/ camera settings, post editing, etc..

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mauraman 25 Mar 2020

I have learned photography when the digital era was still in the future. for more than 20 years I have been a keen photographer. black and white and slides. I had a long gap of no photos and always told myself that, when the digital cameras will reach full format quality, I would buy one. I am now dipping my toes on digital photography and very recently bought a Lumix 100 TZ, just to experiment with, before committing to more serious equipment and also because I can easily bring it with me anywhere, especially climbing. I do have a good grasp of the principles as they are still the same as for analog pics.

I keep seeing lots of wonderful shots, many of which have magazine quality look, despite being shot by non pros. I understand that some of it might be heavily post edited, sometimes with sky replacement and "mood" masks, etc.. 

So..I am taking pictures mostly with the camera set on aperture priority, standard mode, contrast and saturation both set at  +2 and noise reduction at -2.  White balance is in Auto mode. As for exposure, I use the usual tools of the trade as bracketing, AE lock when required etc...

I post edit some pictures, sometimes adjusting exposure, contrast, etc... to the whole picture or part of it but I do not want to use heavy editing such as sky replacement etc.. as I would like the photos, especially landscapes, to reflect fairly closely what I was seeing at that moment.

So far I didn't manage to attain the "glossy", 'magazine like" quality I see in many of the published photos I see on social media, especially when the sky is greyish and featurless (no Clouds) which is quite often, unfortunately.

so, Any tips? Where am i going wrong?

P. S do not refer to the photos in the gallery here as they where taken with a low res mobile phone, long time ago. (some recent photos on FB: Mauro Solive)

Thanks!

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The Lemming 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mauraman:

I think that you are ticking all the boxes right there. I shoot in aperture priority. Its personal taste about saturation but I would suggest dropping the sharpening to as low as possible. Your computer is far better at processing an image than your camera.

The only thing that you may want to consider is the way that your camera captures and records your images onto the storage card. Will you go JPEG or RAW which is also known as DNG?

When shooting RAW then screwing up on the White Balance is more forgiving than if you messed up White Balance and captured a JPEG image. For JPEG and RAW there is no right or wrong answer, just a world of pain and flame wars between the die-hards.

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ali_colquhoun 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mauraman:

Hi,

Especially if you are looking on social media many photos may have had a filter, or automated post production, applied that results in that glossy look. Obviously that is an extremely lazy and unsatisfactory way of going about business. 

To do things in a reasonably straightforwards, but good way, in digital I suggest shooting RAW files and then editing in lightroom. It's an easy enough and intuitive programme to use; and being so ubiquitous there are a ton of youtube videos on how to do things. It's really just a digital darkroom. 

As you say though the key is in getting a good photo in the first place, which you know all about.

Good luck 

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ChrisJD 25 Mar 2020
In reply to The Lemming:

> For JPEG and RAW there is no right or wrong answer

I'll bite.

There is a wrong answer, it's jpg.

Was brought home to me recently when I went out and shot an afternoon's stroll and had the camera on JPG fine instead of RAW.  Light was great, the jpg were not worth the effort. They would have been bloody lovely as LR processed RAWs.  Still kicking myself.

In LR, RAWs are just win-win, there is zero downside if you know how to use LR.

Why on earth would you rely on the tiny in-camera computer to do the RAW processing (and fun part) for you?  Using a poxy set of averaged presets you have no control over. And then let it throw away the original file and most of the data. Madness.

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jethro kiernan 26 Mar 2020
In reply to mauraman:

As Chris says it’s got to be raw, I made the mistake when transitioning from film to digital of being to reserved in my post editing resulting in flat pictures and missing out on potentially good pictures because I wasn’t looking with a view to a good edit. Use graduated filter in LR maybe with a touch of dehaze a touch  of contrast etc. use the dynamic range bring out the areas you want to focus on. Remember your doing nothing that Angel Adams wasn’t doing with analogue. This obviously doesn’t mean you should neglect the craft and art of capturing a picture, but using and knowing about post will feed back to the capture stage.

I’m going to go through the archives and see what I missed first time around maybe post a few on here 😏.

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timparkin 26 Mar 2020
In reply to mauraman:

Not sure if this is you Mauro but this looks pretty good to me.. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=224352725634751&set=pb.100041800759859.-2207520000..&type=3

You could adjust a bit. I've tweaked the white balance warmer, dropped saturation in reds a little, added a vignette and then lightened the foreground. 

https://i.ibb.co/SBqszTG/ex.jpg

If that's not you then send us a link to a couple of pictures.. Often the choice of lighting and moment can make a big difference. 

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020

The most important thing shooting RAW is not to blow highlights' if you do, it's usually game over for that image (a few blown pixels is fine); .... though RAW processing can save some blown highlights if 1/2 channels blown, but not if all RGB blown.

I always shoot in manual mode, using the EVF to judge exposure. They'll be a setting that tells the EVF to reflect exposure/WB; plus use EVF histogram on as an aid. 

And current-gen cameras retain such detail in RAW shadow areas, I'm still amazed what can be pulled out from them.

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The Lemming 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

Histograms are so last century. Lovin my waveforms.

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> I always shoot in manual mode, using the EVF to judge exposure.

I used to trust that what I saw in the EVF was what I got, but then realised that in dim ambient light, the EVF looked brighter, so I was overcompensating and under exposing. Vice versa in bright ambient light. Now I ALWAYS trust the histogram which I can see in the EVF (usually aperture priority and then exposure compensation to "centre" the histogram or at least ensure highlights are not blown.

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yep, that's why I used the word 'judge' wrt EVF.

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> usually aperture priority and then exposure compensation to "centre" the histogram or at least ensure highlights are not blown.

So why not just go manual, and use shutter/aperture setting directly and cut out the compensation dial?

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> So why not just go manual, and use shutter/aperture setting directly and cut out the compensation dial?

I do when I want a specifically slow or fast shutter speed (moving subject, stars etc.) but not sure what the advantage would be most of the time (?). 

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Its a mental approach thing and it places you in direct control of both aperture and shutter.

Using EVF to set exposure (great) - but combining that approach with compensation dial in aperture mode makes zero sense (logically) to me.  Just use the shutter speed dial directly (its doing exactly the same thing as the compensation dial if you are using aperture priority, where you set the aperture).

In Manual Mode, the compensation dial doesn't do anything. 

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Sean Kelly 26 Mar 2020
In reply to mauraman:

Aside from shooting in RAW also process in ACR or similar  and don't overwrite the RAW file. Then tweak selected areas/ or colours in Layers. Finally use unsharp mask to finish. Tiffs for printing & j-pegs for the web.

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johnhenderson 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

Your both doing the same thing . Just with a different  button. Strange conversation.

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to johnhenderson:

> Your both doing the same thing . Just with a different  button. Strange conversation.

Yes. It's just what I'm used to.

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mauraman 26 Mar 2020
In reply to timparkin:

Thats me. Thanks for your sample!!!! Much appreciated!

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The Lemming 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I used to trust that what I saw in the EVF was what I got, but then realised that in dim ambient light, the EVF looked brighter, so I was overcompensating and under exposing.

Maybe camera companies could allow waveforms for stills images?

Your eyeball may not accurately judge exposure, however the camera sensor does, and having this in an easily read graphic representation makes all the difference. Yes a histogram shows the lows, mediums and highs in the viewfinder but it clumps them all together as a bar chart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAT-mjS2kyc

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galpinos 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

In the Fuji X-T1 I have, there isn't. The "exposure compensation/exposure indicator" bar across the bottom, that moves when you use the exposure comp dial, moves in the same way whether you use shutter speed (white tab indicator) or the exp comp dial (yellow tab indicator) (which is just changing your shutter speed).

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galpinos 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Isn't the fuji histogram for the jpeg, not the raw file?

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> Isn't the fuji histogram for the jpeg, not the raw file?

Not sure what you mean. The jpeg is produced from the raw file.

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to johnhenderson:

But it's not strange - Robert is using the compensation dial without quite seeming to get what it does? (see his post 12.51).

The compensation dial and all the fancy 'exposure modes' (centre weighed'; evaluative etc) are all redundant if you do 'exposure' via the EVF/Histogram approach in Manual Mode, that the beauty of it, simplifies stuff right down.  There are only three things to then consider: shutter, aperture, ISO

So why use the compensation dial that removes you one-step from what the camera is actually altering , i.e. the shutter speed (in the way Robert is using his camera in A-priority).

I work the other way round to Robert and start with Shutter Speed as I mostly shoot hand held using a non-stabilised lens (and body), so need (worked out through trial & error) a minimum shutter speed of 1/500, preferably 1/1000, to maximise chances of sharp image.  (bring on the XT-4!)

Then I check aperture, if not happy with that, then raise/alter ISO or change shutter (sometimes faster in bright light to avoid stopping down too much) to get a 'good' compromise of shutter/aperture/ISO to maximise chance of a sharp shot with the right depth of field, with as low as possible noise, within the limitations of the available light. 

Setting shutter-first means you then get to use the lovely aperture ring on Fuji lenses to nail the exposure via EVF/histogram.  Makes for a lovely feedback loop.

(If you're on a tripod in low light, then it's a different approach to get that 'good' shot).

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to galpinos:

The histogram is for the jpg.  The histogram in the EVF of Fujis is small anyway, so it's just a guide; you soon get used to its limitations on ETTR. 

Fuji RAWs are so damn robust though, they can really be pushed in the shadows/blacks if you 'under expose' anyway.  And I'd rather under expose at bit than blow highlights.

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> But it's not strange - Robert is using the compensation dial without quite seeming to get what it does? (see his post 12.51).

It just changes the shutter speed doesn't it? 

> The compensation dial and all the fancy 'exposure modes' (centre weighed'; evaluative etc) are all redundant if you do 'exposure' via the EVF/Histogram approach in Manual Mode, that the beauty of it, simplifies stuff right down. 

I treat all those as just different ways of letting the camera do a first estimate of shutter speed for the aperture and ISO I have chosen which I then tune using the histogram and the exposure compensation dial (yes, I could just as easily use the shutter speed dial). I find, in particular, spot mode a great way of getting a decent first estimate for wildlife. If the exposure is too long, I adjust ISO or aperture.

> There are only three things to then consider: shutter, aperture, ISO.

I don't really see that I'm doing anything different - I am just using a different dial. OK, I could prioritise shutter speed, and I sometimes do - it's just that I usually want to prioritise aperture.

> I work the other way round to Robert and start with Shutter Speed as I mostly shoot hand held using a non-stabilised lens (and body), so need (worked out through trial & error) a minimum shutter speed of 1/500, preferably 1/1000, to maximise chances of sharp image.  (bring on the XT-4!)

Don't all the Fuji lenses have stabilisation? Or do you prefer not to use it for some reason?

> Setting shutter-first means you then get to use the lovely aperture ring on Fuji lenses to nail the exposure via EVF/histogram.  

That is a good point - the aperture ring is much nicer to use than any dial (I have one XC lens without a ring and it's much less nice to use).

Post edited at 18:25
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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

The Fuji 16-55mm XF f2.8 doesn't have IS.  The IQ you can get with the lens makes it worthwhile compromise.

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> The histogram is for the jpg.  

What do you mean by that?

I think the reason I use the compensation dial rather than the shutter speed one is that my first Fuji was an X-E1 on which the compensation dial protruded and was very easy to adjust with one finger. This however meant that there was an issue with it getting turned accidentally. On my X-T2 it is much stiffer and does not protrude - I've just had a play and it is no easier to use than the shutter speed dial. But it's what I'm used to!

Post edited at 18:46
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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Set shutter first, then use that lovely aperture ring, lol. (I'll shut up soon)

But first, please tell me you don't use auto-ISO - the devils work!

I work on the basis that I want the camera to make as few decisions for me as possible.

Histogram for jpg: see item 2.

https://petapixel.com/2017/01/17/three-common-misconceptions-cameras-histogram/

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johnhenderson 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

I bet every photographer uses a slightly different method to achieve the exposures they want. I personally for general landscapes set the aperture I want using aperture priority , dial in -1ev compensation . Check the histogram and go from there. 

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> But first, please tell me you don't use auto-ISO - the devils work!

It depends. For landscape generally no. But particularly for wildlife when I don't want to be messing about with dials while the animal runs off, I find the programmable auto ISO on my X-T2 really useful - set a minimum speed for the lens I'm using and let the camera up the ISO if necessary. 

Post edited at 19:38
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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to johnhenderson:

> dial in -1ev compensation

You mean double the shutter speed ;-)

This is exactly what I mean about the Exp Compensation dial giving a false impression of what you are actually doing. 

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Robert Durran 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> Histogram for jpg: see item 2.

Thanks. That's useful (especially item 1 for me)

So what item 2 seemed to be saying is that the histogram is "adjusted" to take account of the fact that the in-camera jpeg process loses information at the bright and dark ends (?).

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ChrisJD 26 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Read the comments section of the article, some tricks to get the histogram closer to that of the RAW.

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johnhenderson 26 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

You are correct that is what it's doing.

Using manual mode means you have to concentrate on  2 settings rather than 1 though.

I only use manual mode for creating  panoramic  shots. Horses for courses.

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timparkin 27 Mar 2020
In reply to johnhenderson:

I chat with a lot of landscape photographers and this tends to be the default position... 

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Mike_d78 28 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

You can also use zebras (only on mirrorless?) to avoid blowing highlights as well; whilst assisting ETTR. I prefer them to histograms as they are slightly more in your face.

If you are shooting raw then you can go >100 without highlights being blown.

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65 28 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Don't all the Fuji lenses have stabilisation? Or do you prefer not to use it for some reason?

I don't think any of the primes have OIS. The 14mm doesn't, neither do any of the small and brilliant f2 primes. I'm looking forward to the XT4 for this very reason. 

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Robert Durran 28 Mar 2020
In reply to 65:

> I don't think any of the primes have OIS. 

Ok, I hadn't realised that - I've just got four zooms.

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