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I'm a Southern California-based photographer specializing in enchanting photos for couples who believe in Happily Ever After. I've been capturing fairytale love stories around the world since 2010 and have been featured in print and online publications 90+ times.

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Kristen Booth

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For Photographers

{For Photographers} Editing IN Camera

September 30, 2011

In the photography world, there is always something new and better to purchase. Some camera, lens, or editing software that can push your work to the next level. I’ve heard many amateurs who are frustrated with the quality of their work complain that their equipment “sucks” and if only they could have that brand new camera that came out…. (I’ve certainly been guilty of this before!)

While equipment is big….how you use it is SO much bigger. This joke comes to mind:

A photographer was invited to have dinner at the home of a nice couple. During dinner the wife comments to the photographer “Your pictures are beautiful. You must have a great camera.” The photographer nods politely. After finishing dinner the photographer comments to the wife “That was a fine meal. You must have some great pots!

How true this is!!! You can have the best camera and lenses in the world, all the editing software available, to edit them to death…..but if all you are doing is switching the camera into “auto” mode and pressing the button…..well then your left with a result not much better that the pictures you take with your point and shoot camera.

Cameras aren’t as smart as us. They don’t know what you want is focus. Whether you want the sky exposed for…or the person standing in front of it. They dont know how blurry or how sharp you want the photo to be. You can pay $4000 for your camera…and it still won’t come with an artistic vision.

Professional photographers don’t just know how to “get the right angle”. They also shoot in Manual. Which means they manually set their aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. for EVERY situation and lighting condition they are in. It’s actually alot more work than most people give it credit for!!!! Cameras are just tools for creating art. They don’t pull the load. If you want to be a better photographer, learn Manual!!!!

The same goes for editing. It is important, but it shouldn’t define your style completely. Or be a crutch to mask poorly taken photos. Editing should be used simply to enhance what is already a strong image.

I had a fun little example to share from a recent shoot I did for my Fantasy Series.  I was shooting my beautiful model in some gorgeous golden light. I had set everything (In Manual) to get the photo just how I wanted it, with the desired depth of field, warmth, sharpness, etc. When I brought my camera up to shoot, I accidentally bumped the dial into “B” mode, which completely changed the settings I had set up. I shot an image, then looked at my lcd screen and thought “WHOA what the heck happened?! That’s not how it’s supposed to look!”. I realized what I had done and bumped it back into “M” mode and began shooting again with my desired settings. Below is the side by side comparison of the “mess up” vs. the one shot in M.  The left is the “mess up” shot in “B” mode and the right is shot with my desired images in “M”. Both images are completely straight out of camera and unedited.

There is obviously a HUGE difference!!! Even with the SAME equipment, SAME lighting, SAME subject….you can have veryyyy different outcomes in quality just on how you handle your camera and it’s settings!!!

For anyone who is skeptical about the SOOC(straight out of camera) nature of these photos. Here are some screen shots of them uploaded into Adobe Lightroom where I do my editing!

In the first image, you can see that it uploaded with very standard settings, everything is at zero….meaning that nothing about the scene was really altered in camera like it should of been. It was basically just the camera being lazy and saying “here’s a picture….happy?” Don’t let your camera be lazy….PUSH IT!

You can also see in the histogram that the camera chose an aperture of  f/6.3  This is way more narrow than I ever choose to shoot! As a result…the cliffs in the background are really in focus….much different than the soft blurred effect, the wider aperture in my next shot was able to achieve!!

Ahhhh now that’s better, a nice warm, soft, glowy image!!!! You will see that some of the slider bars are slightly different. This is a result of the custom settings I was doing IN camera, not of me tweaking them in Lightroom. The biggest difference in the two photos is the warmth! I like a really warm look to my photos….and to achieve that in camera without having to waste time in editing, I use custom white balance settings to achieve it. The 6250 Temp and -2 Tint are a result of that. Because it says “as shot” this means that this WB is indeed SOOC because if I had touched it at all in lightroom…that would say “Custom” instead of “as shot”. The other slider bars (blacks, brightness, and contrast) are different, only because when the camera switched modes, the different mode also was set to a file format that is different from my usual RAW image choice. Because they are different formats of images, they have different profiles and default settings. But these particular settings are the default in Lightroom for a RAW image such as this. Those of you who are familiar with this know what I mean ;)

The point of this….is not to discourage anyone who isn’t producing desirable SOOC images. Or to to say “Oh look at me! I’m so wonderful!!!”…. NOT AT ALL! (Because I don’t think that! I am actually really hard on myself . I work really hard and practice A LOT to produce images that I am satisfied with). The point is only to show you the possibilities that lie in mastering your in camera settings. Even if you go out and buy the best camera on the market, you will still be producing images that look like the first example (yuck!) if you don’t push your camera and learn it inside and out. Practice practice practice!  I hope this is able to help someone :)

P.S. Stay tuned for the full post of this Fantasy shoot on Monday!!!! YAY!!!

 

 

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Let me know what you think!

  1. Stacey Poterson says:

    This is great Kristen!

  2. Erika Prieto says:

    This is AWESOME! I never knew this was even a possibility on a camera. Thank you so much. I’ve got to go practice now. : )))

  3. Ashley Floyd Walters says:

    Thank you for the great tips!

  4. Samantha Jacobs says:

    thank you Kristen that was awesome, I learned something I didn’t know….

  5. Giovanni Narducci says:

    Wisdom and truth.

  6. Danielle Bacon says:

    How do I set the white balance to achieve warmer results. The SOOC is insanely gorgeous!

  7. Maria Porter says:

    Just discovered Kristen’s work and I am drooling. LOVE the warmth and magic of each picture.

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Fairytale
Wedding Experience

I'm a Southern California-based photographer specializing in enchanting photos for couples who believe in Happily Ever After. I've been capturing fairytale love stories around the world since 2010 and have been featured in print and online publications 90+ times.

wanna know more?

Kristen Booth

wedding styling kit must-haves

10 dreamy places to get married in southern california

oheka castle wedding

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