No matter what (digital) camera you own, if you use jpeg files (as opposed to RAW) there are 3 basic settings that you should set.
- Minimum contrast. This will usually be -2. Although your picture will look more washed out straight from the camera, you’ll capture a wider range of tones. This way, you’ll have more detail in your extreme highlights and shadows. You can put the contrast back in Photoshop (a must have!).
- Minimum saturation. Again, usually -2. Saturation is a measure of how colourful your photo will look. The problem with much gig photography is that light of only one colour is often used to light the stage, such as red. Cameras struggle to record a scene if it consists of only one colour, all the detail is burnt out if the saturation settings are high. Lowering your saturation setting means you’ll keep detail in your photo if the scene only consists of one colour.
- Minimum sharpening. Usually -2. Almost all digital cameras have a filter in front of the sensor that slightly blurs the image. This helps to avoid jagged diagonal lines in your shots, amongst other reasons. Photoshop is much better at putting that sharpness back than your camera.
If you follow the above tips, you won’t have problems with images such as these: