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Should You Shoot RAW?

In my post about whether to buy a DSLR or not I noted that one of the plus points was that it could shoot RAW. But what is it? What difference does it make to my photos? Should I use it? There is a lot of opinion out there on this issue so I went back to the facts to make my own mind up.

What is RAW?

RAW is a file format that your camera can use to save your photos, you have probably hear of JPEG which is probably the other format your camera can use. JPEG files have the extension .jpg but, confusingly, RAW files have different extensions set by your camera’s manufacturer. My Olympus creates .orf, Nikons .NEF and Canons .cr2. So how is a RAW file different from a JPEG? The RAW file is just that, raw data straight from the camera’s sensor where as a JPEG file has had all of the camera’s settings applied to it to process the image into a use-able format. The JPEG image has also been compressed to a smaller size by discarding some of the RAW data it no longer needs now the settings have been applied. The flow chart below is probably the easiest way to describe it.

Raw Flow Chart

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ISO – In Beginner Speak “Fast or Slow Film”

Continuing the series of posts where I try to explain some of the basic concepts of photography in “beginner speak”. If you like the concept, have anything to add, any futher questions or want to suggest another topic then let me know. Either add a comment below or email me.

ISO is often referred to when discussing the settings used to obtain a correct exposure but what is it, what affect does it have on your photos and when do you need to change it?

ISO actually stands for International Standards Organisation who are a group that define univeral standards in industry so that everybody is working from the same hymn sheet. What does this have to do with photography? Not a lot. The reason we use the term ISO is because the organisation defined the standard for the sensitivity of 35mm film called the ASA. Anyway enough of of pointless facts, what does it affect in my photographs.

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Out of Bounds Effect in PS Elements

Recently I posted the image below on the DPS forum and a few people asked me how it was done. So I though I’d write a how to. I used Photoshop Elements 6 but you can do it any software that can uses layers and masks

Junk Picture

The effect is called “Out of Bounds” or sometimes “3D Border Breakout”. First off you need to pick a suitable picture. Photos with a strong subject help, one that has some depth in the frame. Movement is also good but make sure your subject is sharp otherwise it won’t look great later on. There are a few different ways to get to the end product so this isn’t a definitive guide, it may not even be the easiest way but it works.

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How Digital Changed the World of Photography

Recently over at the DPS forum I came across a thread where someone had asked a question about how digital had changed the world off photography. Which got me thinking!

Had digital actually changed the world of photography all on its own?


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London baby – The most photogenic city on earth

Appart from maybe Hong Kong!

Shortly after I got my new camera I had to go to London and it turned out I had the whole morning in the city by myself to go where I wanted and shoot for as long as I wanted to, excellent. This really is a great way to shoot, no time constraints, no frowns from everyone else as you take another photo of the same thing over and over. A real opportunity to take some time to consider my shots and come up with something good.

London is also a fantastic city to shoot in, so many varied oportunities and subjects to shoot. Unfortunately it ws a really overcast day but oh well. I decided on an agenda that would take me to as many locations as possible to make the most of my time, if I was able to more often I would probably try to spend more time in each location but needs must. I decided my iteneray would be to start off by getting the tube to St. Pauls Cathedral and walking down over the Milenium Bridge to the Tate Modern. St. Pauls and the Milenium Bridge provide some great cityscape vistas, the Tate modern is also a stricking buliding but my main reason for this was to visit the large exhibition they had in the main room.

St Paul's Storm

St. Pauls and Millenium Bridge

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Auto ISO – Arrrhhh

One of the first settings I changed on my camera was the Auto ISO setting. In my opinion it is one of the most anoying things the camera can fiddle with. It never seems to get the correct setting and you only ever notice after its too late. But what prompted me to make this change you ask? This…

Rivelin 1
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Edit your images

Everyone feels differently about editing images once they get the photos into their computer. Some consider it cheating or a waste of time and don’t do any editing at all. Others people will add a few tweaks to every image to “develop it” or completely photoshop the crap out if it. Personally I like to tweak every image I deem wothy of display in order to show them in their best light. I belive this is a critical step especially when using a DSLR. Most DSLRs are set up by the manufacturers to give a fairly dull and muted final image as they assume the sort of person who buys one of these cameras will also be the sort of person who likes to edit their images. This is the reason some people are initally disapointed with the results when they upgrade from a P&S.

Here is an example of a before and after. The first shot, the before, is quite dull and washed out. The colours of the shot don’t stand out and the crop doesn’t really do anything for the the shot.

PA102022 before

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Welcome to my blog

I am an amatuer photographer living in Sheffield, England. My blog will detail my photography journey, from fumbling beginer to, hopefully one day, competant and knowledgeable photographer

By sharing my experince hopefully I can help every one else with the same goals and maybe, just maybe impart some of the knowledge I have leaned

If you have any questions or comments about the blog then why not email me.
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