I wish I could say that every shot I take is perfect, but the reality is that it’s not. Most of the time it is because of the camera’s “intelligence”. It attempts to “fix” the settings so that it is what the camera thinks is the best settings. I do use manual settings much of the time, but there are still parts of the camera running on auto that try to fix the picture. The camera also see’s things different than the human eye. Colors, saturation, and contrast are not captured the same as what the eye can see. So I always shoot raw.
What does raw mean? Well if you have a point and shoot camera, you most likely don’t have the option of raw, but most of the Digital SLR cameras (Single Lens Reflect – the kind that have changeable lenses) have that option. Basically what that means is that when the camera takes the picture, it saves that raw information from the sensor to the picture file. Unlike a JPG file that it takes the picture, compresses it (so that it is smaller, which actually looses some quality), and then saves the file as an image that everyone uses. The drawback to using raw is that it is not universal like JPG, so when I send a picture to get printed somewhere I have to convert it to JPG first. Most devices do not know what to do with a raw file without an additional program. With a raw file you can take the picture from drab to fab. Here is an example:
In this shot, you can see the top (before) picture that shows a bit drab. All I did is I brought up the brightness and saturation to make it look more like it really did when I took the picture.
Other things that can be adjusted are: sharpness, color tone, highlight, shadow, lighting curve, lens distortion, chromatic aberration, noise reduction, and white balance. Below is an example of white balance. I had to dig into old files to find one that was bad so that I could fix it and show an example.
DSLR or SLR are two terms that are very common in photography. You have probably heard or seen this if you are into photography at all. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflect. What does that mean? Well, it means that when you look through the viewfinder that it reflects (usually mirrors or prisms) down through the lens so that it shows the same thing that the camera will see when push the button to take the picture. With the old point and shoot camera you had to look through a viewfinder, and it was usually an approximate view of what the camera would see. It was a separate lens in parallel to the lens that the camera was using, so sometimes you could get a slightly different picture than what you saw, especially up close. With current digital point and shoot cameras there is almost never a viewfinder, instead it displays on the back screen so you can see what you are getting so it is a lot more accurate than the old film point and shoot cameras. I think it is funny that many people don’t know how to use a regular viewfinder any more. I have, on numerous occasions, passed the camera to someone to take a picture for me, and the ask me, “where is the image?” I then have to tell them to look through the viewfinder. I could use the live screen, but it slows things down and is a little less accurate. There are definitely uses for it, and times for it, but for the most part, I don’t use it.
In this picture it shows an example of leading lines. Here is a definition of Leading Lines: Leading lines are lines within an image that leads the eye to another point in the image, or occasionally, out of the image. Anything with a definite line can be a leading line. Fences, bridges, even a shoreline can lead the eye.
So in this example the rope is a Leading Line which leads the eye to the parrot. Without the rope leading to the parrot, your eyes don’t see it as quick as otherwise.
Here is an example of a long exposure. With a long exposure your camera can see more than you.