Using your camera intelligently

Personally, I am not a fan of telling people that they should be shooting in one camera mode or another! I think the most important thing that you can do, is to learn to use all of your camera features intelligently.

All of your camera modes are there to help you have some control over your camera’s settings and exposure. I am advocate of using exposure compensation though, and using manual mode with spot metering.

Why? Because I want to optimise my exposure to ensure that I have a RAW file that is properly exposed for my needs. The image below looks very underexposed. It was underexposed to ensure that I captured all of the detail in the sky.

Original RAW file – No Post Processing Corrections

Below are the camera settings I used to take the shot. As you can see, I underexposed this image by -0.33 EV. My camera’s meter was already underexposing the shot due to the bright sky, hence, the dark image.

Once I was back home I uploaded my images and used DxO Photolab to make some RAW file corrections.

DxO Photlab is my default RAW file editor. Using DxO Photlab your images are assessed and automatically corrected for the following;

If the default corrections are not quite doing it, you can make further manual adjustments to your image.

DxO Photlab Corrected and Adjusted RAW file

My RAW file was not quite right for my needs after DxO’s auto corrections so I applied the following corrections manually to get a balanced RAW file.

DxO Photolab manual adjustments

I could have continued to improve colour, tone, contrast, sharpness etc using DxO photolab but I prefer to run my corrected RAW files through Perfectly Clear Complete.

Perfectly Clear Complete

Perfectly Clear Complete uses Artificial Intelligence to analyse photos pixel by pixel and make corrections that enhance your images based on how the human eye perceives colour and photo corrections. Al with no input from the photographer.

Working this way allows me to quickly adjust my RAW files and maximise the data in my RAW file to create colourful images without having to spend lots of time adjusting and tweaking sliders.

The key point here though is that when out with your camera, you should always be thinking about

  • How you are going to use the final image
  • What is the best aperture / shutter combination to use?
  • What shooting mode will help you achieve this?
  • How do you balance out your ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed to optimise your exposure and get the best quality RAW file?
  • How much exposure compensation do you need to apply (keep an eye on your histogram)

Using your camera intelligently means learning to make use of all of your camera’s functions and features. Don’t get hung up on people telling you that you should be using this shooting mode or that shooting mode. All of your camera’s modes can be useful.

You can get a trial copy of DxO Photlab here

You can also try Perfectly Clear Complete here

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