Canon "Picture Styles"


TPF Noob!
Apr 22, 2013
Reaction score
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Which one should a person use who mostly does glamour/alternative model shoots using natural light, or at times a flash/softbox combination?
In an effort to avoid answers that say things like "this depends... it's subjective... there is no right or wrong answer," pretend there is a gun to your head and you simply MUST pick one. Which would YOU pick? :wink:

I just watched a video where a pro advocates using "faithful" all the time because all values are set to zero which according to him will produce the most natural image. Plus you can later play with all the values using Photoshop etc.

"Neutral" also has all values set to zero so... what could possibly be the difference between neutral and faithful?
I believe it's this but refer to canon user manual for confirmation.

Neutral: For natural colors and subdued images. This Picture Style assumes that you will do post-processing with a personal computer.
Faithful: The image is dull and subdued. When the subject is captured under a color temperature of 5200K, the color is adjusted colorimetrically to match the subject's color. This Picture Style assumes that you will do post-processing with a personal computer.
They are certainly right about the post-processing assumption, pictures taken in either style are very bland and soft.
Yeah, being that I do a lot of walk-around JPEG shooting, I’ve been meaning to learn more about how to take advantage of those canned “styles”, but they’ve always struck me as kind of auto-voodoo-ish, which I don’t like. So, I usually just set my camera to neutral and what happens, happens. For JPEG, in most situations, this seems to provide a nice, slightly-undercooked result that responds well to small tweaks like curves adjustments and such.

If I’m taking the time to set up a particular “keeper” shot—a nice portrait, for instance—I’ll just shoot in RAW and make my own “style” based on whatever looks best to my eye.
Picture styles don't mean anything...if you shoot RAW.


When I process a raw file from my 5Dmkii the end result is always superior to the output from any of the DIGIC processor's picture styles. I prefer superior.

Picture styles don't mean anything...if you shoot RAW.

Even if I shoot in RAW, the option is available to choose one of these styles before taking a shot. So are you saying it's ignored in RAW? Most of the time when a setting isn't available in a particular mode the setting just isn't there, or it says not available in x mode.
It would change how the image looks on the LCD screen, because you can't actually see raw images...just an embedded jpeg preview.
It may also change the 'as shot' settings that are imported along with the raw file.

But the things that are controlled by picture styles; color, contrast, saturation, sharpening etc. Those things are not cooked into raw images, and are thus easy to change during the raw processing stage.

And in programs like Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, you can choose from the various picture styles (or very similar options).
Faithful looks pretty good when processed by DPP. I am not sure why Canon calls it "Faithful"...I think it is not faithful, but better-than-reality.

In my experience, their "Faithful" picture style looks good when shot with studio flash units that have uncoated flashtubes, which are about 500 degrees Kelvin cooler than many newer coated flashtubes.

If you want to shoot RAW + JPEG with a Canon, and make nice JPEGs right off the card for immediate viewing, you should probably actually pick a picture style, or set the camera up with the right tone curve, sharpening level, and degree of saturation, plus color space.

SHooting studio flash often involves making hundreds of images that need to be evaluated properly, and actually shooting the images so that the out of camera images have the right degree of contrast, decent color, and some sharpening is very helpful. It's entirely different than shooting 100 walkabout images in order to be able to find one decent RAW file to process. That's part of the reason that camera have adjustment capabilities. There are many workflows, and when you shoot studio flash with uncoated flashtubes, "Faithful" looks gorgeous.

This is part of the reason that Nikon had to create their "D2x Color Modes" for the D3 series cameras; there are some manufacturer-created color "looks" that are very technically sophisticated. people loved the color look of the D2x so much that by popular demand, the camera maker decided to mimic a very specific mix of adjustments for an entire second series of three professional cameras. see
Last edited:

Most reactions