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Photos seem to be lacking "umph"...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by MrKal_El, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    I admittedly am VERY new to editing...and I am using Olympus Viewer to start to learn the ropes before getting Lightroom.

    My normal settings on my E-M5 are
    iEnhance LOW,
    Auto White (Warm OFF)
    Sharp -1
    Contrast 0
    Gradation Auto
    RGB 0
    RAW, Super Fine
    Noise Filter LOW
    Hue & Saturation untouched
    Shading Comp OFF

    What I have noticed is many shots after doing some editing to "Lightness" or Fill-Light and playing around w/ Contrast and Saturation, look much better IMO, compared to the OOC JPG's.

    While I do like editing, it really takes a bit of time, and honestly I don't have much of it.

    Of course I know what looks good to someone is subjective, but what do you guys think I should adjust to have my OOC JPG's match the edited ones a bit closer?

    (I will try to take some good examples later today)

    Thanks again for the help guys.
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I think we really need some examples to visualize what you are communicating. Or you can try to find a copy of the Lightroom 4.2 beta with the new "Umph" slider. :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Your settings look alright (though I would turn Noise Filter off, myself). Most likely your problem is in exposure. Check your histogram... are you tending to find the bulk of the histograms weighted to the right (overexposed) or the left (underexposed)? If so, then adjust exposure to fill in the dynamic range better.
  4. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    White balance, sharpness, contrast and gradation settings won't affect raw files in the slightest. They're settings the camera uses to produce a JPEG from a raw file. In almost every case, I let my camera cook the JPEG for me. Luckily, the Olympus' raw edit feature lets you try different settings on the same exposure, time and again. I make heavy use of that. (-:
  5. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    This may be controlversial - I'd forget any notion of PP, work on getting it (exposure etc.) right in the camera and use the in camera JPEGs, but buy a decent monitor (probably spend as much as the camera cost at least) and calibrate it.

    Transformed my view of the world (literally).
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Don't know if I'd bother using Olympus Viewer to "start to learn the ropes before getting Lightroom". I'd just get Lightroom and jump in. If you want to learn processing, learn it with a good program.

    Apart from Ned's comment on the histogram, there are 2 other things you can do. First, you can also turn on the highlights/shadow display as well as the histogram in LV Info and cycle between them using the Info button. While the histogram gives you the information about where the luminance values are falling in your exposure, the highlights/shadow display will actually show you where you're blowing highlights or clipping shadows and you can decide whether or not that's a problem for you in that shot. Some highlights like the sun if it's included in the shot, or specular reflections from chrome car parts, or light sources in the frame, are always going to be blown and you shouldn't worry about them. Underexposing to avoid blowing out that sort of highlight will just end up underexposing the important parts of the frame and that will lose you "umph". I find both the histogram and the highlights/shadow displays useful in different ways.

    Second, in the D menu of the Cog menu set, there's an item called "Live View Boost". If you set that to "Off" then the effect of exposure compensation will be seen in the viewfinder/on the screen when you start adjusting exposure compensation. That's a great aid to visualising how the finished photo is going to look. If you're interested in making sure a particular part of the frame is exposed well, then watching the display change to show the effects of exposure compensation as you dial it in will probably be a great help to you. That can really help you to get the exposure right for the part of the frame that is important to you and then you can adjust the rest of the frame in processing to achieve the final result you want.
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    1. Exposure is key to getting the most out of any shot

    2. Post-processing has always been part of photography - JPG is the equivalent of a photo lab doing it all for you with the difference that you can tweak settings globally, shooting RAW is doing all the development yourself. And it's stupid easy to do (no harder than tweaking JPGs) and will often not require anything other than the use of a preset.

    'Getting it right in camera' still leaves the potential advantages of shooting in RAW untouched. I still shoot small JPGs alongside the RAW files, because most shots will not need post-processing. But when you run into unfamiliar situations, or unique moments that you don't quite manage to catch (for me the big one was Antarctica - the amount of contrast/whites in the scenes were not kind to the meter, sometimes requiring +1 EV, sometimes requiring more, sometimes wanting negative exposure compensation), RAW will let you save the image.

    I'm most familiar with my 5DII's files - the straight out of camera results can be absolutely gorgeous, stunning detail, great tonality, color and range, but I can still squeeze that much more out of the files with a good RAW processor.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Totally agree...that's why I recently change my monitor to an IPS model...love the difference...
  9. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    If you're using Olympus Viewer it will show you the RAW file as modified by the in camera settings; there won't be any difference between RAW and OCC JPG. AUTO gradation actually does effect the RAW file, because it drops the base exposure by 1/3 stop. Also, because it brings up shadows, a scene that isn't high contrast can look a little flat.
  10. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    I actually d/l the Beta late last night and tested out one of the images I used earlier and same thing... Needed adjustments in saturation, highlights and vibrance etc...
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Usually, what you call 'umph' amount to mainly high contrast and high saturation.

    Gradation=Auto decreases contrast. Change it to Normal. Then either increase iEnhance, or increase Saturation, and look at increasing Contrast. Just be careful not to overdo it - it's easy to end up with images that look cartoonish due to extreme color tweaks.

    In the end though, Lightroom is a much more flexible tool than the camera's own JPEG processing engine, so there's only so much you can do in the camera.

    • Like Like x 2
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Good catch! I didn't notice that he had Graduation on Auto. That definitely MUST go!
    • Like Like x 1
  13. 250swb

    250swb Mu-43 Regular

    Yes pretty controversial since almost all decent photographs in the history of photography have had some post processing done to them, even if only a bit of dodging and burning to adjust the tonal balance of the image. Nature rarely matches the photographers envisioned image exactly.

    But I agree with your suggestion for getting a decent monitor. It is always a good idea to make sure the basic's are covered, and the first thing may be to make sure that the OP's monitor is calibrated. It doesn't matter how good the monitor is, not many arrive properly calibrated but have default settings to impress the owner with outlandish colour and contrast, not deliver accurate colours and contrast.

    The other simple thing that can deliver 'umph' rather than altering the universal contrast of the image is to boost the mid-tone contrast only. You probably need Lightroom for that although it is easier in Photoshop using 'Curves'.

  14. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I find curves adjustment a tad easier in Lightroom, particularly if you want to apply a universal adjustment to a group of photos. But both ways work fine; just a matter of personal preference. In any event, curves are/is a good tool.
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I've been a professional photographer back in the film-only days, and, while I'd strived everyday to get it right in the camera ... I always needed to burn, dodge, adjust the contrast of the paper, et cetera. Every single professional photographer I knew then and today ... try as they may, does not get it "right" in the camera.

    Ansel Adams spent as much time in the darkroom as he did in capturing the image.

    Yes, try to get it right in the camera, but post processing is as valuable as a light meter as a tool to enhance one's images.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Not to go on a tangent, but even if you want to match nature/reaility (as I generally do), you have to post-process, as the camera's response to light and color is rarely in sync with that of the human eye.

  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, but I think Mr Botak's point (correct me if I'm wrong, Botak) is that the OP will likely benefit more from the camera's JPG processing than from his/her own RAW processing. Either way the image needs to be processed, but the camera may do a better job at it than somebody with little or no experience in post-processing. Not everyone knew how to develop in the dark room back in the day either... many took their film to photo labs.

    That said, I would start with the best in-camera settings then just do a little "touch-up" in post to better it. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  18. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I agree with that thought process. As such he should probably shoot both Raw and JPEG and use the JPEG as an example/benchmark for tweaking the RAW files. After proficiency of tweaking to JPEG he can easily tweak the RAW beyond what the in-camera processing can attain. (If that is what is he desires. Otherwise forget the above and just shoot JPEG.)

    • Like Like x 2
  19. Pap

    Pap Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    Fleetwood, PA
    This is only my opinion but looking at the two flower images they appear to be oversaturated and have a bit too much contrast. I know in today’s world of “Vivid” folks believe this is what they see but frankly, no they don’t. The detail on the flower petals is almost non existent. If you are seeing a lack of “punch” in these two images it is your monitor I believe.
  20. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Which flowers are you talking about?
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