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Shooting in Raw + JPEG Mode: Why Most of Us Shouldn’t, And How to Set Lightroom Preferences If You Do

More and more photographers are aware these days that raw files provide higher quality information and more flexibility in processing than JPEGs do. For those of you convinced to shoot raw files, your camera most likely gives you a choice to save just a raw file, or to save both a raw file and a JPEG of each photo you capture.   Frankly, I hope to convince most of you who capture raw + JPEG to stop doing it and capture just a raw file. However, for those who choose to capture both, I will explain the file management options available to you. My Experience Shooting Raw + JPEG When I first started shooting in raw, I chose raw + JPEG [...more]

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Jpeg Compression and the Lightroom Jpeg Quality Setting

Anytime you create a jpeg using Lightroom’s Export dialog (or any other method), the file is compressed — information is thrown away in order to make the file smaller. How much is determined by the Quality setting or, in Lightroom 3 or later, if you choose instead, the Limit File Size setting. The big benefit of jpeg files is that they are relatively small.  The jpeg save algorithm is complicated, but it basically evaluates each pixel in your image, looking at pixels surrounding it to see if they are “close enough” in color and tone. If they are “close enough”, then they are changed to be  the same. This way the file doesn’t need to store as many pieces of [...more]

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The Easy Way to Expose to the Right in Digital Photography

You may have read my two posts about  the value of exposing to the right in digital photography (also known as ETTR), What Lurks in the Shadows: The Case of the Black Cat and The Perfect Exposure, Or, When Things Don’t Look So Good.   In the second one, I show you an example of where I nail my exposure — the photograph  is exposed as brightly as possible without blowing out any significant highlights (any highlights at all, in this case): (For an explanation on how to read the histogram, see the first post.) I often get the follow-up question from readers, “How do you expose it so perfectly, other than by bracketing and trial and error?” It’s actually quite easy, once you [...more]

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What Lurks in the Shadows: The Case of the Black Cat, or Why You Should Expose to the Right

I wrote this post in early 2009, so I am sure that many of my readers haven’t seen it.  I decided to repost it because it is an important concept for digital photographers to understand. As you may have heard, with digital, unlike film, your goal should be to expose your image as brightly as possible, without blowing out important highlights.  In other words, your histogram should be as far to the right as possible without going over the edge.  This method is now called ETTR — Expose To The Right. What is the histogram?  It is a graph of the tones in your images, from pure black (blocked up, no detail) at the left edge, to pure white (blown [...more]

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Nikon D3x, D3, D700 and D300s Get Firmware Updates

See this announcement from dpreview.com if you have one of these cameras.  Links to firmware updates provided.

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The Perfect Exposure, or When Good Things Don’t Look So Good, or Why You Should Expose to the Right

I wrote about the importance of exposing as brightly as possible, short of blowing out important highlights in my post “What Lurks in the Shadows: The Case of the Black Cat“.    I encourage you to read it if you haven’t. I thought I would show you an example of a perfect exposure that in fact looks terrible in-camera. Here is a photograph I took on the Oregon Coast: And here is the histogram:

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Point and Shoot Camera Reviews

A colleague of mine, Kathy Eyster, brought to my attention a great series of compact camera reviews that Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) published for the holidays: Enthusiast Digital Compacts Premium Digital Compacts Ultra Compacts Budget Compacts Digital Photography Review also has excellent  in-depth reviews of DSLR’s and lenses. Kathy is a an excellent photography  instructor, by the way.  Check out her blog at www.essentialdigitalcamera.com.

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Learn from My Dusty Mistake

In my last post I showed you how to remove spots using the spot removal tool in Lightroom and Camera Raw. After I made the video, it occurred to me that I didn’t show you my most horrifying example of dust on the camera sensor. I took this image in 2004 shortly after I got my first digital SLR. (Click on the image to see it larger — there is much more dust than you can see in this small version!) I didn’t realize back then that it is a very bad idea to change lenses without turning the camera off — the camera has a charge that draws in dust.  So learn from my mistake on this one! I [...more]

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Chromatic Aberration

When you are working on an image for print, or any application where it will be viewed full size, it is important that you zoom in to 100%, and inspect the entire image for issues that you can’t see when it is smaller. I was working on this image today and when I zoomed in to 100% I discovered a red and cyan colored fringe around the bird in the image. Here it is zoomed in to 400% so you can really see it:

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He Really Is Not Kidding!

This is a digital photography post, rather than Photoshop or Lightroom, but it has me fascinated enough that I must send you over to Luminous-Landscape to see for yourself. Michael Reichman was shooting with the new $500 Canon G10 point and shoot along with his $40,000 Hasselblad/Phase 1 digital medium format system and found that image quality is pretty much comparable, on screen and for small and moderate size prints (up to 13″x19:). Please, read for yourself: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml This is a great site to monitor — excellent articles, reviews and training material.

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