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Posts Tagged ‘imaging’

The key to making portraits that capture the “real” person is to make that person relaxed during the portrait session. This is the reason why most candid portraits trump those taken with elaborate studio lighting setups. Candid expressions have a certain “realness” that’s hard to capture in a studio or location shoot filled with lights and assistants. You’ve gotta relax your subject in order for magic to happen.
I’ve found that the easiest and best way to do this is to mount your camera on a tripod, use a cable release or, as they’re called in the digital age, electronic camera release, and get out from behind the camera. Doing this allows you to carry on a conversation with your subject without having a camera partially blocking your face. Casually standing beside the camera with release in hand allows you to chat, joke and interact in a way that’s less strained will allowing you to fire off a shot when your subject is relaxed and has forgotten that you’ve got a camera aimed at her. This connection with the person you’re shooting makes all the difference. 
Case in point is this photo of my daughter Erin. Yeah, she’s cute. She hates having her photo taken — especially by her Dad! During past photo shoots, she would get stressed by all the gear and attention, I’d get stressed and the photos would suffer accordingly. This time I locked my camera down on a tripod and used the technique described above. The result was a much more enjoyable shoot for both of us… and this beautiful photo. 

 

Erin relaxed

Erin relaxed

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Cameras come from the factory with a number of preferences set by the factory to, they feel, insure that your first photo forays will be successful ones. Not being satisfied with these “vanilla” settings on my camera, I’ve discovered that a little tweaking here and there is the key to getting the most out of your camera. The first setting to tweak is color space. Most cameras come with their imaging chips set to sRGB. This provides a color range (AKA color space) designed to look best when viewed on a standard computer monitor. If you plan to show your work off over the Internet (that’s what this setting was originally made for), sRGB is the setting you should probably use. Since most digital photography ends up on a computer screen, this is the color space to use, right?

Wrong, Obi-Wan, there is another…..color space.

I use the Adobe RGB color space on my cameras. I find this color space offers a wider range of colors — especially in the cyan and green range. This wider range makes your photos look more saturated and have more snap when printed. Adobe RGB is the printer’s color space. It has been tweaked to give best results in the color printing process.

Try this test: shoot a couple frames of a colorful scene with your camera set to sRGB. Shoot the same scene using Adobe RGB. Bring them up side by side in Photoshop (or whatever you’re using) and compare. I think you’ll see what I mean. The difference is significant. Adobe RGB colors are more vibrant. This never made sense to me. After all, wasn’t sRGB designed to make your work look great on a monitor?!?!

So how do you make images that will play nice in both worlds? Simple. Shoot everything using Adobe RGB (the larger color space, remember?) and convert anything destined to appear on the internet to sRGB before uploading. The conversion will throw away some of the data saved in the Adobe RGB color space but that won’t be a problem if you keep a copy of the original, Adobe RGB, file. Right?

Try my little experiment and choose the color space that best suits your needs. I want to capture as many colors in my world as possible….

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