Almost all digital SLR’s have the capability to customize or alter the look and feel of the final image beyond the controls of: exposure, resolution, white balance, ISO, and focus. These controls are typically found in the camera’s menu selection.
Use of the Advanced Camera Controls are for photographers who are capturing in the JPEG format only. If you use the Raw file format these adjustments are over-ridden when you make alterations in your Camera Raw converter software.
Turn on your camera and open the Menu options on the back of the camera. I will review these options for Canon and Nikon Cameras separately. If you own any other make of camera you will have to consult your camera’s manual for the proper adjustments.
A note about Color Space: Canon users can set color space as a separate Menu option, Nikon users can set color space in the sub-Menu in “Optimize Image.” Either method you use remember the following rule of thumb: Select “sRGB” color Space if you don’t plan to retouch or post-process your images, select “Adobe RGB” for a larger color space that works best for retouching and post-processing.
Canon users: Select the “Picture Style” option. You have the following options to customize the look of the image file: Standard Portrait Landscape Neutral Faithful Monochrome User Def. 1 User Def. 2 User Def. 3 Each of the above presets can be further customized by pressing the “Jump” button next to the “Menu” screen. The “Detail Set” menu offers the following adjustments; Sharpness Contrast Saturation Color Tone
The above adjustments are self explanatory except for “Color Tone” which Canon describes as follows: Adjustment set to -4 means “Redish skin tone Adjustment set to +4 means “Yellowish skin tone OK, now that is cleared up….
In the Monochrome preset Canon offers the photographer the following settings: Sharpness Contrast Filter effect: None, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green; these settings approximate the filter used with B&W films Toning effect: None, Sepia, Blue, Purple, Green; why would anyone want a Purple or Green Monochrome image?Nikon users: Select your “Shooting Menu” options. Under “Optimize Image” you have the following presets (these are the menu settings found on D-200 other camera models may vary slightly): Normal Softer Vivid More Vivid Portrait Custom B&W
Only the “Custom” preset allows the photographer to alter the following settings:
Image Sharpness; adjustments are self explanatory.
Tone Compensation; adjusts the Contrast-why don’t they just call it “Contrast”
Color Mode; Option I means your file will be saved as a “sRGB file,”-for portrait images. Option II means your file will be saved as an “Adobe RGB file.” Option III means your file will be saved as a “sRGB file”-for nature or landscape images. See note on color space above.
Saturation; adjustments are self explanatory.
Hue; positive values give an increasingly yellow cast to the image, negative values give an increasingly blue cast to the image.
Experimentation with these settings is the key. Adjusting the image file output is as personal as your vision, only through a process of trial and error will you arrive at something suitable for your tastes.