Tag: Adobe

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software.

 Advantages to processing and developing your photos in the digital darkroom.

In today’s world, everything has to be instantaneous, there’s an app for everything, from monitoring your sleep to counting your calories.  We live in an instant world.

So, when it comes to Digital Camera Photo Editing SoftwareWhy?” I hear you say, would I want to bother when my camera or smartphone can take images which can be uploaded within a few seconds of being taken?

Using the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, having the capabilities to post process my images to create what I have visualised is priceless.  This is one of many reasons that I choose to use digital camera photo editing software.

As covered in my previous article (Click here for more information) most D-SLR cameras have the capacity to capture images in RAW mode which cannot be uploaded to your social media account but has the maximum amount of information in a digital photo for quality images.

This is where Digital Camera Photo Editing Software comes in.

This article is not intended to review photo editing software but instead, to help you grow your creativity as a photographer.  Everyone has their own opinion as to which is the best software, so I will leave that down to you to find what suits your needs.

A little bit of background information first of all.

In 2007, for my birthday I was lucky enough to receive a D-SLR in the form of my trusty Olympus E400.  I was a newcomer to digital photography, quite happily working in auto mode and snapping all of my photos as JPEG files.  As my confidence with the camera grew, I found that I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the images I was producing.

The Photography Institute provide a fantastic online course, covering every aspect of digital photography which was exactly what I was looking for.  So I signed up and over the following 8 months, completed the 12 modules and received my Diploma in recognition of my progress.

As a part of this course, you are expected to work with photo processing software.  Possessing a very early version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, I was armed and ready…or so I thought!

The first stumbling blocks appeared when asked to perform certain tasks as a part of the course – I couldn’t follow what was expected of me, or it took a lot longer and was a frustrating time.  I contacted my tutor and it became apparent how much had changed from Elements to Elements 8, which was the current software at that time.  Oops!

A swift purchase from Amazon rectified this and the rest, as they say, is history.  I was able to complete the course and realised that my idea of getting perfect images straight out of the camera was perhaps, too idealistic, being limited also by the presets that the manufacturers deem to be the benchmark for photos.

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software

Part of this course touched on Digital Camera Photo Editing Software and the importance of the digital darkroom as an introduction as there are numerous stand-alone courses offered by multiple different providers which delve much further into this.

To get the best quality image, it is highly recommended first of all to take your photos in Camera RAW.  From this, you are then able to import these into the computer and open using the digital camera photo editing software.

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop on Apple iMac

Personally, I use Adobe CS6,   Within CS6 there are a host of programs which include Photoshop and Lightroom.   This was the final edition that you could buy to install onto your home computer before Adobe launched their Creative Cloud system.

Whilst I see the advantages of this for portability and saving space on your hard drive, I also see the disadvantages, which if anything happened to Adobe’s server which hosts your files, could be catastrophic.  If you use cloud storage of any sort, it is worth backing up your cloud files locally to a storage device just in case.

Workflow

With digital camera photo editing software, you now need to establish your workflow routine to create shortcuts or presets to help you maximise your efficiency without impeding on your creativity.  There are many suggested ideas on the web, you will find your own workflow method as you gain confidence with your digital camera photo processing software.

Digital Camera Photo Processing Software
Opening RAW file with Photoshop (.ORF file extension)

The first part of your workflow will be to import your RAW files into your digital camera photo editing software.  From here you have the capacity to make many adjustments, to increase or decrease the exposure, adjust the clarity, crop, straighten and pull detail from the shadows.

As shown in the image below of Alfie, our cat, his eyes are not very well lit, there are a lot of shadows and dark areas present within this image which can be altered within my digital camera photo editing software.

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software
Adjustment sliders within the Editor mode.

And now the fun begins!

You can also apply a vignette, create an atmospheric black and white image, add noise/grain, create a masterpiece by adding layers, take multiple photos of a scene and by stitching them together turn them into a panoramic view.

For portrait photos, you can perform dodge and burn techniques to give greater depth to an image, or if you have used the flash in your photo, you can then remove the red eye effect.  The potential for creativity is limited only by your imagination and vision.

Adjusting the shadows, increasing the clarity and adjusting the exposure value slightly has lifted the image of Alfie.  Post editing, I have then selected the create Black and White image option as you can see in the screenshot below.

Alfie, post editing and converted to a black and white image.

Once you have finished your editing, personally I would recommend that you save the open files twice.  The first copies will be TIF files, the next will be in JPEG format.  A TIF file is too high a quality for uploading onto the internet but if you are turning your hobby into a business, are of the resolution that you would show to prospective clients within your portfolio.  The JPEG files can then be showcased on the internet.  Don’t forget to add a watermark with copyright information onto the JPEG files to protect your work.

It is worth mentioning here that a lot of camera manufacturers produce their own digital camera photo editing software which is included with the purchase of your camera.  Olympus, for example, supplied their Olympus Master Software with my E400 camera.  I have to confess that my experience with this was limited, having Adobe Photoshop Elements initially, progressing onto my current software within CS6.

There are numerous digital camera photo editing software programs freely available to download from the Internet.  Gimp is one which comes highly recommended, although again I have no experience of, I know people who have worked with this and are completely satisfied with this program.

Photo editing can be fun, relaxing and gives you something to do on a rainy afternoon.  If you ensure that you do not overwrite your original RAW files, you are able to revisit the same photo many times over, applying different editing techniques and effects, which is also a great benchmark to show you how your skills have improved.  It is also a great way of reviewing your work which will help you to improve as a photographer in the future.

For anyone using a mobile phone to take their photos, there are fun apps such as Snapchat which put a twist on the photo, but if you are looking for a more serious effect, Adobe Lightroom is currently available as a free download for mobile devices which I use on my Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini and am very happy with the results.

With the use of digital camera photo editing software, you may then feel inspired to make some money from your hobby by becoming a freelance photographer, having your first image published is a wonderful feeling.

Digital Camera Photo Editing Software
The finished image with copyright applied as a watermark.

Please feel free to comment on what experiences you have with photo editing and I hope that you have enjoyed reading my article on Digital Camera Photo Editing Software.

 

RAW v JPEG Myth

RAW v JPEG Myth?

RAW v JPEG Myth or fact?

This is a contentious subject within the realm of digital photography, what type of file format should you take your photos in?  RAW v JPEG Myth or fact?

I’m not here to lecture you, only to explain the differences in these two types of file format.  The right choice is what works best for you.

Expanding on the RAW v JPEG Myth

Most D-SLR’s have the option to change the mode that the images are saved as within the camera.  The default factory setting is likely to be JPEG.  This is an excellent choice for someone who is new to photography, to enable them to get used to other settings and controls on their camera.

The file extension JPEG derives its name from the Joint Photographic Expert Group as a standard for images.  Full details can be found here for those of you interested in the background and technical information; it would be pure plagiarism for me to go in-depth to that degree.

However, to summarise the information on Wikipedia, JPEG files are flexible, you can determine what quality you wish to save your file as, which in turn determines the size of the file in storage terms.

This is illustrated in the photos above, the image on the left showing you how many photos I can store on my E400 using the lowest quality JPEG file, the one on the right, the highest quality RAW file.  This is using a 16Gb CF Card, the largest that my trusty E400 can handle.

However, as you have probably worked out, lower quality files take less space but have a lower quality or resolution.  Whilst this is ok for social media and websites, if you were looking to be a professional photographer selling your images, you would want better resolution.

RAW v JPEG Myth

If you put your camera into RAW mode, the first thing you will notice is just how few images you can save onto your memory card compared to JPEG.  However, the file size has increased dramatically.

The reason for this is that in RAW mode the camera captures everything to the highest possible degree.  Typically on my E400, each RAW file is between 8 and 10Mb!  That’s a lot of pixels and data.

Sounds great?  The major drawback with a RAW file is that it is too large to upload onto the internet in its native state.  A lot of websites will not recognise a RAW file either.  So what do you do?

I would take a step back to the days of the SLR camera as discussed here and think laterally – a RAW file is like 35mm film – this film required processing in the darkroom to produce first the negatives, then the prints.

A RAW file needs to be ‘developed’ in the digital darkroom into a usable file format.  I use Adobe CS6 which has Photoshop and Lightroom within the package, however, there are many different software options out there, including bespoke software which comes with your camera and those which are available freely or at a lower price than Adobe.  CS6 has been superseded by the Creative Cloud plan, not something I am a fan of, to be honest.

RAW v JPEG Myth

Within Photoshop I can then make many adjustments to my RAW file to create my final image.  This can be simply a process of opening the RAW file and then saving a copy as a low-resolution JPEG with no edits, or applying the sharpening tool, desaturating the colour to create a ‘black and white’ image or applying a vignette.

These edits are partially possible with a JPEG file, however, you are starting with a file which doesn’t have as much basic information as a RAW file.  The professional photographer will then save 2 versions of the edited file, as a TIF and JPEG.  The TIF file is a quality between JPEG and RAW and is a format understood by most programs.

A RAW file will take longer to save to the memory card within your camera than a JPEG, due to the size of data being written to the card.

Another downside to RAW files is that because this file type (e.g. Olympus are .ORF) cannot be read unless you have the codec or photo editing software, you cannot upload onto social media sites directly from the camera, (a lot of modern DSLRs have built in WiFi and can upload instantly) you have to do the processing as described above, which in today’s instant society, is a huge drawback.

RAW v JPEG Myth

However, as illustrated above, most DSLRs have the option to save both the RAW file and a JPEG file simultaneously, the JPEG file can be ready for immediate upload onto the web, the RAW file can be processed in the digital darkroom.  But this does restrict the number of images as you can see.

Personally, I always shoot in RAW, then edit my photos.  I find this therapeutic and a great way to reflect on my work.  I find flaws that weren’t immediately obvious and can be more critical of my work rather than being caught up in the moment.  I can then also revisit my RAW files and apply different processing methods, to create fresh images.

RAW v JPEG Myth?

Hopefully, I haven’t lectured you too much and you will take your camera out to try shooting images in RAW to then see for yourself which you prefer.   Do you feel that the RAW v JPEG myth is still contentious?

Happy clicking!

Kaz 🙂