Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Straight outta camera.}

I am a person of process. Creature of habit. I am methodical. To a degree. I like some asymmetry in the way I do things every now and then. I am not a symmetrical person in general, but my methods are pretty consistent... in how I shoot. How I edit.

And that's a good thing. It's an important thing in doing this as full time career - to be able to produce consistent results.

But, I always shoot RAW. I always use Lightroom {LR}. Then a little Photoshop {PS} if the particular photo needs it. My photos run a little warmer on the white balance. Lots of routines that are pretty much standard.

Today I learned something new.

I'm in a group of local photographers in Northern Indiana, we have a Facebook group/page. Every week there is a photo challenge. This week a fellow member suggested we shoot the image AND post it SOOC. {Straight out of camera} Another member suggested using different picture styles in camera to add to the image IN camera.

The whole idea was - what can you do with the image IN CAMERA without editing it. Without cropping it. Shifting it. No doing anything in LR or PS, no nada. All in camera magic.

IEditing is a huge part of my personal style. But what if there were no LR or PS? What if you were able to achieve specific tones and moods in your photos IN camera - without them even touching LR or PS, actions, presets? No adjustments.

Just exploration, no new methodology here. 

For me personally, I will never give up either LR or PS. Correctly call me a former graphic designer, but I need more than a camera. I need my savvy Mac and some software to feel complete. :) I have been friends with PS for over 14 years, I am not deserting her now. We will always be close, her and I.

Why do I refer to Photoshop as a "she"? Simple. The word SHOP! Duh!

So to cut to the chase... another photographer introduced me to Kevin Wang's {in camera} picture styles. You can find him on Flickr® here.

I purchased two. {Magazine & Japanese} He speaks a lot on his Flickr® page about using color temperature in addition to the picture styles to achieve the looks he gets SOOC. So in essence, it's not like you just upload the pf2 file to your camera via EOS utility and BAM! You have to also keep white balance in mind and alter that as well - they collaborate. He didn't really give specific instructions on what formulas he used so I just played with white balance and his settings.

But by adjusting things like contrast, sharpness, color tone and saturation IN camera - also adjusting white balance and color temperature and then finally, shooting JPG... you are able to get a much more creative SOOC shot than had you just flipped it to manual on AWB with no adjustment to color temperature. Sure you can fix it later in PS or LR, but what if your challenge for the week was to post it  SOOC!? Eek.

For a girl who #1 never shoots JPG, and #2 doesn't mess with White Balance {I keep it on AWB almost always! This was a stretch. But, I realized that by saving these settings to a custom mode - {heck I saved three different custom modes!} One can achieve a slight bit of altering in camera and save time on the editing backend. And for something different, it works.

Can I forever shoot and be done entirely at the SOOC train stop? No way. I will {like I said} never give up PS or LR. But, will I use this around the house for my own personal photos and such? Heck yeah.

I spent a few hours messing with and researching in-camera settings. Toggling around and changing this and that. Spent $20 total for two pf2 files and a quick response from Kevin Wang and in the end... I'm just smiling that I learned something new. And I'm so glad I dove into it when I was intrigued. Otherwise it'd be a notion I'd relish the thought of eventually exploring, but never actually getting to.

I don't want to just be stuck in habits.

All of this photographer-schmographer talk may bore you. So I'll let you look at some pictures. I like pictures over words myself. And for any photographers who think me light years behind, I apologize that I am just getting the capabilities of white balance alterations.  I hope there are many more days I am learning something new that rocks my boat a little.

All of the photos below are SOOC.

3 panels: Left RAW SOOC, just converted to JPG & sized for web. Middle & Right: JPG, SOOC - all image altering done within camera by changing picture style

These two photo collages of 6 photos of this column all shot JPG, SOOC. These were all variations within camera of white balance shift and color temperature. Also variations of contrast, color tone, saturation and sharpness applied.

Top left image shot JPG, SOOC Manual, Portrait picture style, AWB. Other three SOOC with in-camera alterations.

Top left image shot JPG, SOOC Manual, Portrait picture style, AWB. Other three SOOC with in-camera alterations.

So clearly I have some tweaking to do on these just a bit, for for example sake - it's pretty cool that all of these photos are SOOC and NO editing done to any of them - yet they all look different.