Photography HeptagonI’ll see Rod Deutschmann’s Hexagon ( and raise him one triangle. Result? A Heptagon. A seven-sided shape that includes everything I discussed in my previous post ( on Deutschmann’s idea of a Hexagon, but adds the other in-camera controls we have available to us. Using these other controls wisely gives us an even greater chance of achieving images that we love that require no post-processing. Just think: Be Photoshop Free! The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has the "Color Creator" tool to adjust your image's colors.

Until I had the idea of visually representing the addition of these other image controls most cameras have, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a heptagon. If you are on board with the idea of, as Deutschmann calls it, the Hexagon of Creative Choices, then you are going to love the The Photographic Heptagon: Processing Your Images In-Camera. Though “getting it right in-camera” is by no means a new concept, it wasn’t until I started following Rod’s posts that I really committed myself to the idea.

When Color Creator is selected, this is what appears in your viewfinder.

I never was a big, obsessive post-processor of my images, but I did, typically, do something to each one I took that I thought I might use in a photo book or on my web site. It may have only been a little exposure boost, some opening of shadow areas, or increasing contrast, but it still took time, especially when you end up “touching” each of the 800 selects from your vacation collection of 1,500 images! Another thing that changed dramatically how I deal with my images was the introduction of Wi-Fi to my photographic workflow. First it was the Eye-Fi Mobi card with my Canon 60D and then it changed to built-in Wi-Fi in my Olympus OM-D E-M10. I found I less frequently even took my images to my laptop and Aperture or Lightroom. No, instead, I copied them to my iPad. As I was by this time on the road to “no post-processing,” I often did nothing to the images I had on the iPad. Occasionally, I would bring an image into Photogene4 or Snapseed and make minor adjustments. Mostly, I just cropped them!

All cameras have the white balance tool. Some include the ability to select specific Kelvin temperatures.

OK, so what does that have to do with The Photographic Heptagon you ask? Everything! If your goal is not to have to work on your images after they are taken and baked into an image file, then it behooves you to do as much as you can to expose your image in-camera as you visualize the final image. Though part of this has to do with the good, ole Exposure Triangle of aperture, ISO, and shutter speed just to get the balance of light you are after in your image, it also can be influenced by the absence or presence of light controlled by external controls such as flash, a polarizer, or a fader (ND filter). And, finally, you have color and contrast controls built into your camera. These are controls often overlooked by the casual photographer. In fact, many photographers don’t even realize they are there. They are, though, what I add to the Hexagon to create The Photographic Heptagon.

The Heptagon: the 7th GroupWe, therefore, have three categories of controls to help us get our image the way we want it in-camera:

  • Exposure Balancing Controls: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
  • External Light Controls: flash, polarizer filter, and fader (ND Filter)
  • Color & Contrast Controls: white balance, saturation, sharpening, contrast, and hue

In future posts, I will elaborate on the second and third categories, as they really mean that you can make images in any light, under any conditions. Knowing how to use these controls will only help you grow as a photographer. And, yes, at first, it will take you more time to get the images you want, but with practice, the use of the controls built into your camera or added using flash and filters will become second nature. I like to compare this to learning how to drive a car. Remember when you first got your license and how everything seemed so terrifying as you took to the wheel on your first solo drive? Do you worry about those things now? Heck, do you even think about them? I wager the answer is no because all of the “how am I going to remember all of this” things are now second nature to you. Apply that to your photography and look forward to all the time you are going to recapture by not needing to post-process you images! It is really quite liberating to be Photoshop Free!

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