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  • Brian V. Berry

When Technology Matters

A while back, I wrote a piece about where It’s the talent, skill, and experience of the photographer which allows him or her to overcome the technical limitations of the type of camera or equipment used. And I believe that this is still true… But a few weeks back, I learn a valuable lesson in leveraging the technology in my camera in lieu of using more manual techniques to maintain control of my shooting and processing.

In this instance, I was doing an evening shoot. Since my model and I had to be mobile, I did not opt to bring a tripod. Instead, I chose to drag my camera’s shutter and use the light from my strobe and other ambient light sources. As you might have guessed or expected, in order to avoid blur from camera shake at my chosen focal length of 75mm, I would have had to set my aperture to it’s widest setting (F2.8) and use a shutter speed of at lease 200 or faster. And of course, this drove my ISO to my maximum preset of 1600… No sweat! I’m shooting in raw – right?

Well…All that I can say is, “I’m glad that I also captured fine quality JPGs as well!” While there are a lot of prominent photographers who only shoot in raw format and encourage others to do so as well. There is something to be said about the efficiency of the technology inherent in the camera. You see, while working my images in Lightroom, I discovered that most of images were grainy. Didn’t remember seeing any grainy pics when I was shooting… So, I referenced them again and I confirmed that they were much better looking and not grainy at all. I was pleasantly surprised! My camera’s internal processor did an incredible job!

But, alas, I was armed with Lightroom and I can do anything to them and make them way better! Right? Wrong! In this instance, no matter what I did in Lightroom, I could not remove their grainy appearance… My JPGs were significantly better! In response to this, I changed my workflow and edited them instead. Had I not noticed this, I would have spent more hours than I wanted to, editing my raw files, while not achieving the same level of quality.

So, what is the moral of this story? While we photographers like to believe that we have a sufficient level of talent, skill, and experience to manually control our processes, sometimes, the technology can speed up these processes and sometimes, produce far better images. Sometimes, it’s better to leverage (not yield) the technology in order to help us work more efficiently.

If you have any thoughts on this article or have a story to share, I sure would hear them. In the meantime, Happy Shooting!

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