By March 5, 2013 0 Comments

Creative JPG Shooting Modes

I’m a longtime raw shooter. Perfect WB. Perfect Exposure. Perfect tonal range. Perfect everything. Perfect for corporate photography. But perfect can sometimes be boring.

Then I got my Lumix GH3 camera, and soon discovered the Creative Control mode.

Sample jpg in creative mode

I started playing (did you notice I said playing) with the built in creative presets. Things like:

  • Expressive
  • Retro
  • High key
  • Low key
  • Sepia – most cameras have this
  • Dynamic monochrome
  • Impressive art – my current fave
  • High dynamic
  • Cross process
  • Toy effect
  • Miniature effect
  • Soft focus
  • Star filter
  • One point color

Set things up right

In this creative mode, you need to set up file size and quality, ISO, and white balance just like you usually do. But ….. you also need to shoot jpgs (or jpg + raw together).

This part is important!

If you have your camera set up to capture raw files only, you’ll see the preview and then when you open that raw file, the effects disappear into thin air, and you’ll be left with your perfectly boring raw file. You can’t easily recreate these effects from your raw file unless you like to spend an awful lot of time in Photoshop or Snapseed. And really who wants to do that!

Sample jpg in Impressive Art mode of the Lumix GH3

And here’s another cool thing I discovered

You can use those same creative presets for video!!

Wow, my Canon 5D Mark 2 can’t do that. There are no creative controls on that camera, even in jpg mode.

What about other dSLRs? Some dSLRs have scene modes, sepia and black and white, but I’m not sure I’ve seen any with these highly stylized artistic settings. (If you know of any, let me know in the comments.)

Get the same look for stills and video

So now when I create my hybrid eProducts I can shoot stills and video using those same funky artistic settings, and that means that I don’t have to do anything to match the files when I’m building my eProduct. They easily blend together with the same artistic look.

In the video I show a hybrid example where I used the Impressive Art preset on a recent shoot. I think it fits the subject as it’s kind of got that grungy style. This kind of look probably won’t appeal to the purists out there, but I kind of wanted to have fun pushing boundaries.

Sample jpg in Impressive art mode of the GH3


So that’s how my Lumix GH3 turned me into a jpg shooter.

If you have a mirrorless camera, or even a point and shoot camera, have a look inside your menus and see if you have any of these creative controls.

And when you find them, use them, because you’re going to have a whole lot of fun!

Do you ever use these artist modes? Leave me a comment.

About the Author:

With over 20 years as a pro shooting editorial, sports, corporate and industrial photography, Marlene Hielema has become comfortable with the craft of digital output. As a photo and video tinkerer and troubleshooter, Marlene enjoys relaying the practical uses of photo and video hardware and software that you might not find on the manufacturer's or software publisher's websites. Thousands have seen her work on YouTube and her popular site where Marlene teaches photography and photo editing online, in the classroom, and one-to-one. Find out more about what Marlene can help you with here on discovermirrorless, as well as and

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