Fiddling with a DSLR

Our friend Lou Ann purchased a brand new spiffy Canon 40D and was kind enough to lend me her old Canon EOS Digital Rebel. It’s clear that I have a lot to learn about how to use a DSLR, and how to do post processing. So this is the first of what may be come many “lessons learned” posts.

I took Simon out last night to play baseball with his Spiderman bat and ball. I took the camera along to snap some photos. This was at about 5:30PM, so the sun was low and the light was nice and soft. I learned two things last night.

  1. Pay attention to shadows! Of about 70 pictures that I took, maybe 15 were keepers (in my book – others may beg to differ). Of those 15, I only thought 3 or 4 were worth posting for the world to see on Flickr (again, others may disagree!). Many of the pictures were discarded because of shadows. Either he was facing the wrong way and his face was in shadow, or more egregiously, my shadow was in the frame distracting from the picture. It’s something I didn’t think of at all and didn’t really notice looking at the camera’s LCD when reviewing pictures.
  2. Despite the good light, I didn’t set the camera correctly to get the vibrant colors that I really want when taking photos. I didn’t do any post-processing initially, and everything looked a little washed out. Kelly responded to my twitter complaint this AM and suggested that I fiddle with the saturation.

I followed Kelly’s advice (thanks, btw!) and increased the saturation in photoshop to create more vibrant colors. Mouse over the image below to see the difference a little saturation enhancement can make (IE6 users won’t see an image – look at this one on Flickr. Oh and download a better browser).

So my question is this. While I prefer more vibrant colors in my photos, how much saturation is TOO much saturation? If I move that slider to the end of the spectrum, I can get an image that is clearly too saturated. My problem is that my eyes have a hard time distinguishing when that threshold has been crossed. Any suggestions?

1 thought on “Fiddling with a DSLR

  1. I love the more saturated colors. I keep the saturation boosted some in camera and then fiddle more while post processing. I’ve desaturated a few photos, but for the most part I find a do less post processing with the in camera boost.

    As far as how much saturation is too much, I think it’s a matter of personal opinion. I’ve seen photos from professionals that I think are over saturated that other people love. Another thing to take into account is your monitor. I’ve been doing more and more work on “glossy” displays and I find things appear less saturated overall. I’m sure this will have some impact on how my pictures look going forward.

    I’ve been playing with a DSLR for over two years and I still think there are a lot of lessons for me to learn. It’s addicting.

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