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How To: Get the Most From Your Art Filters
by Allison Johnson -  3/21/2012

Even seasoned, jaded photographers will admit that messing around with in-camera filters is addictive. The results are immediately viewable on your camera's LCD - not so in the case of post-processing for artistic effect. Sure, the results are a little on-the-fly and don't offer the level of fine tuning that even basic photo editing software does, but heck - they're a lot of fun. We've gathered a couple of tips for the PEN shooter who's art filter-obsessed.

Shoot RAW + JPEGOlympus Pen Art Filter Sample Image
Your RAW file is the image data that the sensor picked up without any sharpness or color adjustments from the camera itself. You're free to make changes to white balance, exposure compensation and color after the fact. JPEG files have processing from the camera itself "baked in." Shooting JPEG + RAW will allow you to keep an un-filtered version of your photo just in case.

Do you want to answer to your children when they look back on all of their baby photos and they've all been captured through a series of art filters? No? Keep a RAW file on hand. One caveat - you will need Olympus-provided software (or compatible third party software) to open the files. Enable RAW + JPEG in your camera's shooting menu, select your art mode and you're ready to go.

Get connected on photo sharing sites
Flickr allows users to search uploads, tags, and group keywords. Find others using the same tools you've got and see what they're doing. You'll likely find inspiration and tips no matter what you're shooting with. Try starting with a simple search.

Layers, layers, layersOlympus Pen Art Filter Sample Image
Some of the latest PEN cameras allow you to add effects on top of filters. Selecting a filter and following the menu command for more options will bring up filter-specific variations like vignetting, cross processing and star light effects.

Manual adjustments
Don't forget that you can still make certain exposure adjustments when shooting in art filter mode. Exposure compensation will help lighten or darken your image, and may help you achieve an effect that you'll like. And keep an eye on those settings while you're shooting. Accidentally leaving your camera parked at ISO 1600 outside on a bright day will produce some ugly artifacts no matter what mode you're in.

Much of what we covered here was also covered in your camera's manual. Our final tip, no matter what you're shooting with? Read the manual and familiarize yourself with the camera's ins and outs. You're bound to learn something new.