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Thread: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?


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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Interesting, indeed. In the end, what satisfies the purist sense of what is technically correct, may not satisfy either the photographer or the viewer.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Straight out of the camera -- how'd I do?

    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Wel Colin,
    This guy holding the colour patch is attracting to much attention.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    I think you sort of reinforced Mark Wallace's argument. When I looked your image in PS the black in the color picker showed R-237, G-237, B-235 and the white showed R-53, G-49, B-50

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poaceae View Post
    I think you sort of reinforced Mark Wallace's argument. When I looked your image in PS the black in the color picker showed R-237, G-237, B-235 and the white showed R-53, G-49, B-50
    Other way around, but no, I don't really disagree with Mark on the need for PP. You'll find that you don't always want blacks at 10 though ... you try raising the black clipping point so that the blacks in my example drop to 10 ... I think you'll find it absolutely murders the image. The whites (background) are at 255 though (different light zone to the subject).

    These were a series of staff photos - and they were passed through to the client with ZERO levels adjustments (only a bit of sharpening). I think they're a good example of how technically correct and visually correct aren't always the same.

    To see how they looked as part of the finished product, look here. Incidentlly, the shoot - pre-production - selects - post-production - delivery was done in a total of about 90 minutes ... definately a good example of "the closer one gets it in camera, the less time one wastes in post-production".
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th March 2012 at 12:29 AM.

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    I don't think it is Richard. When I started really trying to make great photos about a year and a half ago, I thought so, but nearly any image you see now is 'altered' in some way. Heck, even if you shoot .jpegs the camera is already processing them for you, you just don't have detailed control. I took some photos this week that I thought were pretty darn good, but they became better after a little post. Colin's comment is right on - closer to right in camera means less time in post! And if you are trying to make money making images, this is critical.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    I've been thinking about this ...

    I think I'd sum it up by saying "I think it's impossible to produce a photo in-camera that couldn't be improved in some way in post-processing" but having just said that, "I think it IS possible to produce a photo that's good-enough for some purposes" (I think my example above is probably a good one).

    Bottom line is "who really cares" though - the closer we get it to being right in-camera the less we have to do in post -- but we still have that option none-the-less. And since it's usually the photographer doing the processing then they have to assume full responsibility for how they feel about the time they invest in each phase of the production.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    In my opinion, there's a flaw in the video that should have been caught by Mark. I think the premise starts in the way the manufacturers electronic meter standards have been set and utilized. (Lambertian reflectance) Looking at the first test setup used it would of course be darker because there was more white than any other tone. The result is the camera meter drags it down to try to average the frame at 18%. Had there been a balance of tone his initial reading would have been closer to representing the spread. This test could have been set up to produce whatever result he wanted to present.

    I will go along with Mark on the basic premise that files from the camera require adjustment though. The lens, sensor filters, bayer array, quantizing, RAW compiling, software translation, etc, etc, all impart their own characteristics through the process. This might be a good point of discussion for those who comprehend the technical aspects of photography tools better than the right-brain creative side (like me) but I have to agree with Colin. Who really cares? And if some do, it's only theory. It doesn't matter in the practical world of photography. What temperature is Tungsten light? Take 10 indoor photos varying in the tungsten range of 2800K to 3700K and you to can get a measurable spread in the results. Same thing with the sun at different times of the day. I have always been able get a wider range of visible variances I wanted by selecting my film and paper to get the characteristics I was after. Portraits, ultra-high contrast B&W, landscapes, ultra-violet, types of developer, time, temperature, etc, all can create even more of a difference than Mark is showing. In this train of thought, my 2 cents says the only thing that really matter is consistency. Your ability to get what you expect out of your tools every time. What you do with it yourself after that is where the magic is.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 8th April 2012 at 10:21 PM.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    In my experience it would be extremely unlikely that an image straight out of the camera would ever be "good enough". I've yet to see an image that did not need cropping, contrast adjustment, exposure adjustment, colour adjustment, etc. In fact, I seem to remember this was also the case back in the darkroom days, whether colour or black & white.

    No, the output from your camera is just the starting point. Up until that point, you have a combination of what the engineering team that built your camera's capture and processing systems decided it should be. Once you have the image in your computer's image processing software, the human manipulating that software can turn the technically good image to a great image. Paraphrasing and updating Ansel Adams comment about the negative and the print, where he compared the negative to a music score, whereas the print made from the negative was the performance. I think the same is true in the digital age; your camera's output is the musical score. The output from Lightroom, Photoshop or any of the other pieces of photo editing software is the performance!

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    In my experience it would be extremely unlikely that an image straight out of the camera would ever be "good enough". I've yet to see an image that did not need cropping, contrast adjustment, exposure adjustment, colour adjustment, etc. In fact, I seem to remember this was also the case back in the darkroom days, whether colour or black & white.
    Hi Manfred,

    Take a look at my example above. It has no cropping - no contrast adjustment - no exposure adjustment - no colour adjustment. I've got 6 photos of other staff just like it (but without the colour chart) that could have been shipped directly to the client if I'd had the camera in JPEG mode (and set correctly).

    In reality - this project was completed with ZERO adjustments in ACR (I had to assign a profile - so I used a custom one - but it wouldn't have made a significant difference). In Photoshop sharpened them (could have been done in camera) - zapped a few blemishes - and "out the door they went". The website developer downsampled / cropped them for their website, but that was only an operation to make them fit their particular need (eg if the scope of the project had been to shoot for a bunch of 6 x 4's then I could easily have shot JPEG and gone straight to print).

    So I stand by my comment that it is possible to get a perfectly acceptable result without post-processing (and I might add that in practice I never do -- but it is possible).

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ...zapped a few blemishes...So I stand by my comment that it is possible to get a perfectly acceptable result without post-processing...
    Acceptable yes. You can achieve a very accurate capture of the 'real' image for sure, but who wants that?

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Colin, I think we may be saying the same thing. You said you didn't do anything other than a bit of sharpening and zapped a few blemishes. To me that is not "straight out of the camera", and really what I meant by suggesting straight out of the camera being "good enough" is extremely unlikely.

    A studio shot can get you close and I have shots that all I had to do was make corrections to dust and shadows on the seamless background. No matter how much time you spend getting things cleaned up those studio lights somehow always seem to show up something that you have to fix in post. I guess I spent too much time in a darkroom to ever believe a printed negative was going to give me a flawless result. By extension, I see similar issues in digital.
    Last edited by Manfred M; 9th April 2012 at 03:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Colin, I think we may be saying the same thing. You said you didn't do anything other than a bit of sharpening and zapped a few blemishes. To me that is not "straight out of the camera", and really what I meant by suggesting straight out of the camera being "good enough" is extremely unlikely.
    .
    Ah - but - if I'd shot jpeg (eww, 'orrible thought) then in-camera sharpening would have taken care of the sharpening - then all I'd have needed would have been a blemish-free model.

    I should stress that I'm talking theory only here - in reality the work I have to do in post is usually minimal, but that's the way I do it none the less.

    Perhaps a good way of putting it might be "Switch to PP when it takes more time and effort to get it better in camera than it does to tweak it in PP"?

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    It is possible to get a shot right in camera that needs no pp afterwards.

    A mate of mine does this all the time. He is a freelance photographer who has a small studio and part of his services is to offer small local businesses the ability to get professional product shots done at a very competitive rate - something they usually can't afford. To make this pay he has to get it right in camera or the time spent in Lightroom would wipe out his profits. He carries this ethos over to much of his other work. He started and still does work for various extreme sports publications. His speciality is BMX where you only get one chance to get a shot and it has to be right. He will set the shot up, light it with up to four speedlights on Pocket Wizards, make sure everything is right then asks the rider to do their stuff. For years he shot jpeg only and was a strong advocate of getting it right is better than making it right. He has had these jpegs published all over the world and never has he had a client ask if they were shot in RAW. I constantly argued against him doing this and would push him to start shooting NEF files as he would have greater control over the final image - he would always argue back with "So what is wrong with xxx shot then?" He had a point.

    He recently had a shoot for Inspired Bikes where they needed their 2012 range of bike photographed for their website and promotional needs. He asked me to assist because the only bikes in existence were the final samples before full production was started and we would have a very limited time in which to shoot and supply the images.

    The brief was fourteen bikes, three angles each plus close-up details with the shoot being done in less than two days and the images supplied the following day. Thats eighty plus images to be set up, taken and processed. A bit of brain storming and web searching came up with a plan to hang the bikes from the ceiling using fishing line. This would stop them casting shadows on the backdrop so no work would need to be done to remove it - a huge task. Careful control of the lighting would mean that the background would be perfectly white meaning less PP work and the bikes themselves could be set perfectly for zero PP work. The WB was set in camera after some very careful tweaking. Oddly we did a fair bit of PP work before the shoot got under way by importing test shots into Lightroom and then tweaking the setup so everything was perfect. If the only use had been the web then no PP work would have been needed - none at all. As some of the images were to be enlarged we had to clone out the odd bit of fishing line that showed against the bikes, it wasn't visible on 90% of the web sized images. It might have been possible to get this right in camera but as Colin said above 'switch to pp when its faster than in camera'


    These are all straight out of camera with only their size being altered for the web. As you can see the white-on-white bike shot which is a hard subject to sort is perfect - the coloured ones were a walk in the park.

    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Pre processing instead of post?
    Interesting.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Pre processing instead of post?
    Interesting.
    I think another word for it is "preparation"

    What I was blown away with though was the white floor and ceiling in the studio - man - I'd hate to try any stop the light bouncing around in there!

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    This reminds me of the people shooting film in my days in high school that tried to do the same thing in black & white. Printing the whole frame on No 3 paper and then trimming the print to size on a paper cutter. In my view, purely academic exercises to show that it could be done. Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.

    High key lighting shot in a studio gets great results. I'm pretty sure I spent a lot less time doing this shot than the other images that have been shown, and yes, I did run it through Photoshop. My guess is less than 10 minutes total time, which includes taking the shot and post-processing. I had been shooting something else and just threw my video camera in to see how will I would do with the fuzzy mic muff. Single studio light, white reflector on white seamless paper taken on a Nikon D90 with Nikkor f/2.8 70-200mm lens. The only reason I'm posting this is that all of the "out of the camera" shots that have been posted here are high key.



    Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?
    Last edited by Manfred M; 9th April 2012 at 05:18 PM.

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    What I was blown away with though was the white floor and ceiling in the studio - man - I'd hate to try any stop the light bouncing around in there!
    I agree, but it looks like he has a 'white half' and a 'black half' to the studio and must shoot in the appropriate half for the result needed.

    Thanks for sharing Robin.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Getting it right in the camera - is it enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I agree, but it looks like he has a 'white half' and a 'black half' to the studio and must shoot in the appropriate half for the result needed.
    Could be - although I find that light tends to bounce off pretty much any white surface that's close.

    I created mine with a black ceiling - grey floor - and white walls ... but I have black pull-around curtains (so it's not like stepping out of a spaceship on the dark side of the moon when one walks in all the time).

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