Q The colors you're getting out of your D70 are awesome. Did you tweak the color saturation setting?

A The way I get rich pleasing colors has a lot of variables. First I underexpose nearly all my photos (-0.3 to -2.0) While editing I lighten them if necessary. Just as washed out highlights are a sign your exposure is too bright, so are light (weak) colors. Next I spot meter for 95% of my photos. This helps ensures what you want to emphasize is correctly exposed and rich in color. Then there is White Balance. Often I shoot with the white balance on -2. This makes the colors warmer and pleasing to the eye. (unfortunately, most cameras don't have this fine tuning. if you chose 'cloudy' or 'shade' it will made it warmer too, but may be too strong.) If you want good colors you have to understand WB and often readjust it for the lighting you are shooting in. Also I shoot in Adobe RGB color space. This has more colors than sRGBI or sRGBII which are the factory preset on many cameras, (many cameras don't have Adobe RGB). Finally the saturation comes last. Depending on the light it was shot in, (IE overcast, shade, direct sun, etc) I apply no to a little saturation while editing. My camera is set on “0 saturation” boost. Digital is different from film in some ways but no matter which you use you will get better results with less effort shooting it right and doing just minor editing later.

In conclusion, quality doesn't come easy and just boosting saturation will not get you good consistent results.

 

Q I'm a new Nikon D-70 user, do you have any recommendations for getting started?

A There are many options with this camera. Some important things to play with are Menu>image optimization>custom. This allows you to change the camera's presets for contrast, sharpness, color space, etc. Also there are 25 options in the CMS menu, you should learn what they all do and customize it for your shooting style. Next i highly recommend shooting in the RAW(NEF) format and editing with Nikon capture or the new NX software.

Q I'm trying to get into freelance photography/writing, but I'm not really sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or advice based on what you've experienced?

A Where to begin with becoming a freelance photographer...  i'll tell you where i started, the local library.  I did a photo show there and about 50 people came. I made lots of mistakes and learned alot. Next i did a little bigger show and made a simple website.  A few shows and many many moons of hard play later, i felt ready try to publish in print.  Again, starting small.  I just kept taking baby steps, everyday. I have a list of things to do with everything from "Make business cards" to "learn how to use a flash". Just keep crossing out ones and writing new ones. After 3 years of full time dedication i'm to a point where i could consider making a modest living by photography. However i'm still taking it slow. Not rushing allows time for my skills and experience to catch up with my goals. Also sprinting for the finish line may leave you burnt out when you get there.  I think there is a tendency to skip doing real photo shows just rely on a webpage in this digital age.  They can be time intensive and expensive, but I highly recommend doing photo shows. There is a quality of learning and satisfaction that can't be mimicked in cyber space. Other important things are to look at lots of great photos and be in a community of photographers.  Living in rural Hokkaido, my "community" is mostly podcasts, Links to my favorite photo podcast, and the local camera shop owner.

In Summary.  Keep taking baby steps EVERYDAY & keep your eyes on the prize, but your mind on the moment.

 

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