Beware the Pretty Little Liar…

…On the back of your camera… AKA: Your LCD screen!

This applies to all camera LCD screens, not just Nikon. Please don't sue me.

First of all, I recommend shooting in RAW and developing in Lightroom to just about every student that takes one (or more) of my classes at Henry’s School of Imaging. The amount of information that is retained in a RAW file is staggering in comparison to the alternative; jpg.

The other night I had a comment from a student who had attempted to shoot RAW when they first purchased their camera, but promptly switched back to jpg. They complained that when they first took the picture, it looked amazing on their camera’s screen, but when they imported said picture into Lightroom, it suddenly changed and became bland and boring, leaving them with their work cut out for them when developing their image.

The reason this happens is that with every RAW image you capture, a jpg preview is created along with it. This jpg preview has the same processing that the camera would have normally applied, as if you were shooting in jpg to begin with. The reasoning behind this is so that you can preview your RAW images using any number of programs, even though they can’t necessarily edit the raw data. For instance, on a Mac, you can see your RAW images using Preview, even though you can’t actually edit them using that program. Think of it as a large thumbnail preview.

Simply put, you should always try and get the exposure right in camera; even (especially) when shooting RAW images. How do you do this effectively? By using your histogram, of course.

The moral of the story? Your LCD screen is a compulsive liar and can’t be trusted, but the histogram never lies!


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