Friday, June 21, 2013

Getting It Right In the Camera

You've heard it said or written often: Get it right in the camera!  I subscribe to those words in big ways. In my just completed, soon-to-be-released ebook, Flash-Free Portrait Photography: How to Shoot Awesome Portraits in Natural Light, those words come up a number of times in the text. Lately, it seems, I see those words popping-up more and more on photography web pages and on forums. As well they should!  They're important to hear and read and should be embraced by all serious photographers.

Just because you shoot RAW and you can fix/change many things when you convert your images, it doesn't mean you shouldn't do all you can to get it right in the camera. Just because you can crop in post, it doesn't mean you shouldn't frame your images in ways that reflect good composition. Just because you can... never mind. You probably get the idea.

Here's a few, short, excerpts from the new ebook regarding getting it right in the camera:

In my chapter, "Exposure and Camera Settings," when writing about White Balance and color temperature settings often used in natural light portraiture, I mentioned that...

"Many photographers capture their portraits using the RAW or RAW+JPG settings. Because of that, some shooters seem less concerned about color temperature when the photos are captured since they can correct it in post when they convert the images. Personally, I'm a Get it right in the camera! kind of shooter, even when it comes to camera settings and other elements which are easily fixed or changed in post. When you do your best to get things like White Balance and color temperature correct when you're capturing the images, that mindset begins extending to many, if not all other aspects of your photography."

I also noted, "There's nothing particularly Old School about getting it right in the camera. It might seem (to some) to be a hold-over from the days when film photography was all there was and photographers had fewer options once the film was exposed, but that's not what Get it right in the camera! is all about. Sure, some of it was born of that, but there's more to it than a film-shooter's supposedly old fashioned ways of doing things. It's my firm belief that all serious photographers should strive to Get it right in the camera! (Or, as near to right as they are able, whenever they are able to do so.) It's simply the best and most efficient way to shoot photographs without multiplying the processes beyond necessity. (Ockham's Razor!)"

I also referred to getting it right in the camera in other chapters of the ebook. If you're unfamiliar with Ockham's Razor, it states, "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity."  In plain English, that means the simplest explanation, method, process, or way to do something is usually the correct one.

Call me crazy but routinely getting things like camera settings and exposure (and so much more) right in the camera represents -- in plain, simple, and practical ways -- NOT multiplying entities beyond necessity. Doing so is a simpler method than relying on post-processing to later do something or correct something that could have easily been done correctly in production. If the concept of getting it right in the camera doesn't conform to Ockham's Razor, I don't know what does.  Keep it simple, stupid! (KISS: A modern-day variation of Ockham's Razor, which was first postulated by a 14th Century Franciscan friar.)

The pretty girl at the top is Penthouse Pet, Celeste Starr. (Click the pic to enlarge.) I snapped the images on a white seamless using three light sources: A 4' Photek Softlighter for my main light plus a couple of much smaller, Softighter knock-offs, either side, slightly behind the model. I also used a LumoPro Lite Panel for fill, set below the main light and angled up. Canon 5D, ISO 100, f/8 @ 125.

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