Custom Picture Styles and Profiles

Canon, Nikon, and most other camera manufacturers have an in camera feature called Picture Styles. Each manufacturer has a different name for the picture styles or picture controls, but they essentially do the same thing. The picture styles will add processing to the jpeg image based on your picture style selection. An example of this would be using the landscape picture style to enhance saturation, contrast, and sharpness. I shoot RAW images files, why on earth would I care about picture styles since those edits don't actually get recorded to the RAW image file? That's a good question! The short answer is because your cameras LCD displays a jpeg image with the picture style applied. This could affect your exposure settings! Lets say you took an image with a landscape picture style. The contrast is high and your histogram on the back of your camera is saying you have blown out parts of the image. The cameras information is coming from the jpeg image on the LCD. So while the LCD is displaying you have a blown out image, you infact may not.

Not knowing your picture style, you adjust the exposure and make several more images. When you import the RAW files onto your computer you realize the best image was the "blown out" image. This is all because the jpeg with the picture style applied lied to you about the proper exposure. So what can you do?

I recommend using a flat or "faithful" picture style. This will make the image on the back of your LCD look flat and lifeless, but for the most part it will give you the best representation of the RAW image file. You can go a step further and download or make a custom picture style. Look at the Technicolor Cinestyle camera color profile. Many cinematographers use this picture style for it's ease of grading or editing. I use it because I find it gives me the best dynamic range for the LCD image on the back of my camera.

Using the histogram and highlight warnings in combination with the cinestyle picture profile, I find my exposures are more accurate, producing overall better images. If you are a RAW shooter I would look more closely at the importance of the Picture Profiles. Like me you may find you are getting more accurate exposures! Click Image below to visit Technicolor's Website to download their picture profiles.


Technicolor Cinestyle