The back of the camera

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always, this time writing from Pisa, Italy, where I’ve been applying the Eiffel Tower Effect on the Leaning Tower of Pisa and trying to shoot it with a different look. So far, so good, but it made me think about the preview screen on the back of the camera, and here’s something you absolutely need to know about it.

The preview screen is showing us a JPEG preview of the scene we shot, at all times. Our camera is very quickly applying presets, running algorithms, and kicking out a finessed representation of the photo onto that preview screen. As such, what we see is never going to be quite something we can call ‘straight out of camera’, or ‘SOOC’. A bunch of work has been done to the image by the camera already, so the processing has begun before we hit Adobe Lightroom when we’re shooting JPEG.

Here’s where it gets really interesting: – That image preview is still a JPEG representation when we’re shooting raw. Don’t get me wrong, we are getting a raw file to edit, but the image preview is the processed JPEG and therefore isn’t quite what the raw file is going to look like.

The reason I write this is to address the purists out there who don’t believe in editing an image at all, rather just shooting and saving. The argument that often comes up is that you should get it right in camera and although I agree in most cases it’s beneficial to get as much right in camera as possible, we now have incredible processing power on tap and very simple processes available to help us create amazing photos. Neural Filters in Adobe Photoshop, for example, are very powerful and effective, and they’re a step in the right direction for simplifying the edits we often want to make.

Next time you look at your preview screen just bear in mind that it’s showing you a photo that’s already been slightly processed and, whilst shooting, think of what you can do in post to make that photo epic.

Much love

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