Capture Mode: For landscape photography RAW is the ideal capture format as it gives the photographer more control over the image in the digital darkroom. By simply changing the white balance you can make an immediate impact on the overall look of the photo. For instance, by choosing a white balance setting of cloudy, or shady, your photo will take on a warmer tone.
For Archival Purposes: The DNG format was recently created by Adobe in an effort to unify the various RAW formats created by different camera manufactures. If your software has the ability to save a file as a DNG, it is worthy of consideration. Yet, at this point in time, both RAW and DNG are acceptable archival methods for your digital negatives.
For Making Prints: By saving your completed image as a TIFF, you are using a lossless file which is capable of producing high quality enlargements.
For Email and Web Posting: A JPEG saved at 72 DPI is compressed and allows for quick web viewing, and email transmission.
Workflow: If you asked 100 photographers about the intricate specifics of their workflow, you would likely get 100 different answers. Yet, there are some basic steps that are typical when working with landscapes. Here is a 10 point checklist:
1) Apply the most appropriate white balance setting to your RAW file.
2) Convert the RAW file into a TIFF
3) Adjust the curves
4) Apply burning and dodging (as needed) Use the healing brush or cloning tool to remove any dust spots (if needed)
6) Add a small amount of saturation (too much looks unnatural)
7) Crop and resize the image to the desired print size, and set at 300 dpi.
8) Apply sharpening while viewing at 100% or “Actual Pixels”.
9) Add metadata into the “File Info” Example: “Copyright Year, & Your Name”
10) Choose “SAVE AS”, rename the file, and select TIFF.
Through the efforts of the determined landscape photographers that came before us, an enormous amount of land has been conserved for future generations to enjoy. However, there is still work to be done, and your photographs can help to make the difference. There are countless photography books, DVD’s, and websites which can provide inspiration to those who wish to find it. Yet, the easiest way to begin is to get outdoors with your camera often. Why not start right now. After all, it’s been said that the longest journey begins with a single step. I’ll see you out on the trail!