The following shows how with the raw file, I discovered the real underlying composition strength of one picture, and by spending time with it, found many different ways to enhance this particular composition. If all I had was the camera's JPG, I never would have discovered this, unless perhaps I had my camera set up for it ahead of time (which BTW would have been completely wrong when compared with my usual way of shooting). This was an extremely candid shot, taken through my car window as a big cement truck rolled by, so how could I possibly have known how to set my camera up ahead of time?
|JPEG Straight Out of Camera (SOOC)|
But for this shot, I decided I wanted the opposite - don't care so much about the detail under the truck, but would rather emphasize the rear lights*, and have the rest of the picture darker. Keeping in mind the Auto Lighting optimizer only applies to the JPG output (not Raw), we're afforded the freedom to do as we please with lighting situations such as this in the super-wide latitude of the raw file.
* The red rear lights, along with the distant traffic light really make this composition - they happen to fall on, or very close to the grid lines. Placing emphasis on these lights while darkening the rest of the picture really gives the whole thing it's composition strength.
|DxO Highlight Tone Priority|
Another nice trick in DxO Optics Pro is Camera Body simulation - the color profile for every camera body in the DxO database is available, so if you don't like the look of your own camera, you can make it look like you used another! The uber-expensive Leica M body is one of these, and it's known for having a deep, rich color profile, so by selecting it, I obtain a slightly darker picture, sacrificing enough shadow detail, while having the nice deep look of the Leica M camera, all the while strengthening the composition in the way I wanted to.
|DxO Camera Body - Leica M|
|Photivo - Highlight Color Lift & Micro-Contrast|
Now, for the amazing Polarr software for Chromebook. It too includes manual lens correction (not the same as DxO per-packaged lens correction), along with everything else you'll need, and it's amazingly well thought out, and runs very quickly. To get it, you don't need to buy a Chromebook; you can simply use your existing computer (Windows, Mac or Linux), download the Google Chrome browser, set up a Google Account and download the Polarr App. Then if you do buy a Chromebook, everything you do within your Google Account will show up in your Chromebook, and vice-versa! Notice how I warmed the picture with Polarr by adjusting the White Balance below:
|Chromebook Polarr - Warmer White Balance, Micro-Contrast & Reduced Exposure Value|
|DxO One Click HDR|
Yes, I'm convinced that above all, photography is art, and to get better art that stands out from the mediocre, you have to learn how to "work it" in the "digital darkroom" - and that's raw file processing.