Picture Control?


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Apr 1, 2013
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New Zealand
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Forgive me if this has been covered before BUT I have only just discovered "picture control" on my d7000. I do portraiture, should I have it on portrait mode for best/better results? or leave it on Standard? What do you do? Does it really make a difference?

Picture controls only have an effect if you're shooting .jpg (You're not right? Please say you're not - failure to say so will result in 20 lashes with a wet cable release!) / green box mode. I would strongly recommend AGAINST using them as long as you have a basic understanding of the exposure triangle and the effect each leg has on the image and can make your own decisions about saturation, hue, etc.
When you shoot raw, the file from the camera requires processing (with software). When you process it, you can apply adjustments...things like saturation, sharpness, white balance, contrast etc. The benefit is that you have a great deal of control over the process. One the downside, you have to actually do it.

When you shoot Jpeg, the camera processes the raw file, which means that it applies things like saturation, white balance etc. This is where those picture controls come in. They allow you some (albeit limited) control over how the camera processes the image. The downside is the limited control but the benefit is that you don't have to process the raw file.
hahaha I shoot RAW AND JPG .... picture control back to 'Standard' I assume that is the equivalent to 'No picture mode' ???
Yes, if you have Lightroom and shoot in RAW, you can see how each one effects the photo. In the Develop tab, scroll all the way down to Camera profile on the right and hit the down tab. It will list view your camera profiles and you can select, Portrait, Landscape etc and see the changes. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it throws colors out of whack.
Here is Nikon's basic page on picture controls. Picture Controls Step-by-Step from Nikon Photography Tips Techniques and Tutorials | Nikon Learn and Explore

As Nikon's page states: "With Portrait, you can adjust sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue (coloration) individually. Quick Adjust enables easy, balanced adjustment."

"Quick Adjust

Quick Adjust makes it easy to achieve well-balanced adjustments.
 With sharpening, contrast, and saturation, five levels of modification (-2 to +5) are applied automatically. Increasing a value on the plus side strengthens the characteristics of each Picture Control while movement on the minus side lessens the effect.
 Moreover, after using Quick Adjust, you can carry out finer, more detailed modifications to each item to suit your particular preferences and get the exact results you require."

One of the things that applying in-camera sharpening does is it makes evaluating the jPEG images much easier as far as spotting missed focus, or the difference between DEAD-on focusing, and just-so-slightly-off focus.

When you shoot a lot of volume, using the camera-generated JPEG files can tremendously speed up the editing process, by being able to view the JPEGS seen LARGE. The key is to shoot the in-camera JPEG files to a size that YOUR monitor can display at 100 percent--and NOT re-sized!!! This is important. Many times-re-sized images look "off". I suggest cranking the in-camera sharpening up to a fairly high level, so that the SOOC JPEGS are ready for on-screen evaluation with a really fast killfile/keep slide show viewing where the bad shots are IMMEDIATELY removed, and zero time wasted on those.

RAW + JPEG shooting in the B&W mode is a good time to actually set up a custom image set (Picture Style, or whatever your camera's manufacturer calls it), adjusting the sharpening, compression level, image size, and tone curve, so that the SOOC B&W JPEG files are actually useful. You can dick around later in RAW mode to your heart's content, but if you're going to shoot RAW + JPEG, you might as well do it right, and actually take a stand, make a commitment, and do it right, not half-assedly. That goes double if you're going to try and light and pose and shoot for B&W. In Canon, you have image toning, such as sepia, as well as filter effect parameters, and those make a big difference too.​
Keep reading. There is lots and lots and LOTS of stuff in this forum that will help you become an excellent photographer. WORD OF CAUTION: This can get really expensive..... Good luck in your quest for the perfect photo. It doesn't exist. Oh, and the secret? It's ALL about light.... :)

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