Digital Photo Printing

So, how do I get the best clarity from my camera ?

1) Start with the highest quality image
  • If you shoot JPEG, you are already limited to 8-bit color depth so at least use the highest resolution available.
  • With JPEG, the in-camera RGB conversion is limited to the demosaising in your camera so take what you get.
  • PhotoShop can greatly improve even JPEG, but no program can recover the data lost in getting the JPEG from the RAW image.
  • To get the highest clarity, shoot RAW, use 3rd party demosaising software and process the images in 16-bit ProPhoto color space.
2) Use a Grey-Card to set the white balance
  • The auto white-balance is generally very good, but an 18% reflectance Grey-Card can provide a reference both while shooting and later in PhotoShop.
  • The grey-card is especially useful when shooting in other than 6500-degK light of a nice summer's day.
3) Shoot to the right
  • Digital camera sensors are linear devices while our eyes are non-linear.
  • Our eyes are more sensitive to intensity changes in shadow than bright light.
  • So, maximize the use of the sensor's dynamic range by using the full spectral range by shooting closer to over-exposure (but not blowing the highlights) rather than underexposing the image.
  • Use the camera's histogram to assure the best exposure.