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Choosing picture control #photography

A lot of cameras have picture control which can be set before you start your photo-shoot. On my Nikon D3200, it is found on the shooting menu.

It gives a number of choices:

SD standard
NL neutral
VI vivid
MC monochrome
PT portrait
LS landscape


picture control - vivid

I used vivid for this shot and you can see how bright the colours are. Vivid is good when there are bright colours like close up shots of narrowboats and fairground rides at carnivals.

CARNIVAL 2016 (118)

I used landscape at the carnival and changed the aperture for different shots. Vivid would have been better for this shot to bring out those bright colours, but instead, I added a little contrast in editing.


At a car boot sale on Saturday, I was using the SD standard setting but should have used portrait for this shot. Portrait tends to give a better colour. I had to take the shot quickly and so there wasn’t time to change the settings.

Picture Control

You just have to gain experience with picture control like everything else in photography. You have to see what works in different situations. MC monochrome is worth trying even though you can convert colour images to monochrome on the retouch menu or using your computer. You get a slightly different effect when you shoot in mono to when you retouch to mono. You can also shoot in mono and colorize using the software on your computer. Monochrome with a hint of pink is often used for artistic baby pictures, for example. Just try all the different picture control settings until you get used to choosing different ones for different shoots.

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