Tips for Getting a Great Image SOOC

Although I confess to loving a bit of a play about in Photoshop, for some of my images I just want to be able to take them straight from camera to print without having to do much work to them. Of course, it also helps if you have a great base image when you want to go further with your editing too, that way you have extra time to spend on the image without having to do a load of boring adjustments first!) Other things, like skin tones, are always much better if you get them right in camera too.  So, my goal is always to make sure that I get a great shot straight out of camera (SOOC)  Here's my tips for getting a good SOOC camera shot: 

- Pay Attention to the Light

Before even lifting the camera to your eye, have a look at your subject and see what the light is doing to them. Make sure it is flattering (with catchlights if you want them) and check there is nothing reflecting a colour cast back onto them. Move yourself or your subject until they look good to your eye - if they don’t look good to the naked eye, they won’t look good when you see the image on screen.

- Check what’s in the frame

Try to move any distracting elements out of the way, saving you having to clone them out later in editing (My least favourite photoshop task!) 

- Set White Balance

Actaully, this is my least favourite editing task. Because of that, I do usually use my ExpoDisc for this (swear by it) and I try to set in camera. (In the event I don’t have time to do it there and then, I’ll take a shot of my expodisc after I’ve taken the image, and it then takes mere seconds to sync all the images taken to the correct white balance in processing) Then all that is required is possibly a little bit of tweaking to taste.

You can read more about the Expodisc in a recent post I wrote here. 

- Spot meter and expose for the subject.

Obviously, I want to make sure I have great exposure SOOC. I’m usually photographing people, and in particular my son, so generally I will spot meter from his cheek at +1. This way I know my subject is properly exposed. (This recent post explains how to spot meter to expose for skin

- Chimp and adjust if need be

I’ll usually check my exposure is fine by having a quick glance at my preview screen to make sure I am not blowing any highlights,  or to check if I am underexposed - if I am, then I make the small adjustments necessary to get the exposure correct.

Here's the original shot after a little bit of editing. (You can see some more SOOC and the "after" images  here if you like that sort of thing!) 

Getting consistently good SOOC images means lots less time in front of the PC, but also gives you a fantastic foundation for those that you do want to add a little bit of extra magic to, so it’s worth trying to get ALL your shots as best you can in camera!