By John Lechner
Set your Quality & Image Settings
We are all in a search of that amazing photo, the one we will be proud of, the one we will annoy our friends and family about for years to come telling them that "this is my photo".
But what if you got that photo, it is mind blowing, the colours perfect, the framing wonderful and you want to print it as a massive glass print but the file your camera saved is only good enough for a Facebook post?
Well, the short answer is that I don't want you to ever have that problem. So right now we are going to change two key settings on your camera and then leave them there.
As we prepare our camera to take that stunning photo, we need to make a few more setting changes.
Quality is one of the things that’s critical if we are talking about printing one of your fantastic photos from your next holiday, having it on the wall and being proud to show your friends and family.
To do that, you need to make sure you get a great shot. That’s important. But there’s no point having a great shot if we end up with a file we can’t use because it’s too small or the quality is too low.
If you are using a Nikon camera like I do, there are actually three main quality settings that you choose from when shooting images. These are the image format settings you need to familiarize yourself with.
NOTE: Most Canon cameras will give you a choice between RAW (including M RAW & S RAW) and JPEG (JPG).
1. RAW- This image quality setting allows you to change or adjust the white balance or exposure of the image after you shoot it.
RAW is what I use, but it is not what I recommend at this stage, as it will require you to learn new software like Lightroom or Photoshop. RAW files can also be massive, mine average around 40MB each.
2. JPEG- This format partly reduces the size of the image file. When you’re shooting in JPEG, most cameras have several options for you to choose. These quality options can be:
a) Fine- This is the highest quality setting that you can have on your camera. This is the best option that you need when you want to blow up your images or have them mounted on a frame or hanging on your walls. The compression ratio for the image is 1:4.
b) Normal- This is perfect for images that will be printed out as invitations or cards. The compression ratio for this is 1:8.
c) Basic- This is the lowest quality setting. This is not ideal when you want to have your images blown up. However, it works well for images that you want to post on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. The compression ratio for basic is 1:18.
When you are shooting in JPEG, one thing that you need to remember is; the higher the compression ratio, the lower the quality of the image and the lower the file size.
3. TIFF- This is the uncompressed image format that causes no change in the quality of the image or photo. However the file size of this is very large. Images taken in TIFF format can also be edited with other software or apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Photo/Aperture (for mac users).
Most camera models also give you a choice of JPEG file size.
In Nikon it is Large (L), Medium (M) and Small (S).
For Canon Large (L), Medium (M) and Small (S1, S2, S3).
It is my recommendation that when you are shooting, you always shoot JPEG Fine, Large . This is the best compromise between easy processing and having a file that has the potential to be printed in a large format.
iOS - in the native app this will default to the highest settings. Apps like VSCO give you more flexibility with your settings
Android - Depending on your device and version of the OS you may be able to adjust your size and quality settings. If so, set them to the highest quality and size settings.
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Have a great day
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