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DSLR Photo Tip - Were You Aware That Your Digital Camera Could Do This?

Creative picture controls can make your LCD screen more accurately reflect what you are capturing in RAW format. Here's how…

In our previous articles, we've been discussing how to get better sunset photography to death! Let's change gears a bit and discuss a few things that your DSLR camera can do - that you may not have been aware of…

Most - but not all - DSLR's offer custom picture controls. Canon calls them "picture styles" and Nikon calls them "picture controls".

If you are shooting in RAW format - and you should be - the camera automatically applies the picture controls to make the final image look better. Since this is automatic, you might never have known your camera was doing it for you!

If it didn't add these picture control settings, you would NOT like your photos! RAW shots lack color saturation, contrast and sharpness.

The picture controls in our cameras automatically add them in and we are blissfully unaware!

So far, so good. You may think that - since it is automatic, who cares?

Your LCD screen displays a JPEG image - not a RAW image.

Were you aware that even if you are shooting in RAW, your camera is saving a JPEG image to display in the thumbnail and on your LCD screen?

This doesn't at all affect the RAW data, it is just a way of displaying the image on your LCD.

If you are shooting in RAW format, without adjusting the custom picture controls, the JPEG image on your LCD screen can look pretty bad!

Keep in mind, with or without custom picture control settings, the RAW image is the same, nothing is changing there. But the JPEG image showing up on your LCD screen will be changed and will more accurately show the image you are capturing.

This will better help you pre-visualize the way your shots are turning out! Since you are seeing the same image on your screen as you are capturing in RAW - you'll be better able to decide if you "got the shot" or not.

Again, setting the picture controls to a custom setting will not affect your RAW image; it only affects the JPEG display in your LCD.

To customize your picture controls, just go to your menu and find the custom picture control setting. Play around a bit until you get the settings that make your LCD screen more accurately reflect what you are capturing in the RAW image!

So, get out your camera and your manual (you DID read the manual - right?) and start playing around with the picture control settings. Setting custom controls will make your LCD screen better display what your photo sensor is capturing in RAW. Plus, as a side benefit, your viewing screen images will look so much better than everyone else's, you will get a lot of jealous looks. Teach them how to do it too! Or not.

If this daily tip was a nice review of what you already knew - GREAT! If it taught you something - you need my "On Target Photo Training" course. All of itArticle Submission, right now!

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Dan Eitreim has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years - his data base exceeds 6000 past clients, and he says that learning photography is easy, if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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