Can I fix the errors later?
As for the exhibition, no, you can’t. Overexposure is not allowed in digital photography. Even if you shoot in RAW, the capabilities of RAW converters (contrary to the assurances of the developers) are very limited in terms of pulling out the knocked-out lights. Underexposure is easier to fix, although the cost will be to increase the noise level in the shadows. The correct white balance setting is not critical when shooting in RAW – you can easily change the balance when converting. Correcting the wrong white balance in a JPEG file can be a very time-consuming, though feasible, task. However, I prefer to set the white balance as soon as possible, even when shooting in RAW. This allows me to more accurately assess the exposure on individual channels using a color histogram, and in addition, my images look more aesthetically pleasing even before converting to JPEG.
What else can be improved?
Almost all modern digital cameras allow you to customize the overall appearance of images or. so-called image style. Nikon calls it Picture Control, Canon-Picture Style, Sony-Creative Style, Pentax-Custom Image, Olympus-Picture Mode. Regardless of the name dictated by the manufacturer’s imagination, all these menus do the same thing: adjust the contrast, brightness, color saturation, sharpness, and some other parameters of the image. It is possible to choose one of the pre-set schemes (Portrait, Landscape, etc.) in accordance with the shooting plot, or create your own Bank of settings. For example, I almost always shoot nature and landscapes in the Vivid style (or similar), and I often raise the Saturation parameter to get more saturated colors, while I lower the Contrast parameter to better control complex light. If I shoot people with these settings, their faces will be unnaturally red, which is unlikely to appeal to them, and therefore the Portrait or Neutral scheme looks more preferable. For subject photography, I usually use the Standard scheme, slightly raising the color saturation and reducing the contrast, which is necessary for a more accurate color rendering. You may use any style you choose. There can be no unquestionable solutions.
In essence, image style settings mimic the choice of a particular type of film, but unlike film photography, where you were limited to a single roll of film, in digital photography you are free to set the style for each frame individually.
When shooting in JPEG, you definitely need to select the appropriate style before shooting. When shooting in RAW, it doesn’t matter. The style will only affect how the photo looks when viewed on the camera screen. I like this feature because it allows me to better evaluate the received images in the field, while I still have a chance to reshoot them; it allows me to show the images to others immediately after shooting, and also reduces the time spent on processing if the image does not need it. If you shoot only in RAW, manually convert all images and show the General public only the final result of your work, set the image style to Neutral (Faithfull) or Standard, and shoot all the scenes this way.
Now for another example.
The first image was taken in automatic mode. I saw this scene very differently.
First of all, the picture is overexposed. The trunks of birch trees and the reflection on a log floating in the lake are devoid of texture. The forest in the background, as well as the water in the lake, seemed almost black to me, and here they are of an indeterminate muddy tone.
In exposure compensation – 0.7 EV showed the details in the highlights and the shadows returned to their rightful place. But what about color? Why is it so cold? It was evening, and the lake shore was bathed in the Golden rays of the departing sun. Is it possible to make the heat up?
Exposure correction + white Balance
Can. The white balance of shade helped to convey a warm evening color, but the colors still lack saturation, and the scene as a whole lacks contrast.
Exposure correction + white Balance + image Style
That’s better! By changing the style to vivid, I was finally able to convey the fabulous atmosphere of a forest lake. The scene gained volume and depth, and the trees began to glow against the dark background. (Hover the cursor to compare with the first image.)
As you can see, the changes I made were not so significant, but the appearance of the photo changed dramatically.