Nikon Camera: Picture Controls

Hello Everyone! This week in my Basic Color Photography class we learned about the different picture controls that our cameras offer. To understand what each picture control is and to see the difference between them my professor assigned us an exercise. For the exercise we had to take photographs of two different settings and for each setting we had to go through each picture control. For one of my settings I took photographs of round hay bales on my grandparent’s farm.

I take photographs on a Nikon camera, but not everyone in my class does so we have different picture controls. For Nikon cameras there are eight built-in preset controls offered on each camera, with the option of creating a custom control.

Picture controls are preset profiles that help a photographer optimize contrast, clarity, brightness, and saturation in the scene being photographed.

The eight picture controls are standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, landscape, and flat. Along with the ability to change to a different picture control you also have the ability to adjust the settings for each individual picture control.

Standard Picture Control

The standard picture control allows you to create a well-balanced photograph that has a little more punch to them. With this picture control creating a well-balanced photograph it can be said that we are seeing what we want to see, instead of what is actually there. Because of the results that photographers have received while using this picture control it has become a popular choice for photographers. As seen to the right.

Neutral Picture Control

The neutral picture control allows you to create a photograph that is the closest to the scene that you are photographing. This is achieved because the control is able to reproduce the scene’s unique color and gradation with maximum authenticity. While the scene’s color and gradation is being reproduced the control is also avoiding extreme enhancements to the photograph at the same time. With the adjustments the picture control makes it gives the photograph more of a soothing impression compared to the standard picture control. As seen to the left.

Vivid Picture Control

The vivid picture control allows you to create a photograph that has a colorful, distinct, fresh-looking image with the right amount of emphasis on your subject’s contrast and sharpening. This picture control is ideal when photographing subjects with the intent of emphasizing primary colors. When you compare this picture control to the standard control you receive a more glamorous overall impression on the photograph. As seen to the right.

Monochrome Picture Control

The monochrome picture control allows you to create a photograph with monochromatic shadings. These shadings can include black-and-white or sepia. For the exercise I used the black-and-white shadings. For this picture control you can also change the overall tone of the photograph in a way that was a formally used technique in the dark room when working with photographic paper while shooting photographs with film. As seen to the left.

Portrait Picture Control

The portrait picture control starts with a base of the neutral picture control. In addition with the neutral base the portrait picture control imparts a more natural looking skin. This allows skin tones to look more life-like, and it projects a real sense of depth allowing for a clear, authentic finish. As seen to the right.

Landscape Picture Control

The landscape picture control can be compared to both the standard picture control and the vivid picture control. Compared to the standard control, landscape creates a photograph with more intensity. When you compare it the vivid control you create more of a soothing photograph that is slightly toned down. As seen to the left.

Flat Picture Control

The flat picture control creates a photograph with minimal dramatization while preserving the material characteristics at the same time. This picture control is mostly used when shooting videos because it allows the videographer to color grade their footage. Compared to the neutral picture control this control creates a photograph with less contrast and less life than the scene being photographed. As seen to the right.

That’s all for now! I’ll talk to you all next week!

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