We were arranging some stuff on the walls and had the mirror propped in the hallway for a bit. I caught Veebs catching his handsome self in the mirror, so I had to drop everything and run for the camera. I cannot resist reflection shots.

      A usual evening after work, where human tries to relax on couch, and cats try to relax on human.

      After I took that shot Bunny successfully overthrew Veebs from the throne, and I caught him – and his reflection against the glass coffee table – making himself more comfortable.

      I had never paid attention to the reflection made against that glass. It was pretty! A mini photo-session ensued. I was also experimenting with the picture control settings on my camera. I usually shoot in “Standard” mode (equivalent of “Faithful” mode in Canons, I think) because I find “Vivid” to be way too much so for portraits, pets and people alike. The Vivid mode seems to be highly touted by other Nikon D300 users however. I think at the end of the day it’s a matter of taste. 

      But I decided I’d experiment more to confirm that I didn’t like it, or find situations where Vivid mode might be more suitable to my eyes.

      The below shot SOOC (straight out of the camera, no post-processing applied) in Standard mode (what I usually shoot in):

      I see your true colors…

      The next shot is SOOC in Vivid mode:

      …screaming through

      The colors coming out of Standard mode is pretty as-is in real life. But honestly, if you’re striving for creativity, “as-is” and “true to life” are not necessarily qualities what you want to convey. At times both can be really flat and BLAH. Tweaking with colors, tones, hues, among other things, can do a lot to enhance the mood of your work. I just don’t know if super-tweaking the vibrancy of the colors in these kinds of images apply, know what I mean? Maybe in landscapes. In portraits it just looks too garish.

      I probably post-process my Standard shots to a level with more saturation, but not at all to the level of Vivid. It’s somewhere in the middle. Usually. Depends on the lighting situation too. And the White Balance. Damnit so many variables to consider (I’ve had this camera for 10 months now, and still there is MUCH to learn). In any case, I find it impossible to fine-tune these settings in the camera. I want to have vibrant colored portraits, but setting the Saturation just one level up produces unnaturally blood-shot skin tones. I’m going to download some additional controls here, experiment with those and see if I can’t find a happy medium. The more I do in-camera, the less I have to do off-camera.

      So what do you think of the Standard vs Vivid photos above? Just curious…

      Bunny thinks he doesn’t give a flip what picture mode I shoot him in, as long as I get that camera out of his face. He’s so unhelpful.


      I like them both; I can’t decide one way or another. They both convey different feelings, so I think it’d depend on what you’re aiming for.

      I think the vivid setting makes the cat, couch, and table look really cool. The DH looks better in Standard IMHO.

      I like Bunny in Vivid, but yeah, people look a little scary. The couch, though! Looks great either way. =P

      I think both versions look great, and it just depends on the look you’re trying to achieve! I can’t believe both of them try to squeeze into Dan’s lap, though. That’s crazy! Also, my Kitty never gives a hoot about her reflection in the mirror… so strange.

      I shoot in vivid mode almost exclusively, and then when I post-process in Lightroom, I tend to crank up the saturation/contrast even more. It’s just how I like most of my photos to look, but I’m just a hobbyist. If I was doing it professionally, especially in the case of pet or child portraits, I’d definitely prefer the more natural colors, especially indoors. Might still crank things up outside a bit to amplify the green grass, etc, but I haven’t found any of your photos lacking in color at all! Mostly what I think about when I look at your pictures is how much I want that 17-55 f/2.8… :)

      First of all – great little set of photos revolving around a theme!
      Second, I do shoot in vivid most of the time. I find when I don’t, I end up going into photoshop anyway and processing my photos in such a way so they come out they same way they would have had they been shoot using vivid setting in the first place. So that just saves me some time. (Also makes me a little bit lazy.) I think the vivid reaches its limitations when trying to shoot in situations full of people. The skin tones come out very ruddy – a problem that makes me want to pull my hair out. So I usually just stick to shoot plants and animals. As far as vibrancy over all, the vibrancy and color saturation of your own photos makes me excited to look at them and (stop me if this is too weird) seem to some how reflect the energy of the animals you work with each day.

      i have to say I prefer the standard but like the others have said, i do think Bunny “pops” more on Vivid (which is nice) but DH is a little bit freaky in Vivid. :) LOVE the first pic of Veebs checking himself out in the mirror…
      But in general, I really like ALL the pics you took in this shoot!

      Nice set, but those Profiles are to be used sparingly IMO…OK for quick snaps, but not for proper work. You lose a lot of tonality and end up with a compact camera look. With Sync’ing in LR it’s easy enough to crank the Saturation if need be, and then save as Presets. Vibrance up, Saturation down often works well.
      Mary above, try using the Portrait Profile and adjust the Red Primary Channel in the Camera Calibration setting (Just below the Camera Profiles in LR) roughly +10/+15 Hue, -10/-15 Saturation. Select all the shots you want in the Grid view and you can do them all at once. Nikon reds are very strong sometimes.

      I think vivid would be nice outside with flowers and greenery….I feel it makes human skin too pink.

      Great captures!

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people go “What the hell are you taking a picture of?” only to have me show them some freaking awesome reflection shot. I think to see reflections your mind has to really explore all the artistic posibilities. It’s hard for most people because I think it comes with a naturally artistic mindset or art training. Like my professors would tell the new students who thought drawing was going to be a walk in the park “To draw well you must see well, if you can not see you can not draw”

      I love your reflection shots! Seeing your work reminds me when I was drawing pet portraits for commission for 2 years. It was fun but there is no money in it really :P I want to draw your boys lol :) They are so expressive!

      I know this is totally not what you are asking for, but how on earth do you keep your couch so cat hair-free? I’m so impressed. I’m bathing in cat hair over here.

      And, people in vivid are kind of scary, but other than that, I like the viivd shots better.

      I think I like standard better. I’m not loving what happens to your husband’s skin in VIVID mode. My preference would be to shoot in standard and then selectively add saturation pp. Making it easier to control skin tones. Of course, who needs to worry about skin tones – it’s all about the fur, baby! :)

      The first shot – You look Mah-vah-lous, Darling.

      And I love the reflection shots in the table. Cool!

      I have to agree with what some others have said. I like what the vivid mode does for the furniture and cat. But standard mode seems to be better for your husband’s skin tone.

      I’m with you — somewhere in the middle. By the way — really enjoy your discussions on HOW you do what you do. I love your work!

      I’m going to have to say… in the middle. I’d rather shoot in Standard and bump the vibrance & saturation a little bit in Lightroom than shoot in Vivid. It seems like too much.
      I love the reflection shots! They are really cool. The first one is my favorite! :)

      these are great! i love the one in the coffee table!

      Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.