Saturation, Contrast and other settings settings in the Camera

January 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

When I shoot photographs with by Digital Camera, unlike with film, I have a variety of setting that I can take advantage of in order to get the right colour, saturation, contrast in the jpeg image (I always Shoot RAW + jpeg).  However, I always shoot using the lowest possible contrast, saturation, sharpening etc.  Why is that and what does that have to do with the images shown here?

 

The colour photograph is what the above settings got me in this particular instance.  It is not what the scene looked like.  It's rather bland looking - no colour saturation or contrast to speak of.  But that's all good with me.  If I had the contrast and saturation cranked up, I have a more difficult time assessing how the shadows and highlights are more closely recorded in the raw capture.  Don't get me wrong, the jpeg will never have the range the raw image has but at least it's closer than looking at a super contrast, punchy image.  In addition, it's better to have a low contrast starting point - more for your imagingation to play with. 

In this particular image, I decided that the colours were not the important part.  Rather the millions of tiles on the rooftops and the diagonal of the street dividig the image in 2 are far more interesting.  So the natural thing to do is to convert it into monochrome and then enhance the image by increasing contrast and sharpening in selected areas.

It's what I had in mind when taking the image but I was not sure exactly how I wanted to process it.  I knew that I liked the details in the scence and tried to maximize detail by using a tripod, mirror lockup and framing it correctly so that I will not have to crop.

My preferences:

Saturation: Neutral or one step below

Constrast: Neutral

Sharpening: Minimal

Colour Space: The highest your camera will allow (Adobe RGB or higher)

White balance: Choose the correct WB setting for each scence or if you camera does a decent job on auto, use it.

Please keep in mind that when shooting RAW, all of the above setting can be changed when using a RAW converted.  Some converters will use your jpeg settings as the starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

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