Taking Control of Photography

When you start to take control of your camera, you'll find that there's slightly more to color than white balance. There are two other color concepts that you need to familiarise yourself with, those many picture styles or "Picture Controls even "Creative Styles" depending on the camera you own. You all know I'm a Fuji fan and there are some superb film effects you can set, deciding on the particular shot 

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These picture styles as the name suggests are preprogrammed treatments for your photographs, which give them a specific look and feel. Now you have to be aware that picture styles are not the same as the scene modes because the two often have similar names you'll probably have a Landscape Scene mode, as well as a Landscape picture style, and Portrait options for both as well. However, picture styles are not concerned about exposure, as Scene modes are. Instead, they are all about the "look" of your images. Lets say you are taking a portrait shot of a beautiful Bride then you need to set the portrait options in order for the camera to set the correct effect.

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Commonly encountered options are Standard, Neutral/ Natural, Vivid, Landscape, Portrait, and Monochrome. With the exception of Monochrome, each style offers a different blend of saturation, hue contrast, and sharpening.

When you call on a picture style, you re determining whether you want more or less colour intensity; a slight shift to make your images warmer or cooler; to have more or less contrast; and to what extent detail should be sharpened in-camera.

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As well as the defaults, most cameras will allow you to dip in and fine-tune the settings of each and there's usually an option to create custom styles as well, so if you're willing to put in the time and effort, picture styles can help you create an individual style, this of course is subjective, your chosen style may not please everyone so you do need to be careful about the effect you choose.

Because I shoot with Fuji cameras, there are many film types to choose however, some of these can over saturate the finished image therefor I'm very fussy when choosing a particular style, think about the photo, is it a landscape scene or portrait?

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So do keep it in mind, you might not want to get too carried away, the same applies with white balance, picture styles are really only important especially when shooting in the JPEG only format as its all about how the image is processed by the camera.

Remember if you shoot Raw, these settings can be altered when editing the exposures and reapplied on your computer if you use the software that came with your camera however if you use different Raw-conversion software, then you need to ensure the software incorporates the camera profiles to access picture styles.

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Most cameras come with a core set of styles, like those above, although picture styles can typically be edited in-camera. Picture styles can also be created using dedicated style-editing software however, this only applies if you shoot JPEGs; if you shoot Raw, you can create, save, and edit your own styles at the processing stage.

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I personally enjoy seeing the finished photo as it was when I took the image, there are many affects you can add, you just need to be careful and not get too carried away! I love natural images however I do absolutely love Black and white and will select certain wedding photos for this beautiful option, Black and white is superb in bringing out the mood and sharpness of the image, I do use this effect when processing my wedding photos for my clients, everyone love a b&w photo!

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So look for those photo styles on your camera and see what effect you like, remember practice makes perfect, well one day maybe!

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