I'd like to create clearer, bolder pictures using my camera - a Canon G9 - as mine seem quite pale.
- Obviously many pictures are 'touched up' by enhancing saturation and light balance once the images have been uploaded, but is there anything I can do before taking the photo?
You talking colour or black & white, or doesn't it matter? Common trick is to shoot on fully-manual or aperture-priority, and under-expose by up to one f-stop. That reduces the tendancy for pictures to look washed-out, at the expense of some detail in the darker areas of the picture.
Another problem might be how your viewfinder is taking a light reading and deciding the exposure for you. If you have the light meter set to 'Evaluative', 'Center Weighted or 'Spot', all 3 will give differing exposures (I'm using a Canon IXUS 960 which isn't a million miles away from yours).
Sometimes I compose a shot and the camera decides to give me a too bright or too dark picture. To get around this I move the camera slightly to point at a darker (or brighter) part of the same scene, then slightly
depress the shutter to tell it to set the exposure, then keeping the shutter slightly depressed I move it back to the image I want before fully pressing the shutter to take the picture.
Excuse me if you already know any of this, I don't know how much you know cameras and light-metering.
Sadly, beyond what Martin has said above, there isn't much that can be done in camera. I would always suggest taking pictures in Color and then converting to B&W. Check out this post for more info on that process: B&W Conversion
On other thing to note, not all pictures should be B&W. Black and white is used to really show off light and dark differences. In a picture where the light range is limited (e.g. the whole frame is light or the whole frame is dark) there is little natural contrast. For the best B&W pics, choose scenes with a good amount of light and dark spaces.
Hope that helps!
Thanks Martin, Michael and Kelley! I think Martin's idea of slightly depressing the shutter might help me, and Team Turner's idea of converting from colour. I'd like to take more street scenes in black and white.
There's a wee knack to it Jonathan, that you only need to spend a few minutes acquiring: when you partially depress the shutter, it may well give a little 'beep' and also an LED may illuminate. Have a play and get used to your G9, it's a fancy camera you have.
At the risk of droning on, but it may be helpful - most of what I know about pictures I picked up from a fine Ansel Adams book "The Negative" (1981, not that old) which was written for film photography, but the principles still apply to digital. As well as being one of the photography greats, he was also a good educator, and very clearly explained how a light meter works and how it can be fooled by scenes with high-contrast such as a silhouetted person against sunlight.