Hi there...I thought I would do a quick post on how to get the best result from your camera because I get asked about this a lot and this will be a good reference for students and people who have a DSLR and need some info on how to produce the best quality images...
If you have a point and shoot then its all done in camera which is great but gives you little or no control over the fine tuning...in certain situations this is fantastic but if you want to play with your image then you need a processing engine
If you have a DSLR then you are going to need a computer programme to process your images to look their best...
Photoshop is the best and most necessary programme and if you are a student or a teacher you can get it at a fraction of the cost of the full programme.
If you can't stretch to PS then most of the DSLR's come with Photoshop Elements which is a simplified version of PS to get you going and if you are a bit older and havent grown up with one hand on a computer then its a great programme and fun to play with...and nowhere near as complicated as PS.
Lightroom is another alternative and is a must for most Pro's to sort and do global adjustments on large numbers of files...it can do most things but it really needs PS as well to be able to really fine tune and image....the good news is that is a fraction of the cost.
Your camera probably has a programme bundled with it and most of these are OK but no good long term...the sooner you get on one of the above the quicker you will get the hang of it.
So you need to have one of these because otherwise its like printing a photo without taking it to the lab.
Next thing you need to do is try and capture your images in a non-destructive way....if you have a raw setting on your camera then most of what you shoot can be modified in post processing....in saying that you will not be able to fix/hide glaring mistakes in PS...but you can adjust exposure and white balance, contrast and colour etc and if you are using a raw file then it does it in a non-destructive way. If you shoot on Jpeg then the changes you make will affect the quality of your image but its great if you don't want to have to do much to the image....I shoot on a combination of raw and small jpeg and I use the jpeg as a quick preview because you cant see raw files until they are opened in a raw processor. Both PS and Lightroom allow you to open view and edit raw files non destructively and then when you have made your adjustments you can save them as Jpegs (good for the final print or to use for the web) or as tiffs or DNG's if you think you might want to play with them later.
There are numerous tutorials on utube on how to use these programmes and they are large and quite complicated so even now that Ive been using them for years I still watch anything that comes up because you always learn something new or a new/easier way of doing something....and they also keep upgrading them and adding extra tools so its very much an ongoing learning process....
Once you have PS then there are numerous ways to make your photos look better such as plug-ins and actions (which you can buy) and software such is 'Nik Software" which is a personal favourite....and remember try not to overdo it...its always better to make any changes subtle and realistic...
(Use the comments below for any questions)
I have added a picture of Ruby that was beautiful without anything done to it but I wanted to make it look more timeless...I used Nik (silver efex pro) and added grain.
If anyone is interested I will do a post on layers (simple) and how to use them next week...and hope you enjoy this beautiful sunny day if you are in South Australia x L