Flip On the Lights In Camera: How to Correct Your Over Processing Habit

If you know us, you know that we are shooters.  Jay loves to hunt deer, birds, sweet little squirrels, and anything else that he can flip over a fire and then onto his plate!  But another kind of shooting is also very important to us.  Photography is what +jayoleham and I actually do for a living.  We say we shoot for love and for living because we do.  

There are many shooters across the board in the photography world, whether full time earners like us, part time, amateur, or just as a hobby. Whatever you are, YEAH YOU!  Ain't it fun?
In chatting about cameras, the gear, and the lifestyle of a photographer, inevitably the same question pops up, which leads me to realize, few shooters actually gather the proper lighting inside the camera anymore.  Shadows and highlights must not matter so much anymore because the main question I hear is, “What program do you use to process your images?” There is a gamut of image processing programs and some are pretty darn quick.  But my answer has become increasingly more and more adamant.  Do not depend on a post processor to correct your bad image into an acceptable one.  Get it in camera!

Post processing images, when done correctly is not a bad thing. It can enhance and be a helper when the light was simply not there to glean from.  It can be a great help to organize large amounts of files by quickly weeding out the bad and picking your awesome keepers, and can get that gnat off Aunt Weezies glasses that you didn’t see in camera.  We all know that has to be corrected!

Ok… I’m just going to say it.  Post processing images is often overused and can easily be a cheat sheet for lighting instead of capturing beautifully lit images right there in the photographic moment of what you see. 

This may sound elementary, but here are the simplest ways of correcting this over processing issue:
  • Learn your camera, it’s capabilities. Then utilize them. So many never graduate off "auto everything".
  • Learn your lenses, and their capabilities. Understand most stock lenses are not the best. A good lens will crunch most wallets but usually worth the investment. Yes...investment! My day to day play lens is a 17-50mm 1:2.8. There's better, and there's worse lenses out there.
  • But above all, learn light (natural and flash).  What ever camera and lens you use, don't forget to study the light, then master the light.  Light is your best friend, unlike the “hope of post”. If you don't understand light, chances are your images are going to be mediocre at best, no mater what tools you use.
  • Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try something you have not seen someones else do. Like when Jay flips out his pocket flashlight...and I giggle. That always cracks me up, but can work in a pinch!
  • Practice. Shoot in various lighting conditions to beef up your confidence in using the tools you have in hand at shoot time.  Raw image format has an unadulterated beauty that cannot be made better by pushing lights and darks on an imaginary sliding scale after the fact.  Sorry, it’s an awesome concept, but nothing beats the Light of the Lord. Yes, pun intended!    

So, this post is my opening to a new page on my blog where I will post images that are in keeping to our Flipping Dirt and Flours theme and our motto of:

Live life sufficiently; Love others purposefully; Care deeply for Mother Earth and her Creator."

If you have an image that is totally RAW from camera and would like for me to consider it for this page, feel free to send it to me with your name and loupe information of the image like is listed under my BeeShadow image below. My goal is to have a new image every day or so to post.  

1/400s f/11 iso400 (17.0-50.0 @48mm 2.8)
©pjoleham, Murfreesboro, TN



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