Tuesday, May 29, 2007


By using the inherent capabilities in your image-processing software, you can work efficiently and exercise greater control over all of your images.

3 Converting your JPEG and TIFF files to RAW. Some software offers the ability to save a JPEG and TIFF as a RAW file. For example, Nikon Capture can save a JPEG or TIFF as a NEF file. One of the major benefits of using a RAW file is the ability to modify the image's instruction set without ever changing the original image's original data. The benefit is that you can instantly return to the original image's characteristics as they were when you made the picture. This is based on the integrated image data and the instruction set. If you use JPEG (and/or TIFF) files, each time you save as a JPEG, you're reapplying the JPEG compression. This isn't good, and this resaving will eventually unacceptably degrade your image's quality.

If you save the JPEG as a RAW file, however, and then apply changes, the software will preserve the original JPEG image as the file's data, and any software changes you make will be written in the file's instruction set. The result is that you can apply any changes you wish, and at your whim, you can return to the original JPEG file's characteristics by simply turning off the instruction set's changes. So, your original JPEG's data is preserved in its pristine original shape.

Net result? With the converted file, you can make nondestructive changes and turn the changes on and off at will. You're right if you think this sounds like a good idea.

How this can affect your photography. In this instance, it will affect your business because older images will become more versatile and be able to have some of today's most advanced software technology applied. For example, I applied some new technologies to a selection of 35mm slides originally shot on Ektachrome at the New York World's Fair in 1964. I scanned and saved them as JPEGs, reprocessed to raise contrast, blackened the blacks and intensified colors, and then saved as NEF (I was using Nikon Capture NX). JPEG and TIFF images from your scanned photography and even from your compact digital cameras can be converted to the more versatile RAW-like format. Now I can freely reprocess these converted NEF images without concern about destroying the original scanned and saved data. This can be a big plus for your business opportunities.

4 White-balance control. Through years of photography, it has always been my objective to “get it right in the camera.” This applies to virtually every image characteristic, but only to the extent that it can be done in-camera. Today's digital photography, and the myriad of available software tools, enables you to work an image throughout a broad range of color temperature conditions and still ensure pleasing results. The effort can be daunting; any scene can include varying color temperature conditions from warm to cool.

While shooting an image, it may be possible to adjust the color balance among different portions of the image; that's usually a very time-consuming and difficult process. Easily identified colors will catch the viewers' attention if they're not right. Film and digital techniques to compensate for such conditions require the use of added light using gels or special-effects lens filters with multi-graded color values to change the colors. For digital photographers, available lighting still poses the task of dealing with varying color temperatures, but the resolutions to the dilemma now have software and flash automation solutions.

How this can affect your photography. It's always better when the original picture has the best results, but using digital software tools, you have the choice of shooting without compensation and have the comfort of knowing that you can address color balance with your computer software. Several of today's software products enable a variety of ways to adjust an image's color characteristics. If you set the wrong white balance, RAW files enable you to make in-computer adjustments to reprocess the setting. But perhaps your image was shot indoors under incandescent lighting and the scene also includes a window view of the exterior in daylight. That's not a problem for advanced software. It's possible to choose a brushing method to selectively apply color change within the image. The change can put the interior and exterior in balance.

The effect on your photography can ease your concerns when shooting under varying color temperature conditions, and instead of trying to use on-site lighting to change the effects, you can do it in-computer and you can more easily fine-tune the adjustments for each image. Get the original file to be as good as possible with in-camera settings and then utilize software to make the final fine-tuned adjustments or creative effects.

Given the variety and versatility of system developments, your attention to learning about what's available and the choices that are possible will be time well spent. In the end, one key point remains relatively easy to conclude: no single software does it all. This is a very big topic and we're looking forward to delving into more picture-taking advantages. Until next time, good shooting.




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