About a Photo
(And why raw capture makes sense)
This is a brief post about how a photo came to be, the camera that took it and the software used to create the finished article. More importantly, I wanted to explain why a raw capture always makes sense from this JPEG shooter’s perspective. The photo in question, can be seen above. The exposure was taken during the second test shoot with my Olympus E-PL1 and on the day I took the exposure several times, trying out each of the camera’s modes and art filters.
Now, I’m predominantly a JPEG shooter. Getting the shot right while behind the camera, with minimal need for adjustment, saves time later. That’s not to say I don’t post process. I always do. It is also not to say I don’t shoot raw. I always do that too. A slight boost to contrast and saturation in Photoshop will usually make an image that little bit better; and a little bit better can count for a lot when it comes to a photo. I always shoot JPEG plus raw for a number of reasons:
- Sometimes the white balance out of the camera (I always shoot auto white balance) is a bit off and the raw capture allows me to correct this easily
- Sometimes I find I need the little bit of extra headroom that raw brings in the highlights and the shadows
- As I’ve found out recently, time and technology move on and it is quite probable that future raw processing technologies might help me make better images from today’s exposures
- The Olympus Master software that comes with my camera allows me to play with different actual camera settings on my MacBook.
So, my approach is to shoot JPEG + raw, hope the JPEG works but use the raw capture if I must.
This particular image got me thinking a bit. Because I shot from the spot several times, trying out a different setting with each exposure, I found the straightest shot was taken in the camera’s natural mode while the best colours came from the camera’s iEnhance mode. So, I took the raw capture of the straightest shot and tested each of the camera’s modes in Olympus Master. The results can be found here:
I took all the resulting images from Olympus Master and imported them into an Aperture project. From here I compared them, put the natural image through my usual Aperture workflow and then tried boosting the contrast a little on the photo output using the iEnhance mode (the photo a the top of this page). To get a real feel for the differences between the images, I recommend taking any two and flicking between them.
Does this mean I should shoot using the camera’s iEnhance mode rather than the Natural mode? Probably not. For one thing, the colours are going to be a little too wild for many shooting situations and I tend to prefer more natural looking images (this one being the exception, rather than the rule). Also, iEnhance blows highlights more easily.