| By Ian “Gizmo” Richards |
A common cause of poor-quality digital photos is the lighting conditions present when the photos were taken.
While there’s no magic solution for photos that are already ruined, with the help of some clever software you can get superb digital photos from near-impossible lighting conditions that would normally be regarded as impossible.
Digital photography’s dirty little secret
Digital technology has certainly brought about a revolution in the cost and convenience of photography. But amid all the hype about megapixels, image stabilization, and other technological wonders, there’s little mention of digital photography’s relatively limited ability to correct areas that are too bright or too dark.
This weakness is present not only in digital photography but also, to various degrees, in other digital media. Digital TV has a similar problem, and even audio CDs are challenged when reproducing volume ranges from very soft to very loud.
The problem lies not in digital technology itself but in the implementation of the technology. That’s good news, because it means we can expect enhancements over time. For example, when plasma TVs were first introduced, they were almost laughably poor at reproducing highly illuminated areas. Today’s models have improved greatly. Similarly, LCD TVs have always reproduced black and dark tones poorly, but the latest models give quite acceptable results.
Digital cameras have also improved, although most mass-market models still have serious limitations when reproducing scenes with stark contrasts in lighting. For example, try photographing a white Persian cat lying in the sun on a black velvet lounge. Almost certainly, all the details of the lounge or of the cat will be lost — and quite possibly both.