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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 5 of 51

Menu Settings for JPEG Shooting

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

5. Menu Settings for JPEG Shooting
If you opt to shoot JPEG, you can still control how the image is processed using picture settings and picture styles. Learn how to use different presets for better JEPG results straight out of the camera.


Lesson Info

Menu Settings for JPEG Shooting

as I revealed in Lesson two of this module in J Peg mode, the images processed in the camera. Now that means to get an image looking the way you want it. In terms of things like tone, color and sharpness, you have to tell the camera how to process it, and you do this by the shooting menu. I'm going to start in a menu option that is typically referred to as picture settings or picture styles. Now all cameras differ in the specific options available to you on the terms they use. But in most cases you will find some preset options as well as an option for your own custom settings. Most of the time, the presets will be all you need. They're generally easy to apply by simply matching the name of the preset to your subject. For example, if you're photographing a landscape used a landscape reset, which will enhance vivid colors such as red and green. Increase contrast. Apply a medium level of sharpening If you photographing a portrait. The portrait preset will adjust the color to capture natu...

ral looking skin tones, reduced contrast and set a medium to low level of sharpening. So as not to accentuate skin blemishes. Usually there are also some creative options, such as monochrome for black and white, and see PIA, which gives up all the world the look and feel. Once you've gained a bit of confidence in using the picture settings, you may want to start experimenting with your own custom settings. Now all of the presets are based around a standard set of controls, which typically brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation you and sharpening. And in the custom option, you get to play around with all of them. Increasing brightness will deepen gradations in the highlights but subdue shadow tones. Reducing brightness has the opposite effect. Reducing contrast will produce softer tones. Increasing it will produce denser shadows and brighter highlights or harder tons. Clarity has a similar effect. Contrast by making edge detail more pronounced but without affecting the gradation of shadows and highlights. Saturation and hue affect color. Increasing saturation makes colors look more vivid, while the lower saturation value will make colors appear softer. Hugh is used less often but can be reduced to add red, which might work nicely for skin tones or increase to give colors a yellowy tinge. Finally, there sharpening well, that's one that pretty much does what it says on the tin. Increasing sharpening will enhance edge detail while reducing it will soften edges. Now my advice is not overdo sharpening in camera because an over sharpened image looks very artificial and sharpening is one adjustment that can be added later if needed, even in J Peg mode. As you experiment with picture settings, remember, photography is art and look and feel is subjective. Last to say, there's no right or wrong here, the best settings of the ones that work for you in that they produce photographs you are happy with after creating the look and feel you want. Next, you have to tell the camera the quality of output you need, and this will depend on what you going to do with. The image. Quality determines the amount of compression applied in this set by the Image Quality menu option. In most cameras, there were three settings. Fine, normal and basic. As always, the exact terminology or depend on your camera fine sets the least amount of compression for the highest quality image. The lowest setting basic a high level of compression is applied, which gives you a small file size with a low quality image. Normal sits between fine and basic Now, unless there's a compelling reason. Otherwise, I recommend shooting at the highest quality. Setting, after all, is always possible to reduce the quality of a high quality file. But it's not possible to increase the quality of a low quality file. You may also have the option to reduce the actual size of the image by reducing the area of the senator essentially the number of pixels a camera uses to create it. This will be in a menu option labeled file size and again, most cameras provide three options. Small, medium and large large uses a whole sensor, all the available pixels, while the medium and small settings use only part of the sensor, with a small file size being around half the pixel count of the large setting. Most of the time, I would always select the largest image size, and this is especially true if you want to print your pictures of any reasonable size. That is a foreign bigger, but it's not always necessary if you know absolutely, for example, that you're only ever going to use your photographs for posting to the Internet, and you don't need a large file andan this example. The medium option will generally be big enough. But in my mind, the vice versa rule applies again. That is, it's far easier to reduce image size and retain quality, and it is to try increasing in mid size without compromising quality. That pretty much covers the menu settings for shooting in J peg mode. Like I said, there are no right or wrong options here. It's down to personal taste and how you intend to use the images you create. The important thing to remember is in J peg mode. You're pretty much stuck with the image you get out of the camera. So I urge you to really get to know these settings so that before you press the shutter, you know that what you're going to get is the look, feel quality of image you want

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


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Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!