Brightness/Contrast

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Lyncca, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Hi! I am newer than a noob here and this is my first post!

    I have had point and shoot cameras for years, but this year for Christmas, my hubby got me a Nikon D70S that I am already in love with. I have mostly been playing with the auto-settings to get familiar with all the buttons and settings, but now I am ready to get more adventurous. My photo quality has already improved about 200%...

    One thing I notice though, is that in my photos, I can get the details really sharp, but that they can come out kinda lifeless if that makes any sense. I can adjust this in Photoshop by playing with the brightness/contrast settings, but I would like to know what I can do to get a better original picture.

    Keep in mind that I am new to all this, and that a lot of these posts I have been reading might as well be in Greek. (I'm also in search of advice for some good books or online sources that explains all the photography vocabulary!)

    Thanks for the help :)
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    the settings on your camera can help...I'm not sure what it's called in the Nikon menu, but it's "parameter" in Canon's menu. Basically it changes how the jpeg is saved.

    I find it a little weak, so I just use photoshop later.

    Everyone knows what you're talking about though...that's always been a "problem" with digital.

    If you want a great book to read that explains aperture, shutter speed, and ISO...get Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.
     
  3. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I will check the book out :)

    Is it also due to the fact that I am using an on-camera flash? I saw this on another post critique: "This is lit the way an on-camera flash would make it - no modelling on the face and dark peripheral shadows." They seemed to have the same problems I am seeing in my own photos.
     
  4. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour TPF Noob!

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    From my personal experiences (if you are using the on camera flash?) That is your problem. "B4 anyone here jumps down my throat" this is my opinion. The on camera flash is almost useless. When I first got my 1st Dslr my pics were hideous!!! I spent about 2 weeks adjusting and adjusting but yet my pics were awful! Even using a diffuser(which did make a big difference) Then I found out my speed flash from my film camera worked on my camera. Day and Night!! i would say first go outside on a nice sunnyish day and see if your pics still look the same. if they improve? You know its a lighting issue rather than a contrast adjustment. then until you can afford a speed light you can either make a diffuser or buy one Gary Fong makes a pop up flash diffuser (I LOVE HIS DIFFUSERS) Link to it here
    best of luck 2 u Hope this helped a little?
     
  5. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    One of the most important things in digital photography is to make sure your screen is calibrated properly. Without that, it's tough to know if it's your photos themselves are off or if it's just your screen. You'd be surprised... ColorVision Spyder is something to check out, or if you have a Mac, there's monitor calibration tools built right into the operating system. Learning how to read the RGB histogram and what it's telling you can be a big help too.

    As far as on-camera adjustments, if your photos are lacking contrast you could try taking contrast ("tone compensation") out of auto mode and setting it higher +1 or +2 or whatever works, but keep in mind that if you suddenly point the camera at a much more contrasty scene that you'll blow the photo out, so you'd need to remember to adjust it back down, or vice versa. (It might not be apparent from looking at the image review on the LCD, but you can tell if you're blowing the contrast on a shot easier from looking at the RGB historgram which the D70s will display, which is yet another reason to learn how to read histograms if you don't know how already). I prefer to just leave my contrast in auto mode and adjust if I need to later. In the Auto modes in the shooting menu, Nikon DSLRs give you nice workable JPGs straight off the camera. I don't bother, but if you really want to tweak your photos more heavily and play with settings, you could try shooting RAW and see if you like it. RAW is just the "raw" sensor data that can be put into a file. The camera's on-board hardware processes the RAW data based on your settings into a nice compact JPG and then discards all of the unneeded data from the RAW file unless you say you want to keep it (can shoot either RAW only, JPG only, or RAW+JPG). Probably 5-6 MB for each RAW file on the D70s vs a 1.5 MB JPG. If you plan to heavily tweak, the extra data from the RAW might be useful, although you can still do a lot of the same processing to the JPGs and it'll look just fine for the most part.

    If you post some examples, we could help guide you a little more...
     

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