6 camera settings photographers always get wrong (and how to get it right)

Set up your camera for informal, candid photography: best camera settings

Want to avoid some of the more common mistakes made by photographers? In their latest guest post the photo management and irista experts at Photoventure came up with the 6 camera settings that many get wrong along with some advice on how to get it right.

6 camera settings photographers always get wrong (and how to get it right)

Common mistakes with camera settings: 1. White balance

The vast majority of photographs are taken with the camera’s white balance set to the Automatic option.

It’s an easy choice that gets it right most of the time, but it’s not completely foolproof and many systems have a tendency to correct natural variations in light colour so that images look a bit too neutral.

Warm early morning or evening sunlight, for example, can be made too cold.

When shooting outdoors better results can be achieved in many cases by switching to the Daylight or Sunny setting.

It can even produce better results than the Auto setting in shady or overcast conditions.

SEE MORE: 5 digital camera features no photographer should be without

Most cameras also have Shade or Cloudy white balance options that inject a bit more warmth into images.

In some situations this colour-shift can be excessive, but it’s worth experimenting with your camera to find out how each white balance setting performs in a range of conditions.

For the ultimate in control, use the Custom or Manual white balance option and set the value manually.

Your camera’s manual will explain exactly how to do this, but fundamentally it involves photographing a white or neutral grey target (a piece of card works well) in the same light as your subject and telling your camera to use this image to set the white balance.

If you photograph the white or grey card again after the manual white balance has been set in camera, you should see it rendered neutral.

If you wish, you can use your camera’s white balance adjustment controls to warm or cool the results – or experiment with a non-neutral calibration target.

 SEE MORE: 10 cameras they could make in 2014… if they dared

6 camera settings photographers always get wrong (and how to get it right)

Common mistakes with camera settings: 2. Sharpness

Most digital cameras allow you to adjust the level of sharpening that is applied to JPEG images as they are processed.

Some photographers assume that the highest setting is the best option as this will produce the sharpest images.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that and strong or high contrast edges such as a clean horizon can end up looking over-sharpened and having halos.

Conversely, using the lowest setting can leave fine details looking a bit soft – nevertheless, this generally looks better than over-sharpened edges.

The best way to get good results direct from the camera is to apply sharpening cautiously on an image-by-image basis – or at least use a mid-range setting for most shots.

However, those wanting the very best results should apply sharpening selectively to raw files post capture.


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