Image processing in Photoshop: Basics & Links

Andromeda Galaxy
: Believe me, they don't start out looking this good!

Start with the best quality image you can!  This gives you flexibility of future crops in case your picture framing isn't perfect every time.  Unless you're a professional photographer, I recommend using the "raw" data format on your digital camera if available.  If not, use the top quality jpeg setting.

Why should I shoot at the highest quality setting, my pictures look good at the camera's lesser quality settings?

1) Reason 1: Because you'll want to crop!

The first image, below has good focus and reasonably good composition in the frame.  You may notice a distracting branch, however.  The second image shows about a 17% crop of the original.  Click on the 2nd image, and you'll see that it still looks good when substantially blown-up. 


2) Reason 2: Because it doesn't really look that good...  Especially if you're judging by the view on the back of your camera at 1.5" square ;-)   

Raw Advantage: The reason you should use your camera's raw settings is that, unless you're a pro, you're going to take pictures that need to be cropped for optimal framing.  You're going to take pictures that need significant level/curve corrections.  Shooting raw provides you with a starting point consisting of all the data that your digital camera's image sensor captures.

Photography 101 - Dick Locke

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