Set up your cam­era

Find out how your cam­era’s ex­po­sure and set­tings will af­fect the colour in your shots

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Prep­ping your cam­era is the first step in any suc­cess­ful shoot, so we’ll start by ex­plor­ing cam­era set­tings. Firstly, make sure you’re shoot­ing in RAW mode so that the white bal­ance and tones can be tweaked eas­ily later on at the edit­ing stage. If you want to get out of Auto White Bal­ance mode, set your cam­era to match the light source fall­ing on your sub­ject. For ex­am­ple, Day­light suits out­door scenes un­der clear skies, whereas Tung­sten is de­signed for in­door scenes un­der in­can­des­cent light­ing. Set­ting a cus­tom white bal­ance us­ing a grey card will give you read­ings with even greater ac­cu­racy.

Ex­po­sure de­ter­mines how light or dark an im­age ap­pears, but also af­fects what and how colours are recorded. Ev­ery cam­era has a spe­cific dy­namic range it’s able to cap­ture, and if a tone fall out­side of this be­cause of in­cor­rect ex­po­sure, it’ll ap­pear as white or black. Say for ex­am­ple you wanted to record the rich red of a vel­vet dress in a shad­owed room, you’d need to in­crease the ex­po­sure so that the red tone was recorded ac­cu­rately, rather than as a dark brown. Put sim­ply, con­sider what colours are im­por­tant to the scene, and al­ter your ex­po­sure ac­cord­ingly.

Check the RGB his­tograms of your images when reviewing them, to make sure the most im­por­tant colours haven’t been clipped.

The Bright­ness his­togram com­bines the bright­ness of all three colour chan­nels rolled into one, whereas the RGB ver­sion shows you the val­ues for each in­di­vid­ual chan­nel, so you can dis­cover any po­ten­tial prob­lems with colour sat­u­ra­tion.

Scene modes or fil­ters are no longer a gim­mick re­served just for en­try-level cam­eras. Even high-end DSLRs, the re­cent Canon EOS 6D Mark II in­cluded, have modes such as Food that work to en­hance cer­tain colours and tones in an im­age.

Pic­ture styles are an­other way to change the way your cam­era ‘sees’ colour. The Stan­dard pic­ture style is an all-pur­pose mode that pro­duces the colours and con­trast lev­els for gen­eral pho­to­graphic sub­jects. As a more spe­cific ex­am­ple, the Land­scape pic­ture style changes the colours; blues should be­come more vivid and deep, and greens will ap­pear more vivid and bright. Most DSLRs will en­able you to set your own cus­tom pic­ture style, so that you can al­ter the sat­u­ra­tion and con­trast lev­els man­u­ally.

Right PIC­TURE STYLES Mel sin­clair (MELSINCLAIR.COM.AU) used her DsLR’s stan­dard scene mode to cap­ture this vi­brant land­scape. While a stan­dard style suits a broad ar­ray of sub­jects for easy edit­ing, a vivid pic­ture con­trol em­pha­sises pri­mary colours

Be­low WHITE BAL­ANCE here, pho­tog­ra­pher he­s­ham Al­hu­maid (500PX.COM/ HESH4M) used eval­u­a­tive me­ter­ing mode and Auto White Bal­ance to ac­cu­rately cap­ture the three pri­mary colours of the com­po­si­tion

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