital came along. In my darkroom, I used filters, special developing chemicals, special papers…. I dodged and burned…. I used every trick available to me in order to get the picture that I wanted, even if the camera didn’t originally give it to me.
I don’t remember what my first camera was because it was provided to me by the school so that I could take pictures of our sixth-grade sports teams. The first camera I owned was a Canon A-1 that I bought in June 1978. It lasted me until April 1993 when I moved to San Diego and left it behind in College Station, Texas.
A year later I bought a Kodak digital camera…. loaded it with all the digital goodies…. Its digital resolution was a whopping 1 MP…. one…. I was impressed with that camera. And well I should have been because it cost me over $5,000. Sadly, Kodak is in bankruptcy, having failed to keep up with the digital revolution even though they had more than a thousand patents relating to digital photography. I read somewhere that they created the first digital camera back in the late 1970s, just about the time I was buying my Canon A-1.
I currently have 11 point & shoot cameras (bought them for my employees since they needed them), including Kodak, GE, Samsung, HP, and Canon.
I have two DSLR cameras, a Canon Rebel XSi and a Canon 550D. I had the 550D imported from London since its American counterpart, the Rebel T2i, was not yet available in America. I really wanted the video function and the increased resolution.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t explored all the setting on either the XSi or the 550D…. too busy taking pictures….
Just because Canon’s programmers chose something for me doesn’t mean that I can’t change it. I started playing around, especially with the Standard settings.
I spend a lot of time at the computer using Photoshop CS6 Beta, PaintShop Pro X4, Photo-Paint X5, Lightroom 4, and even Word 2010, to see if I can make my pictures better.
I discovered that I could. I also discovered that I was almost always increasing the contrast and clarity.
In looking at the Picture Styles, I discovered that I could increase or decrease the Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, and Color tone, so I did.
The default setting for Standard pictures is 3,0,0,0 (Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, and Color tone). After playing around, I decided on a setting of 7,2,2,2.
I got my first pictures where I was happy with how they came out of the camera…. added no contrast or clarity to them in post-processing. All I did was crop some of them. I did try adding contrast and clarity but found them too sharp and edgy, almost looking like a lot of noise.
I even got the first picture of a dark, dreary, foggy morning that I was actually happy with:
This is just another example that, as my wise old grandmother said, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” However, now I know that I can decide what comes out of the camera and what the basics to start with actually are!