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Untouched photographs - do folk do them?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by MarthaRuby, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Roy,

    Sure. Same here. And the added flexibility is very welcome. It was just the word "always" that I objected to. Comparatively few slides (certainly under 20%, and probably under 10%; possibly under 5%) were actual failures, after allowing for bracketing. So: not "always".

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    No, they don't force you to, so if you're too lazy to do it without being forced, sure, you will need more post processing. But I'd still maintain that if you can be arsed to learn how your digicam behaves, it's very like slide film: the great majority of images can be used straight out of camera, after allowing for bracketing. So: not "almost all" unless you're sloppy (or decide not to bracket) at the taking stage.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Your reply was much more diplomatic than mine would have been.........
     
  4. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Roger, Roy
    What I was getting at is that for probably the majority of photographers, Auto is all they ever use. If it ain't right, they shoot a load more. Costs nothing, so they don't care. (Thinking of slide film, remember those awful slides on sale at stately homes? Many people bought them, they couldn't even be bothered to try themselves. In recent times, I have seen quite a few people try to take photos in stately homes using a cheapo compact with its in-built flash.) I bet if you asked them, 99 out of 100 people who own a compact or a bridge camera wouldn't even know what bracketing is!!* (I know a DSLR owner who doesn't!!!!!) Most people who buy a digital camera today expect it to do everything for them; and, let's face, any digital camera today will get a lot more results that the hoi polloi regard as acceptable than was the case a generation or so ago.

    The point is, to get ANYTHING useful with slide film out of my old Pentax S1, I HAD to know how to use a lightmeter; how to adjust exposure for conditions; and what would happen on longer exposures (remember reciprocity effects?), etc., etc. I still got some wrong, that was inevitable. Sure, I could have used the chart on the film box - but how many more would have been scrap? I certainly couldn't afford to waste film! I have to say, I never knew anyone who bought a good camera like that to use for holiday snaps: the price of that camera was equal to £3000 today; and slide film wasn't cheap, either. So I stand by what I said: to get decent results you had no choice but to thoroughly understand camera and film - and again most serious photographers whom I knew always stuck to the same film, because they knew its quirks and how to handle them. I used Ektachrome for many years. Yet today, it isn't that unusual for people to buy DSLRs for happy snapping. And for some, of course, an expensive camera is a mere status symbol, and they're more than happy to keep buying the latest and greatest when a new one comes out.

    When automatic exposure cameras appeared, things changed a lot, even with film.

    The AP community is a different matter though, surely? We are all interested in photography itself, or we wouldn't be on here. Most people on here want to do better (or else help others to do better). And that means that most of us don't expect the camera to deliver a 'perfect' result without some post-processing. And post processing has made our life a lot easier.

    *And I know an estate agent who bought an Oly M5 for work who hasn't a clue how to use even a compact!
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Yes, but you're conflating two different kinds of photographer.

    1: Know nothing, use Auto all the time. Is a know-nothing Auto user going to bother with post production? No.

    2: Want the best possible quality. Learn how the camera works and what results it gives. At this point, far more pics should be usable straight out of camera.

    I'd suggest that to any serious photographer, (2) is all but inevitable. As soon as you start feeling limited by automation; as soon as you feel you're wasting far to much time on PP; well, learn how to get better results with manual control and less PP.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  6. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    A point I left out in my previous post is the idea of deliberately shooting with the intention of using PP to get the best final result, for example using the technique known as exposing to the right. The idea is to maximise use of the sensor well capacity to minimise noise, by overexposing to just below the point of highlight clipping, and then darkening the image in PP to compensate.

    You could get a similar result by using the "correct" exposure at the taking stage, but it would be slightly noisier in the shadows. Of course, it only works for relatively low contrast subjects, where you don't need the the full dynamic range of the sensor.

    Other possible areas where you might shoot with the intention of using PP, to produce images impossible in camera, would include HDR and panorama stitching (although some cameras now effectively include facilities for doing the PP in camera).
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Alex,

    Again, no-one will argue. My sole point is that if you take care when you shoot the picture, an awful lot of pictures will be usable straight out of camera. It's the idea of "all" or even "the vast majority" that I disagree with.

    There's also the point that when we begin, we genuinely don't see things that we will regard as shortcomings later, and so we'll not see (or indeed have) any need for PP. The idea that every beginner should invariably PP all their pictures strikes me as bordering on the feeble-minded.

    Going further, I'd suggest that the inexperienced PP user is likely to oversharpen, turn up the contrast too much, oversaturate, etc., simply because it looks more dramatic on a (probably cheap'n'nasty) computer screen. A good monitor costs more than a cheap camera, including low-end DSLRs. Few people want to spend that sort of money. I don't. I've one good monitor (Iiyama CRT); one fairly good (Iiyama flat-screen); and several very ordinary (Asus -- and "ordinary" is generous).

    In other words, my recommendation would be to use the pics straight from camera until you feel that you could improve them in PP, and then, very gingerly, dip your toes in the PP water. This is of course my standard advice: don't try to run before you can walk; don't waste money on stuff you don't understand; get a feeling for what a good picture looks like.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Roger, Alex, I think we're violently agreeing here!:D I think you get my point about 'good' cameras many years ago compared with today. Could this be why colleges start by teaching photography using simple film SLRs? :cool: I could pick up my S1 today, put a cassette of Ektachrome in it, and feel entirely comfortable with it - and get good results almost without thinking about it. Oddly, perhaps, I don't feel like that about my digi cameras; though, I have to say, I'm much more comfortable with my old 50D than I am with my much newer M5. And get better results straight out of the camera. Which led to my other point:- not all digi cameras process their images in the same way, and I guess that's down to some software writer "knowing better" than a good photographer or three. More automation, more bells and whistles = less results that are satisfactory out of the camera, IMHO. Computers ain't clever - they're just machines! If you learn to get good results out of the camera, as Roger says, FIRST, then you'll do better overall anyway. Unless you do that learning stage, you're using one machine to compensate for the shortcomings of another machine instead of using your own brain. And that is NOT creative. In principle, anyway.

    Well, that's where I'm coming from. It's like using a computer instead of a slide rule: the former makes you think, the latter merely bypasses your little grey cells. And then if the answer is wrong, you won't know why, or possibly even know that it's wrong.
     
  9. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    And, Roger: "Going further, I'd suggest that the inexperienced PP user is likely to oversharpen, turn up the contrast too much, oversaturate, etc., simply because it looks more dramatic on a (probably cheap'n'nasty) computer screen. A good monitor costs more than a cheap camera, including low-end DSLRs. Few people want to spend that sort of money. I don't. I've one good monitor (Iiyama CRT); one fairly good (Iiyama flat-screen); and several very ordinary (Asus -- and "ordinary" is generous)."

    Yes! On both counts. And most beginners won't even realise that their monitor is cr@p, let alone do anything about it, even as far as buying and using a Huey or ColorMunki. My monitor ain't great, but was expensive when I bought it. But a Huey definitely helps; even better is comparing it with a colour card - and likewise the printer; it's astonishing how differently these devices treat colours...
     
  10. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Sometimes such a photographer comes to her father and asks him to print up a quite respectable iphone picture for her entry in the village fete - some PP is then necessary
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Eminently true. This is not, however, anything like the same as saying that most photographers should (or even can) PP all (or even most) of their own pictures. Especially beginners.

    Also, lucky this isn't the Guardian, where you'd be excoriated for not saying "Sometimes such a photographer comes to his mother and asks her to print up a quite respectable iphone picture for his entry in the village fete.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Quite probably. But that's why I've reversed the advice I used to give to people 10 years ago. I used to say, "Learn to use a manual camera." Now I say, "Leave it on auto until you're unhappy, then start learning how to take control." You still use your brain. It's just that you'll get some good pictures before you need to worry about doing so.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I was describing a real event so probably can can be excused there, she came second in a quite strong field, but in the general case I will plead guilty to that - I have an 1884 camera and a picture taken with it of one of my Grandfathers (aged 7) and his father. I always thought that that was the great-grandfathers camera and he had managed to do a selfie (probably having someone to move the lens cap). Then I went to a talk on Victorian photographers in Edinburgh and heard that the a lot of Victorian photographers were women, even to the extent of complaints at court about their chemical stained hands. I then realised that that was no selfie but a loving portrait of her two men.
     
  14. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    That is probably the most sensible comment posted on this entire thread. But one that is bound to upset the camera snobs who think that the auto settings are the spawn of Satan.

    I am tutoring a photography course at present and one of the most difficult things to get over to those students who think they know more than they do is the fact that, for most photographers (I exclude commercial photographers doing stuff like product photography), the objective is not to achieve a photograph that is exactly like the scene they shot but, rather, an image that pleases them. In nine instances out of 10, one of the "auto" modes (Program, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority) is often the best starting point.
     
  15. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Well, yes - why torture yourself with manual settings if you don't need to? My wife's old boss and whom I knew well, a very experienced photographer, thought automatic cameras when they were appeared were a godsend. Why should they not be? After all, the camera's sensor is 'seeing' the scene far more accurately than the human eye, isn't it?
     
  16. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    It's the fact that I was dissatisfied with many of the results I was getting with my camera in auto mode that about 8 years ago got me started learning PP. Now I have a camera that probably gets it right in auto most of the time, but I've got into the habit of doing PP for almost every shot.

    Mind you, since there seems to be some delay in my favourite raw conversion / editing software being updated to be compatible with my latest camera, perhaps it's time I started using JPEGs straight out of camera more.

    Anyway, I'm not really trying to agree or disagree with anyone, just making observations from my own personal experience that seem relevant to the topic.
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Highlight: which is in any case impossible, because it's a two-dimensional representation of just one of an infinite number of possible scenes. You are absolutely right that "pleasing" is all you can ever hope for -- a point I also made in the book Perfect Exposure where I pointed out that while there is no such thing as a correct exposure, perfect exposures are entirely possible: the ones that create exactly the effect you want.

    The only place I might disagree with you is that I'd guess it was more like 8 times out of 10 than 9 times; but a lot will depend on what you shoot.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Not necessarily. The human eye is constantly scanning the scene, refocusing, adjusting aperture. I'm not sure you can call this any more or less "accurate" than what the camera "sees": the two are so different. The photographer's job is to represent not only what his/her eye sees, but also to convey the emotion/impression that came with that vision.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Hi Roger
    What I meant by that is that the human eye/brain combination interprets what it sees. It 'doesn't see' things that don't interest it. (Just think how many motorists haven't seen motorcyclists coming, for instance!) The camera's sensor just takes in the whole scene presented to it, it doesn't make any judgements or ignore anything. The judgements come later, when the human inspects the recorded image. (Or when he's collided with the unseen motorcyclist;))
    Chrs
    Keith
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Ah, I see what you mean and you are of course absolutely right. On the other hand this really does highlight the nature of what we mean by "see".

    Lovely story from a motorcycle comic a few years ago (slightly abridged, and from memory):

    "Just recently I had my first experience of 'Sorry, mate, didn't see you' when I drove straight into the side of a car that pulled out of a side turning. What puzzles me is how he knew I was a motorcyclist, as I was driving a 32-seat bus at the time."

    Cheers,

    R.
     

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