George Cairns reveals how to use Picture Controls for one-click editing
Nikon Capture NX-D is compatible with your camera’s Picture Controls – and that means you can adjust your images with a single click, reducing the time you have to spend it post-production
All Nikon D-SLRs enable you to select so-called Picture Controls, which effectively apply some in-camera processing to
your images. The Portrait Picture Control, for example, gives skin a subtly smoother look, while the Landscape Picture Control boosts blues and greens. Landscape also increases contrast to help details stand out. Picture Controls such as Flat produce a photo with less contrast. This is a sensible Picture Control to use as you want to do your own processing on the image.
If you shoot in JPEG format then you’ll be forced to accept the look produced by the selected in-camera Picture Control setting, and it will be much harder to adjust the colours, tones and sharpness of the shot in Nikon’s free Capture NX-D app. However, if you shoot images in the RAW (NEF) format, you can then use Capture NX-D to experiment with alternative Picture Controls, or even fine-tune an existing Picture Control to create one of your own.
It’s worth noting, though, that the effects of Picture Controls are only visible in Nikon’s own software – other programs, such as Photoshop, can’t read the information.
If you’d prefer to spend more time shooting and less time processing pictures, it’s worth experimenting with the presets and sliders in Capture NX-D’s Picture Control panel. You can use these Picture Control presets as a springboard to experiment with different looks, and then use the various of sliders to manually fine-tune properties such as colour, sharpness and contrast.
You can even use Picture Controls to experiment with different mono looks, to help particular subjects stand out in a black-and-white conversion, as our walkthrough opposite explains.
We’ve also put Nikon’s Picture Controls through their paces in our accompanying video lesson, so that you can see this versatile postproduction feature in action.