Do you hate photos of yourself? (part 4)

Furthering my discussion from my last post on technology, I would like to discuss the differences between film and digital photography that can cause one to dislike a photograph. If you don’t understand what you are working with the final product can be effected negatively.

In the days of film, photographers had many options. There were different types of film to use depending on what you were shooting. Whether it be commercial work, nature, people, or even people under indoor lighting.

Film used for commercial work had more vivid color reproduction. Film for portraiture had more subtle color. If you used commercial film for portrait work people in the photos would have redder skin and contrast would be harsher. Sometimes this was desirable in fashion photography with professional makeup artists. But mostly, not for portrait work.

Here, again, is where the proper knowledge of photo retouching comes into play.

A digital photograph is a raw starting point for a finished product. Knowing what to do with that starting point to get it to the proper finished product is what makes the difference.

Professional digital cameras have settings to color correct for various lighting, be it sunlight, shade, a cloudy day, florescent, or tungsten light. But, this is just a small step in proper photography. What if there is mixed lighting? Further, most consumer point and shoot cameras are set to auto correct and get an average that is “close enough”.

The photo that your, or virtually any, digital camera takes is a basic, raw starting image. In order to get the most out of it, you need to know what you are going for in a finished product. Should the color be vivid and saturated as in nature photography? Or should it be muted to tone down skin colors as with portrait photographs?

Some of this is handled by shooting in RAW mode with a professional camera and using the software from the camera manufacturer to “process” the “digital negative” before even opening the file in photoshop.

Many consumer cameras do not have the option of shooting in RAW mode. This makes processing the photo limited, so you are stuck with the auto settings on the camera. However, cameras are becoming more sophisticated, so reading the manual and/or taking a class can help.

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