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Simple tips to
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Tips for Better Pictures


Today's e-tip:

Your camera's LCD screen
is lying to you!

Your camera's LCD Screen
is lying to you!


Photography has always been one of the most popular hobbies in the world, but is even more so in the digital era. There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but, the one that stands out to me is that of "instant gratification".

You aim your camera and press a button and you are (almost) instantly presented with the results of your creative endeavor.

With very little effort, you have "created" something. Not only that, but you get to view your creation immediately – something you couldn’t do with film (excluding Polaroid™  pictures).

Instant Gratification

A Little History...

Back when we were shooting film, the process was similar. You aimed your camera and pressed a button. But, the results weren’t instant. You had to wait for the film to be developed – and then you would get your gratification. Sometimes, the gratification was really a disappointment – not a very good feeling, and frustrating, as it took so long to find out. With more experience, you would start to become more precise about your technique to avoid disapointment. You became more careful about where you aimed your camera and about the technical issues: composition, exposure, filter(s), lighting, etc.


Fast forward to today... 

Almost all images look good on a 3-inch LCD screen, so there isn’t a lot of initial disappointment with digital.

But, that little LCD screen on the back of your camera can be deceiving - VERY deceiving. When you look at your images on a larger monitor or try to print them, disappointment can set in pretty quickly. Blurry pictures from camera shake (too-slow shutter speeds) or bad focus are all-too-common. Plus, the loss of details in shadows or highlights is very real.

One reason for this is that the LCD screen is very small – and images displayed very small hide a multitude of sins. The other reason for this is because what you’re looking at is a JPEG image that the camera has processed the way it "thinks" the image should look – which is most-often not correct. Even if you’re shooting RAW images, the image you see on the LCD screen is a "camera-processed" JPEG image.
LCD panel

Even when you look at the histogram on your camera’s LCD screen, you’re looking at the histogram of a processed JPEG image – not the RAW image you took. So even the histogram can be skewed, and inaccurate.
Histogram
The difference between film and digital is that you tend to forget your previous disappointment with digital because you get a sense of joy seeing your falsely-represented image on that 3-inch LCD each time you take a picture. It's a mixed-bag of emotions.


When you look at that little LCD screen on your camera, look at it knowing that it doesn’t show you how the image really looks.


A Tip!

When shooting, try to take fewer pictures. Learn to be more selective about what pictures you take. Resist the urge to take a picture, that instinctively you already know, you’ll be throwing away. But, take more pictures of the images that you know you like. Shoot “good” scenes with multiple exposures, multiple viewpoints, etc. You’ll never know which you’ll like best when viewing on the “big screen”.



In Summary...

Viewing your images on your camera’s LCD screen is OK, when you understand that the image is rarely as good as it looks. Learn the mechanics of exposure, lighting, etc. and you'll gain the confidence where you don't feel compelled to view every image on the LCD screen after every shot.

 

Happy shooting!



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