I am sure that you have all heard of the above expression many times.
What does get it right in camera mean?
When I say to get it right in camera, I take into account:
1. Photographic technique: correct exposure, good lighting for the subject, sharpness, depth of field, correct white balance etc.
2. Framing and composition: I do not like to crop my images unless I am shooting for a specific publication or layout that dictates the framing proportions. So I put a lot of effort into how my image is framed, understanding the leading lines of the viewers eye, a good balance of objects (subject) and negative space ( background), is the image for a left hand page or a right hand page or maybe it needs to be for a cover. I will always give my client a variety, full length, bias left, bias centre, bias right, the same with threequaters and close up shots.
Why is it so important for me to “Get it right in camera”
The reasons I want to get right in the camera is firstly that a technically correct image is a solid base that I strive for for all of my personal and my client photographic shoots images. A major point to make clear at the start. “I am a photographer not a digital artist or technician”.
My reasons for being a photographer are that I love to wright with light, I also love every aspect of setting up a shoot, expressing various aspects of emotion, feelings, energy, communication with my subject, expressing myself through my images.
For me if I have not achieved what I desire to see in the final image at the time of shooting no amount of post production is going to add that special magic dust to my images.
During my training to be a photographer our technical objective was to achieve a grade 2 negative ( a negative that would give an acceptable print with a good white, a good black and a good range of tones in between) or a correctly exposed image with as much detail in the highlights and shadows as was possible under the lighting conditions that we had or we manipulated the light to bring the brightness range to fit the technical limitations of the film and or processing.
This was before we get to the image content, framing, composition etc. A good building block for creating technically good images that I still adhere to today.
A good in camera image gives you a good solid starting point to build the final image from, a weak image in camera will always be a weak image and will likely cause a host of problems that need to be corrected to make the image an acceptable final image.
I for one do not have the time to do 2 hours of post production on my images. I am also finding it hard to make clients pay for the time that it takes to adjust all of the little things that were not thought about when shooting such as creases in dresses, colours that were not quite right etc, correcting or adjusting aspects of the model, skin colour texture a little curve to be pulled in a bit here or there.
Of course an other excellent reason for achieving good images in camera is the time and effort saved in post production. I like nothing better than creating images that all I need to do is a a small amount of curves to lift the contrast, some times if I am converting to black and white I desaturate and add a little colour layer and thats it. Pretty much the same choices as when finishing images in the darkroom with the choice of film stock, film developing process, choice of photographic paper and developing process.
My digital black and white:
Select an image that will convert well to black and white or shoot with this in mind i,e with good contrast, simple composition and good exposure values.
1: Desaturate the image.
2: Increase contrast using curves until there is still highlight and shadow detail.
3: Add a solid colour layer, (I choose an amber colour,)
4; Select hard light
5: Reduce opacity to c25 to 75% (depending on your subjective choice.)
6: Back in curves adjust contrast to taste.
You can decide to this as adjustment layers to save any degradation of the image.
When I first started out as a photographer way back in the 1980’s we did not have the post production program photoshop. Back then if images needed to be retouched it was a very expensive process that your average client would not pay for, it was only the big advertising agencies or top magazines that would spend the money on retouching and composite image manipulation.
So when shooting for clients we had to “get it right in camera” which meant, good lighting, good photography technique such as exposure control. It also meant finding models that had good skin, healthy hair a good figure right for the shoot whether for fashion, beauty, swimwear, lingerie etc etc. It also meant the make up artist also had to be very good to so we could not rely on anything to correct our mistakes or alter reality.
I can remember back in the early 2000’s hearing the art director of a client I was shooting a bridal wear collection for saying the words, don’t worry about this or that we can fix that it photoshop. The statement shocked me, after all of my years shooting and making sure every aspect of the images was right, which I may add takes time and attention to detail.
This was the beginning of the downward spiral of photography.
I am doing my best to keep my photography pure and not to rely on fancy footwork in photoshop or add ons, plugins etc etc to achieve my images.
If you feel the same as me regarding this and are interested in learning the true art of photography, get back to me or check out my fashion, portrait or nudes photography workshops which are all based around “Get It Right In Camera” not we can fix that in photoshop or as said by someone that teaches fashion photography workshops, “The magic of the image begins in post production”. I nearly died when I hear this..
Another image shot on film in the early 1990’s