Canon Picture Styles

Picture Styles are extremely flexible. Canon has set the parameters for the five predefined color Picture Styles and the single monochrome Picture Style to suit the needs of most photographers. But you can adjust any of those "canned" Picture Styles to settings you prefer. Better yet, you can use those three User Definition files to create brand new styles that are all your own. If you want rich, bright colors to emulate Velvia film or the work of legendary photographer Pete Turner, you can build your own color-soaked style. If you want soft, muted colors and less sharpness to create a romantic look, you can do that, too. Perhaps you'd like a setting with extra contrast for shooting outdoors on hazy or cloudy days.

The parameters applied when using Picture Styles follow. Figure 3.23 shows exaggerated examples of the first four (color photo) attributes, as applied by Picture Styles (your real-world tweaks may not be quite this drastic, but lesser modifications are more difficult to represent on the printed page):

■ Sharpness. This parameter determines the apparent contrast between the outlines or edges in an image, which we perceive as image sharpness. You can adjust the sharpness of the image between values of 0 (no sharpening added) to 7 (dramatic additional sharpness). When adjusting sharpness, remember that more is not always a good thing. A little softness is necessary (and is introduced by a blurring "antialias" filter in front of the sensor) to reduce or eliminate the moiré effects that can result when details in your image form a pattern that is too close to the pattern, or frequency, of the sensor itself. The default (0) level sharpening was chosen by Canon to allow most moiré interference to be safely blurred to invisibility, at the cost of a little sharpness. As you boost sharpness (either using a Picture Style or in your image editor), moiré can become a problem, plus, you may end up with those noxious "halos" that appear around the edges of images that have been oversharpened. Use this adjustment with care.

■ Contrast. Use this control, with values from —4 (low contrast) to +4 (higher contrast) to change the number of middle tones between the deepest blacks and brightest whites. Low contrast settings produce a flatter-looking photo, while high contrast adjustments may improve the tonal rendition while possibly losing detail in the shadows or highlights.

Canon 550d Sharpness
Figure 3.23 These sets of photos represent the main color image Picture Styles parameters: sharpness (upper-left pair); contrast (upper-right pair); saturation (lower-left pair); and color tone (lower-right pair).

■ Saturation. This parameter, adjustable from —4 (low saturation) to +4 (high saturation) controls the richness of the color, making, say, a red tone appear to be deeper and fuller when you increase saturation, and tend more towards lighter, pinkish hues when you decrease saturation of the reds. Boosting the saturation too much can mean that detail may be lost in one or more of the color channels, producing what is called "clipping." You can detect this phenomenon when using the RGB histograms, as described in Chapter 4.

■ Color tone. This adjustment has the most effect on skin tones, making them either redder (0 to -4) or yellower (0 to +4).

■ Filter effect (monochrome only). Filter effects, accessed by pressing the DISP button, do not add any color to a black-and-white image. Instead, they change the rendition of gray tones as if the picture were taken through a color filter. I'll explain this distinction more completely in the sidebar "Filters vs. Toning" later in this section.

■ Toning effect (monochrome only). Using toning effects, also accessed by pressing the DISP button, preserves the monochrome tonal values in your image, but adds a color overlay that gives the photo a sepia, blue, purple, or green cast.

The predefined Picture Styles are as follows:

■ Standard. This Picture Style, the default, applies a set of parameters useful for most picture taking, and which are applied automatically when using Basic Zone modes other than Portrait or Landscape.

■ Portrait. This style boosts saturation for richer colors when shooting portraits, particularly of women and children, while reducing sharpness slightly to provide more flattering skin texture. The Basic Zone Portrait setting uses this Picture Style. You might prefer the Faithful style for portraits of men when you want a more rugged or masculine look, or when you want to emphasize character lines in the faces of older subjects of either gender.

■ Landscape. This style increases the saturation of blues and greens, and increases both color saturation and sharpness for more vivid landscape images. The Basic Zone Landscape mode uses this setting.

■ Neutral. This Picture Style is a less saturated and lower contrast version of the Standard style. Use it when you want a more muted look to your images, or when the photos you are taking seem too bright and contrasty (say, at the beach on a sunny day).

■ Faithful. The goal of this style is to render the colors of your image as accurately as possible, roughly in the same relationships as seen by the eye.

■ Monochrome. Use this Picture Style to create black-and-white photos in the camera.

You can use the Monochrome Picture Style even if you are using one of the RAW formats alone, without a JPEG version. The EOS T2i displays your images on the screen in black-and-white, and marks the RAW image as monochrome so it will default to that style when you import it into your image editor. However, the color information is still present in the RAW file and can be retrieved, at your option, when importing the image.

Selecting Picture Styles

Canon makes selecting a Picture Style very easy, and, to prevent you from accidentally changing an existing style when you don't mean to, divides selection and modification functions into two separate tasks. There are actually two different ways to choose from among your existing Picture Styles.

One way is to choose Picture Styles from the Shooting 2 menu and press Set to produce the main Picture Style menu screen. Use the up/down cross keys to choose from the nine choices. (Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, and User Def 1, User Def 2, and User Def 3 are shown in Figure 3.24; the rest appear as you scroll.) The current settings for each Picture Style are shown on the right half of the screen. Press Set to activate your choice. Then press the Menu button to exit the menu system. You can see that even

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

Are You Frustrated Because Your Graphics Are Not Looking Professional? Have You Been Slaving Over Your Projects, But Find Yourself Not Getting What You Want From Your Generic Graphic Software? Well, youre about to learn some of the secrets and tips to enhance your images, photos and other projects that you are trying to create and make look professional.

Get My Free Ebook


  • bisrat
    What is sharpness,saturation,color tone in rebel t2i?
    8 years ago
  • Anke
    What does piture style button mean on canon 550d?
    10 months ago

Post a comment