Use In-camera Settings to Your Advantage
This story was originally published in September 2014.
How can I get better image quality? I’ve heard that shooting in RAW help quality but is there an easier way?
Sharana Singh, Bangalore, via email
Almost everyone agrees that shooting in RAW helps you get the best possible image quality. But there are times when this may not be possible. Maybe you are using a compact camera. Or even if you are using a DSLR, you do not have enough space on your card or need faster shooting bursts that are possible with your camera only in JPEG. Or the most common situation… you do not have the time to process a RAW file.
If you’re shooting JPEG, you should choose your in-camera parameters carefully. By choosing the right combination of settings, you can completely change the final look of your photos. It’s almost like shooting different kinds of film.
Contrast, Saturation and White Balance are simply some of the settings that you can use. Avoid increasing in-camera Sharpness too much as this results in ugly halos. Some cameras, notably those of Pentax, Olympus and Fujifilm, also allow you to adjust the Tone Curve, so that you can fine tune the look of shadows and highlights separately.
Make these Choices Carefully
Always remember, less is more. If you have increased Contrast too much, you may not be able to tone it down later in software. The most important discipline over here is previsualising what your final photograph looks like before you click it.