In your digital camera’s menu, you can probably find options to tweak processing features, such as color saturation and contrast, adjusting the default processing settings. You can control how your camera processes a picture by changing options like these:

  • Sharpening: A process that boosts contrast to create the illusion of sharper focus. Tweaking this option can be dangerous. You can easily add more sharpening in a computer photo editor after the fact, but fixing an overly sharpened picture (as shown in this figure) is difficult.

  • Grayscale: Many cameras offer an option that creates a grayscale photo (see this figure). Keep in mind that you can’t go back after the fact and add the original colors back to the image. You can easily create a grayscale version of a color image in a computer photo editor. Most photo-editing programs offer one-click filters that do the job.

  • Sepia-toned: Your camera may let you take pictures in a sepia tone, using a single color to shade, rather than the grays of a grayscale photo. The same caveats for grayscale apply here, too — you can use image-editing software to make a color photo sepia-toned, but going the other way can be quite difficult.


Because every camera applies processing changes differently, you need to experiment with your model to see whether you want to deviate from the default settings.