Photography Tutorials and Articles

Picture Enhancement

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In-Camera Picture Enhancement

Almost all digital cameras have some sort of builtin incamera picture enhancement. It is very useful to learn about this creative feature in digital photography, especially if you shoot jpg and don’t want to do any post processing.

I am going to call it “Picture Enhancement”, as it is a good name for this function. But camera manufacturers use different name for it! As an example Nikon calls it “Picture Control”, Canon names it “Picture Style”, and Sony uses “Creative Style”!

You may ask why different manufacturers use different term for the same functionality. And my honest answer is: “I don’t know! Maybe they use different algorithms. But one thing is for sure, they cause more confusion.

What does Picture Enhancement do?

Generally speaking picture enhancement consists of several pre-settings, such as Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Vivid, etc. These presets apply certain amount of Enhancements, such as Sharpening, Saturation, Contrast, etc to the image.

Each manufacturers use different terms for these pre-settings.

Different name for same feature!

Different manufacturers use different names for Picture Enhancement
Different manufacturers use different names for Picture Enhancement

What are the uses for Picture Enhancement?

Picture Enhancement is a function that provides image styles preset in the camera, to help you achieve your photographic and artistic visions. Depending on the model, and make of your camera, there are 6 to 13 styles, such as [Landscape] and [Sunset], are available and can be used in the P/A/S/M-modes.

With digital images, you can create different impressions of the same subject by controlling various parameters of the camera, such as tones and depth of colour, brightness, contrast, and sharpness.

Picture Enhancement allows you to easily finish up the image just the way you want, by maintaining the optimal balance among these various parameters.

Picture Enhancement: Neutral Vs Vivid

Using Vivid as picture enhancement in cloudy day creates pleasing effect.
Using Vivid as picture enhancement in cloudy day creates pleasing effect.

What are the most popular presets?

As I mentioned before, there are variety of these presets. The most popular ones are:

Neutral:

The saturation and sharpness are lowered for shooting images in subdued tones. This is also suitable for capturing image material to be modified with a computer.

Vivid:

The saturation and contrast are heightened for shooting striking images of colourful scenes and subjects such as flowers, spring greenery, blue sky, or ocean views. I also suggest to use this Vivid setting for photographing in overcast days, as it enhances the doll colours and make them more pleasing.

Portrait:

For shooting the skin colour in a soft tone, ideally suited for shooting portraits.

Landscape:

The saturation, contrast, and sharpness are heightened for shooting vivid and crisp scenery. Distant landscapes also stand out more.

These are just few of the picture enhancement settings. I cover them more in depth in our Digital Photography Bootcamp Program.

How to use Picture Enhancement?

Just select the style suitable for the theme or scene you want to convey, and the flexibility of your photographic expression will be greatly expanded. Furthermore, this special function even lets you incorporate your own artistic intentions based on the selected style.

Can you customize Picture Enhancement settings?

In many digital cameras you can customize these pre-settings or create your own pre-settings. I strongly suggest to use the presets as a starting point and tweak them to your taste.

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