Camera Picture Profiles
what are they? Why would you use them? What do they do for you as a photographer or videographer?
So I have been exploring my Canon 70D more in depth and looking at some of the functions outside of my normal photography taking actions. I felt that other cameras might perhaps appear to have bigger, brighter, clearer images than those I was getting from my 70D. So instead of getting a new camera, i decided to see what my current camera could do.
I have been exploring long exposures with and without filters (another post to come later), and the last couple of days I have been investigating the Picture profile settings on my camera.
These are found (and I will speak from my camera the 70D) in the back display menu from the main menu.
Now all cameras(DSLR’s and mirrorless, as far as I know ) regards of make or marque will come with a number of factory optional Picture profiles (to be called CPP’s from now on).
These will be, but not limited to, Auto, Standard,Portrait,Landscape,Neutral,Faithful,Monochrome, and the 70d has three user def.1,2,3. Now these can be set manually by adjusting the settings given when opened, or you can transfer from downloads to PC to Camera via USB (I will go through this procedure later).
Now I am no Technobob, and I didn’t have a clue where to start with this, I knew for example that I wanted to sharpen my images and contrast them and …..Well you get it, but the thought of having a setting/s that I can just flick on my camera and it’s all there without wasting time fiddling with the sliders was just too much for me. So I started looking on the internet for some help.
So now I think you may have grasped what they are? I guess you might ask why you would use them. Well as I said just before, to improve the picture IQ or I like to experiment, create, give a different mood, or just improve on the basics that the camera can offer me. They are a very effective tool within your camera. There is also a good body of people who say that it also reduces your post production time in front of a PC or other electronic device of choice. Reducing the time spent making adjustments is my no.1 priority. That’s got to be a good thing right?
Videographers use them extensively to create real film feel video, or to add something more t the raw video that comes straight from the camera manufacturer’s settings. And why not? that’s why we all take photographs and video, to give the viewer a new perspective on what they are looking at.
CPP’s, as I mentioned before, you can make your own, and this is fun, but I wanted to know before I started creating what sort of settings give which different looks to images. The best way to do that is to have a look at some, what I call ready-made CPP’s. They are available on the internet.
One photographer that caught my eye (not just a videographer) is Kevin Wang . He has created around 20 CPP’s that are more than just experiments of marginal changes in the final image.
Canon themselves, of course do produce some extra profiles to compliment the ones you already have and they do have full instructions and help on downloading and installing them on your camera, it helps if you already have the most up-to date DPP already, but again you can download for free from the Canon web site.
Whilst investigating the profiles already available I also found 69 Canon picture styles , plus a selection from Marvels film collection, giving you a nice cine look to some of your videos or images. They also walk you through the download and install process and explain what all the different profiles do for each shot.
I have produced a “small” selection from Kevin Wang to give you some idea on how Camera picture profiles can change the “feel” of your image in stills photography. If you click on the images below it will enlarge it will give you a full screen viewer and you will be able to identify each CPP!
So I used a coke tin, the subject being coloured and having clean defined lines and I maintained the light in the room at the same level throughout the process of taking the images (nothing to scientific). All the images were taken with the same basic settings except the Camera profile, a time consuming job, especially as you realise that I did three different catalogues of Camera profiles so I could see and choose the best ones that suited my desire. Approx. 250+ profiles. Don’t forget these are straight out of camera and converted to JPG for the web. Nothing else done to the image when I imported them to Lr5.7.
The other thing I learnt very quickly was the adjustments inside the profile,see pic below;
Each Camera profile will have it’s own set of different levels of Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, and Colour tone. Whilst I was in the process of loading them into my camera via the Canon software as directed by Canon, i could clearly see the difference in the images certain levels would make to an image, a quick learning curve. Still nice not to have to make all the adjustments myself , as it’s already been done. What no one seems to have done is a comprehensive photo catalogue like the example above. You will find bits here and there, but when I was faced with 169 profiles in one catalogue I decided that it would be better to view them in picture format!
So they are done, well the pictures anyway, I just now have to name the files to the profiles, trouble is I can see where people don’ t bother, as once you have found a set of profiles you like to work with then you leave the rest. A job for a rainy day I think.
So I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at Camera Profiles and don’t forget you can create your own once you have had a play with the levels, or even use a pre set one as a starting point and then tweak it for an image you are looking for.
I am currently trying them out to get the exact set of three that I am happy to have in camera 99% of the time for those needed occasions.
I hope you try this out and even maybe share some of your images with profiles you have tried!