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TOPIC: Newbie need some advice

Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4710

  • Johan
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Hello there,

I'm just starting with photography. Fireworks will be the main subject, but I'd like to do some nature, macro and other photography as well. I find it usefull to test on different subjects, so I can get to know my camera and the settings better.

Since it's pretty hot here know and the sun is pretty high at the sky, I find my pictures often too white and overexposed. That's why I've made some pictures later on the day, at 21:30, when the sun was going down. It gave a nice effect in real life, so I though it would be nice to shoot some pictures of the cows that walk nearby our house.

There are some shots with potential (composition could be better, but I'm trying to get to know my camera settings better before seriously thinking about great compositions). Though the light was great, I still find the pictures not too great. It looks kind of flat to me.

This is one of the images which looks flat and low contrasted to me.
s14.postimg.org/s88lrig1d/test_0811_3_copy.jpg

Though I think it could be a pretty nice picture. I've done no editing, only resized it and exported to JPG.

I shot in AV mode (Canon EOS 700D with a 18-135 IS STM lens).

F/5,8
1/125 sec
IS0-400

Lowering the exposure (now at 0 ) doesn't make it a better picture either.


It would be great if someone could give me some advice.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4713

  • Gabe
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Hi Johan,
Welcome! So first things first. If you're shooting in RAW (which you should), the image will need to be processed. The image will be flat straight out of the camera so you'll have to do some post processing.

On to the image...its not all bad. The light isn't too harsh and can be dialed down in post processing. Im assuming this was taken sometime in the late afternoon/early evening on a clear day? This will produce the deep shadows and bright highlights. If your exposure is correct, it should be no problem in post.

I have to deal with clear skies and bright sunlight here in California. What has worked for me so far is shooting in aperture priority along with spot metering. I will take my shot and, if needed, jump into manual mode and correct the shutter speed to get the proper exposure. Something else I will do is get the exposure settings for my subject using the spot, then recompose using those settings.

I dont think I have any examples on my Flickr. If I find one Ill upload it and break down my setup
Last Edit: 3 years 4 months ago by Gabe.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4721

  • Conor Casey
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Hi Johan and welcome to the forums. :)

Johan wrote:
Since it's pretty hot here know and the sun is pretty high at the sky, I find my pictures often too white and overexposed. That's why I've made some pictures later on the day, at 21:30, when the sun was going down.
Right, first thing's first. You're definitely making a good decision to shoot later in the day when the sun is going down because the light is always much more pleasing. Shooting during the day in bright sunlight, particularly in Summer, will almost always present issues with contras and thus ruin your photos. I find overcast days can work well also.


Johan wrote:
This is one of the images which looks flat and low contrasted to me.
s14.postimg.org/s88lrig1d/test_0811_3_copy.jpg

Though I think it could be a pretty nice picture. I've done no editing, only resized it and exported to JPG.
The key to why you're getting less than punchy images is in the sentence above. The "I've done no editing" part is a clue. :P If you're shooting Raw, which you should be if you want the best images, the photo needs to be processed in order to bring it to life. Otherwise, it's just a flat digital negative.

If you shot jpg, which you shouldn't (apart from family snaps), the camera has already applied the processing to the image. This may not be sufficient to give punch to the image, which is why you should shoot Raw, because you can always add contrast at a later date on the computer.

Processing is an essential part of digital photography and shouldn't be thought of as cheating. It's a key part of the process and is no different to taking an image into a darkroom and processing it that way as in the days of film. If you need a program to edit photos, Adobe Lightroom is very good and excellent value these days for what you're getting.

So, the short answer Johan is if you want to add punch to your images, you will very often have to do it in post-processing. :)
Conor Casey
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Last Edit: 3 years 4 months ago by Conor Casey.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4722

  • Johan
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First of all, thanks for welcoming me.

As told I indeed shot the photo in the evening, around one hour before sunset. I always shoot in RAW. I turned the JPG off because that would be just a waste of space on my SD Card.

I have the Lightroom 5 trial (30 days) version, so I could try around tweaking the images a little bit. Though it's hard to find the right balance and get to know which slider I should and shouldn't touch. It often becoms 'too much'.

In my opinion your eyes don't get drawn to the cow, which in this particular photo the main subject. The trees and other stuff drags too much attention. Maybe you don't agree with me. I'm not sure what just makes the cow more 'pop' out of the image. I tried playing with the black and shadows, but then it looses detail very fast, or it gets more grey, which is not really what I want either.


@Gabe: Could you tell me more about spot metering? I've never heard of it before. Maybe it could be interesting for me too.


Hopefully you understand what I'm saying.. The grammar is pretty poor, I know.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4723

  • Gabe
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Spot metering is a feature on most DSLRs. You can move your focus point to a specific location and the camera will give you a reading for that point only. Greg probably explains it better then I can.



As for editing, everyone has there own style. I will give you mine as a starting point then you can make your adjustments from there.

White Balance: Start with Auto. If you like it, move on. If not, go back to As Shot or make adjustments.

Highlights: -30
Shadows: +15 - +20
Whites and Blacks: Click Alt (dont know what it is on Mac) while clicking the slider. You will see white or black dots on the screen. Try to move the slider until they start to disappear.

Look at the image. If it feels right, export and your good to go. I live in Contrast, Blacks, Whites. I prefer my images to have heavy blacks. So what I use may not work for you. This is a generic edit, each photo will vary. There is so much more you can do in LR to edit your image but thats another topic.

Lastly, about your image. For me personally, I would have preferred a tighter crop. this will eliminate the negative space and keep the focus on your subject.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 4 months ago #4734

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Hope you dont mind but I took your image and edited the way I normally would. You can click the attachment and see the settings I used. I see what you mean about being drawn to the surroundings and not the cow. Simple fix...crop the photo. Eliminate some of the negative space around your image. Ideally, you want to crop in camera by zooming in or moving closer. Im not sure what aperture this was shot at but I would use a wider aperture to blow out the background and give some separation from the main subject.
Attachments:
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4754

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Thank you Gabe. I don't mind at all. I'll try it again with a wider aparture, to see if the subject comes out better. Also the fact that the left side of the cow is so light and the right side is pretty underexposed makes it look I lattle weird I think. The right side seems to lose detail because of this. I will post a new version of the photo, made with the tips and advice you gave me in the posts above, next week.


Another question. The 27th of august I am visiting an demonstration for retailers. They will show their fireworks for the upcomming season there. Besides the fireworks itself I want to shoot photos of the product that are displayed inside.

Here is an example of last year, shot with a smartphone.





I want to photograph all of the new products. The problem is the lightsource from above. I'm not sure what kind of light it is, but it will sure be diferent from shooting in daylight.

What will be wise to use as settings in such a situation?
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4755

  • Conor Casey
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Hi Johan,

I assume you have looked at Greg's video on how to shoot fireworks?



About shooting other products, it would be ideal if you could take the products and shoot them in a studio where you can control all the lighting. Two things that I would watch would be the white balance and the background. The white balance in situations like these is often key because it can so dramatically change the look of your photos. Shoot Raw and you can alter it later.

The background is important too because you could have everything set up, only to discover that the background is distracting. For product photography, it's best to keep the beckground clean. I would shoot at a wide-aperture.
Conor Casey
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4768

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A wide aperture would indeed be a good idea, to get the main subject in good focus and blur the other objects. I don't have the option to shoot the products on another place then where they are set up.

I like to shoot in AV-mode, but yesterday I was shooting in some shadow area's outdoor, and the photo's all get blurry because a too slow shutterspeed. What can I do to prevent this? Since in the place where I'll shoot the products there's limited light, I am afraid that they'll become blurry too!
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4773

  • Tim Shrimpton
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A couple of things you can do:

Adjust your ISO. The higher the number the more sensitive it is to light, so you can shoot at a faster shutter speed even in lower light.

Shoot in manual. Shooting an underexposed image and then brightening it up in Lightroom usually works fine (obviously, the worse it is, the more noise and other garbage gets in there doing it this way). Set the shutter speed for a faster click and give it some light after the face.

Use a tripod. If your subject is still and light is not changing, put the camera on a tripod, use a remote or a delayed shutter (my Nikon has a nice brief timer of 2 seconds after shutter press so that the camera has stopped moving from my pressing the button; I'm assuming your Canon has something similar). Let the shutter go for as long as it needs to to get a good exposure.

The third option is the most ideal because the lower the ISO and the more properly exposed an image is, the easier it is to "punch it up" without having noise and such in the image.
Last Edit: 3 years 3 months ago by Tim Shrimpton.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4811

  • Johan
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Yesterday was the demonstration. I took some nice fireworks pictures, but the product photo's as on the picture above are dramatic. I shot in AV mode with aperture 5.0 and ISO 1600.. I though the camera would adjust the shutterspeed right, but the pictures are all pitch black. The shutterspeed is probably the problem, since it's around 1/4000.
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Newbie need some advice 3 years 3 months ago #4820

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I've added an example in the attachements.

I've tried adjusting the ISO and aperture in situations with the same sort of lightning, but that's not the problem. A slower shutterspeed makes the images brighter, but I have to go to really slow shutterspeeds in order to make the images reasonable... then it's not possible to get sharp images because of hand shake. A tripod won't work in this situation.

What am I doing wrong?


Edit: Here is the link to the .cr2 file. Too big to attach to the message.
www.mijnbestand.nl/Bestand-CQWEUTCSRDTJ.cr2
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