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03/04/2010 12:41:18 PM · #1
Yesterday I did my first model shoot. Because her hair is kinda her calling card, it's really important to get the color correct AND consistent in every photo. I'm shooting in RAW + jpg, but I don't have that much experience with editing in raw. The top is the jpg straight out of the camera, the bottom is the results of the NEF file with all settings on "auto." The colors in the jpg are correct. I've tried messing with the settings in camera raw, but have no idea what I'm doing and am not seeing results that look anything like the jpg. Is it possible to get the raw settings to match the jpg and apply those settings to all the files from the shoot? There are some that were shot in different lighting conditions and need the light bumped, otherwise I'd just use the jpgs. Thanks for any insight.

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03/04/2010 12:47:42 PM · #2
What RAW processor are you using? Adobe's (ACR, Adobe Camera Raw) allows you to set in preferences whether to display with RAW default or as-shot, camera settings. I'd assume most work this way, but I don't know.

R.

Up near the top, where the bar is labeled "basic", over on the right, is a tiny fly-out arrow; click that and have many choices, including "image settings" (which you want) and "camera raw defaults" (which is probably what is being displayed). Whatever you choose, will be your default mode until you change it.

Message edited by author 2010-03-04 12:53:44.
03/04/2010 01:42:33 PM · #3
Is that gray lettering on the wall in the background? You might be able to use that to adjust color balance in the RAW version, to get it some closer. I shoot a grey card so I have a reference to adjust the RAWs later for color temp. As for the JPEG, you could look at the settings on your camera--I suspect your camera is applying not only some white balance (auto?) corrections, but adding some saturation, contrast, and sharpening.

In a pinch, if your settings were RAW + JPEG (FINE) you have a decent enough jpg file to use (carefully) for editing (always being careful to save at the best resolution/largest file size possible--some programs will do compression if you just hit SAVE, so choosing SAVE AS and choosing the settings might be needed depending on the program) Keep a backed up set of original files.

However, I would think almost any tool that handles RAW files would get you enough adjustment control to mimic the jpeg result, and most would then have a "stamp" or "sync" feature that would allow you to copy & apply those changes to the other images.

I don't know how to do the more automatic thing (where the tool applies the jpeg settings to the RAW file), and I don't think I would want to do that anyway--I want to start from the raw. I do shoot raw + jpeg (basic) and have the jpeg settings mainly set to give a reasonable view on the LCD. I have them for reference if needed.
03/04/2010 01:42:45 PM · #4
Thank you Bear_Music! I'm using ACR in Photoshop CS2 - so my options are "image settings," "camera raw defaults," "previous conversion" and "custom." Using "image settings" is what gives me the bottom photo. Camera raw defaults gives her a little more color in her skin but still results in flattish brown hair.
03/04/2010 01:47:55 PM · #5
Thanks chromeydome... I definitely can see the benefit of shooting with a greycard! I'll see if I can use the lettering on the wall to get the curves right.

And yes, I've got the camera set to shoot vivid, so they're more saturated. I guess it didn't occur to me that that would apply to the jpgs but not the raw files! They are JPG fine, but for the low light photos I have always found that making the exposure correction to the raw file in ACR rather than to the jpg in PS turns out better results... but that's probably because I'm inexperienced.
03/04/2010 02:20:06 PM · #6
Yep, the vivid setting will definitely add some extra sats to the jpgs. Basically, the RAW image file is the untouched sensor data, where the jpg will have adjustments applied by the camera. It is worth noting that the histograms on the camera LCD are calculated off the jpeg file (as I understand it). So, extreme settings on the jpeg in-camera might alter the histogram some. I was told by a pro that he sets every jpeg setting to as neutral as possible so that his histogram is more accurate. I tried that on my d90, found that the images didn't seem "accurate" enough on the LCD, so I sat down with a RAW image on my calibrated monitor, and (with the jpeg file still on my memory card) adjusted the LCD display so that they looked about the same.

However, I abandoned this approach--I didn't encounter any great positive benefits from doing it, plus when chimping shots with the models, they saw flat dull desaturated looking shots and it depressed them. So I put back a little contrast, a bit of saturation, etc, to make the jpeg look a bit more natural.

Couple of grey card things I have learned: if you change location, lights, or the lighting changes on-location during the shoot, you need to snap that card again. Also, if you use both your d70 and d90 at shoots, shoot a card on both cameras--the sensor, etc, differences can be significant, and the indicated white balance correction when post processing the d90 images will almost certainly not work for the d70 images.

The grey card thing won't get you the "vivid" setting result, but it will get you to a good starting place and applying a bit of saturation and contrast, etc., can get you further along from there.
03/04/2010 05:21:55 PM · #7
with your raw converter, push the white balance to around 6000k, and increase the contrast a lot more than it is now. The boost in contrast will push the saturation but you might have to raise/lower as you see fit.

Forget the gray card. They're nice but not essential. trust your eyes and move the slider back and forth until the neutrals pop out, which they will.

Do you use Lightroom by any chance?
03/04/2010 06:46:03 PM · #8
Thanks for the suggestions, I'm playing with the images in ACR now. I don't use Lightroom, unfortunately.
03/04/2010 07:44:49 PM · #9
doesn't ACR have an equivalent slider for white balance?
03/05/2010 12:32:50 PM · #10
ACR does allow you to choose either from a dropdown of white balance settings or set the number with a slider - a number of the shots were taken in shade, so I've been playing with the settings for both the sunny shots and the shade shots - will post some results when I have something worth showing ;)
03/05/2010 12:43:34 PM · #11
You really need to try Nikon Capture NX2. A lot of people believe that Nikon should include this program with the purchase of their cameras, but it is definitely worth the money.

Besides the NIK control point system (which is incredible) you would certainly benefit from the simple to use camera settings that you can change while processing the images.

I believe they offer a free trial for 30 days. Download it and I think that you'll be pleasantly surprised that you will be able to get the look that the software in the camera processed in your jpg version (and a lot more).
03/05/2010 01:24:25 PM · #12
Well that's bloody awesome. I opened the NEF file in Nikon Capture NX2 and it looks exactly like the jpg - and I haven't touched any settings!! Thank you very much yakatme. I'm already sold. Now to come up with $180...!
03/05/2010 02:03:54 PM · #13
Originally posted by ahaze:

Well that's bloody awesome. I opened the NEF file in Nikon Capture NX2 and it looks exactly like the jpg - and I haven't touched any settings!! Thank you very much yakatme. I'm already sold. Now to come up with $180...!


I don't want to exacerbate things, being that photography is already such a money drain of a hobby, but if you like the U-Point technology of NX2 you'd likely be interested in Color Efex Pro, and if you like black and white, Silver Efex Pro is the BEST B/W program I have seen, by far. The control of tone, along with the option to use U-Points, makes it fast and intuitive. Beyond Topaz Detail it is by far my most beloved plug-in.
The real reason, however, that I was going to post to this thread, is that if you're considering using grey cards, you might look into the Spydercube. It's basically a grey card on steroids. I would have already bought one if I was shooting more commercial stuff with the same basic setting. Currently, for me, I don't do enough shoots to warrant perfect black/white reproduction and WB, it's more of a taste thing, so the product isn't so useful. But if it was, I would pick up the spydercube real quick.
ETA: I'm not on my normal comp, but I seem to remember some weirdness with NX2 and Photoshop. If you resave the file as a NEF using NX2, none of those changes will be understood by photoshop, if I remember correctly, so keep that in mind. They don't seem to play well together.

Message edited by author 2010-03-05 14:06:19.
03/05/2010 03:48:50 PM · #14
Originally posted by ahaze:

Well that's bloody awesome. I opened the NEF file in Nikon Capture NX2 and it looks exactly like the jpg - and I haven't touched any settings!! Thank you very much yakatme. I'm already sold. Now to come up with $180...!


Cool, that's something that I forgot to mention. When you open the RAW file in NX2, the program automatically adjusts the file according to the settings that you had set in your camera for the jpegs.
03/05/2010 04:17:43 PM · #15
Originally posted by yakatme:

Originally posted by ahaze:

Well that's bloody awesome. I opened the NEF file in Nikon Capture NX2 and it looks exactly like the jpg - and I haven't touched any settings!! Thank you very much yakatme. I'm already sold. Now to come up with $180...!


Cool, that's something that I forgot to mention. When you open the RAW file in NX2, the program automatically adjusts the file according to the settings that you had set in your camera for the jpegs.


Before you rush off to spend more money on software, try Googling "Nikon Profiles ACR."
You'll get a bunch of good links, including to photo.net and fredmiranda.com. There are profiles out there that can closely duplicate the in-camera jpeg processing for Nikon cameras. So you may not need additional software.
If you decide that you really want some RAW workflow software, play with the Lightroom 3.0 beta; there should be about a month left in the beta period for this beta version. Not only is Lightroom a great RAW processing engine, it is also a wonderful tool for organizing a large library of photos. I was skeptical when I first played with it, and version 1.x was pretty clunky, but it has become a nearly indispensable tool.

Edit to add:
In the JPEG version of your shot the red channel has some clipping; that's because of the "vivid" setting, which raises both the contrast and the saturation, making single-channel clipping more likely. The luminosity histogram on the camera won't usually show when a single channel clips. Enable the RGB histogram if it is available on your camera.

Message edited by author 2010-03-05 16:32:34.
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