Per­fect your in-cam­era JPEGs

Digital Photograper - - Contents -

Find out the ben­e­fits of shoot­ing in JPEG for­mat, plus which in-cam­era set­tings will help you get the most out of your images

Find out how to get the best qual­ity from your JPEG for­mat images with these cus­tomis­able set­tings

It is gen­er­ally ac­cepted that, to guar­an­tee max­i­mum im­age qual­ity, it is good prac­tice to shoot in RAW for­mat. This pro­vides the great­est de­gree of flex­i­bil­ity at the im­age-edit­ing stage and there is no loss of im­age data through com­pres­sion. Once a JPEG im­age has been taken, it is ad­vis­able to keep post-pro­cess­ing to a min­i­mum to avoid file degra­da­tion. There are big ben­e­fits to JPEG shoot­ing how­ever, no­tably in­creased stor­age ca­pa­bil­ity, higher burst rates, longer con­tin­u­ous im­age se­quences and faster work­flows. Many wed­ding, wildlife and sports pho­tog­ra­phers favour the for­mat for these rea­sons. In or­der to en­sure there is lit­tle trade-off in im­age qual­ity, the in-cam­era JPEG han­dling set­tings must be finely tuned so that images are as close to print-ready as is pos­si­ble out-of-cam­era. Al­most ev­ery en­thu­si­ast-level cam­era fea­tures mul­ti­ple op­tions for chang­ing pre­set con­trast, colour bal­ance and sat­u­ra­tion, which is ap­plied to images as a cam­era pro­file. Be­yond this it is nec­es­sary to take con­trol of in-cam­era noise re­duc­tion to strike a bal­ance be­tween grain­i­ness and de­tail, while sharp­en­ing also needs to be de­cided be­fore images are taken. All of this is amended from within your cam­era’s menu and since all set­tings are ‘locked in’ dur­ing cap­ture, ex­act set­tings must be de­cided on an im­age-spe­cific ba­sis.


Ready for print

With in-cam­era set­tings tai­lored for this spe­cific shot and pa­ram­e­ters pre-set for print, the ben­e­fits of JPEG

shoot­ing can be en­joyed with­out ma­jor qual­ity loss

In­set Lim­ited us­abil­ity

This im­age is un­der­ex­posed and an in­cor­rect white bal­ance has been se­lected. Since there aren’t many edit­ing op­tions later, the shot has lim­ited out­put vi­a­bil­ity


CHOOSE A PIC­TURE STYLE Dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers use vary­ing ter­mi­nol­ogy, but you can choose a style pre­set for your JPEG im­age. For this im­age we switched to Vivid to boost colour sat­u­ra­tion.

TAKE A TEST SHOT Since you need to be

about your set­tings now rather than in soft­ware, a test shot will help you as­sess the scene specifics and re­quire­ments for a pol­ished shot. Keep this for ref­er­ence.

LOCK YOUR EX­PO­SURE We need re­li­able ex­po­sure that is per­fected in-cam­era. Use your his­togram to avoid blown high­lights, then switch to Man­ual mode so your ex­po­sure won’t change.

CRE­ATE BE­SPOKE SET­TINGS De­pend­ing on your cam­era, there are of­ten op­tions for cus­tomis­ing the con­trast, sat­u­ra­tion and colour bal­ance of each pic­ture style. Fur­ther test shots will help find the cor­rect bal­ance.

CUS­TOMISE WHITE BAL­ANCE Use a white bal­ance pre­set for speed, such as Day­light or Shade, or al­ter­na­tively se­lect a spe­cific colour tem­per­a­ture for tai­lored tonal con­trol. Use Live View to mon­i­tor your changes.

NOISE RE­DUC­TION AND SHARP­EN­ING JPEG over­sharp­en­ing/noise re­duc­tion can’t be un­done, so se­lect these lev­els based on in­tended out­put – for print­ing more is needed than for web use.

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