Can someone tell me what Im doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sarah23, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I am still frustrated. Ive been working on trying to get things sharp, but a lot of my shots are still coming out not-so-sharp. I've been working on camera shake on my part...and I don't think thats the issue. Am I just using too slow of shutter speed? It doesnt seem to matter if I use 1/80 or 1/500...they all kinda seem soft.

    Like these of my son:

    50mm
    f/8.0
    ISO: 200
    SS: 1/80th
    [​IMG]

    50mm
    f/8.0
    ISO: 200
    SS: 1/125
    [​IMG]

    I focus right on his face...and tell it which point to focus on so its not like the camera is choosing there it wants to focus. I dont know what Im doing wrong. Am I just being too hard on myself, or do these just SUCK? I mean, I know they arent professional grade or anything like that, they were just me and Noah at a park and me playing around...but I was still TRYING to get it to be a good, sharp picture.
     
  2. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    I think they look pretty good, perhaps try a shutter of 1/200 or higher though.

    And of course you can always sharpen them up a little in PS for a little extra sharpness.
     
  3. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Why are you using f/8.0? If you are using the 50mm for outdoor portraits, I would set it to f/2.8. Thats the sweet spot on that lens! :) f/2.8 will also give you more shallow depth of field, which will help eliminate those background distractions. Then lock that focus on the eyes and snap.

    Dont worry about getting the whole body in the shot either. If you get closer to his face, it will connect the viewer to him more. And have him look at the camera!

    Then before you post to the web, micro sharpen using unsharp mask at 150, 0.3, 0. Lets see where that gets you.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I wanted to get all of his body in focus, and when I use something like 2.8 I get even worse results, even when I focus on his eyes. I dont know if its just because he moves around so much or what.

    I got the whole body because I have a TON that are just his face or at least closer then these...lol...I was trying to do something different for a change. :) And he wont look at the camera...seriously...he does everything he can to ignore me when I have my camera out. He used to think it was funny getting his picture taken, now he runs from me...hahaha

    And I did sharpen them a little with the unsharp mask...still didnt really help a lot. His hat and jacket started looking OVER sharpened, and his face was still soft. I guess somehow the focus got on his clothes.
     
  5. confucious

    confucious TPF Noob!

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    Can you get sharp results with another lens? Have you tried?

    I agree - these look a little soft to me, his face shows it best.

    Good luck, and let us know what you find out (ie: if it's the lens etc.)
     
  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Man.





    I don't see it.





    The focus looks fine. I have gone back three or four times and looked at it, reading everyone else's comments, doubting my vision. No. They look fine from here, in Delaware. 'Course they're real small . . .
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nothign like a little 25% increase in smart sharpening in photoshop. ;)

    Yours, then yours sharpened in PS using a 25% increase in smart sharpening. The difference is dramatic, even using your LOW res shot... imagine what you could do if you sharpened the original RAW picture??
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    If one wanted to get even better sharpening results, thats where tools like ACR sharpening help, or more expensive tools like NIK software's PRO SHarpener v.2.0 for even better sharpening results. Using the right tool for the right pic is important... no one tool gives best results under all conditions.

    BTW, you think all those photos that POP right out at you on the professional sites all come out of the camera looking like that? Nope... you need to post process to get the BEST out of each picture. ;) :)

    No its not. F/2.8 is not even *close* to the "sweet spot" ("Sweet spot" referring to the aperture where any particular lens gives it's sharpest results). Most lens' sweet spots are in the F/5-F/7 range. Find out what it is on YOUR lenses and use that info to your advantage. ;)
     
  8. Clutch

    Clutch TPF Noob!

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    Honestly, I'd think shooting even at 1/80th shouldn't pose a problem when hand holding. That usually doesn't occur until you get to about 1/30th and slower. Now if you have an unusual amount of shake in your hands that may go to 1/60th but you're still fast enough on your shutter speed I'd think.

    Having said that I haven't seen anyone address the composition of the images. The first image has that bench sticking the little guy in the side of the head. Move him (or you) around a bit to those plants I see on the right of the image and open your f/stop to 2.8 or so blur it and you've got a much more pleasing and far less "busy" background. It can make a world of difference.

    Again somewhat the same with the second image. There's a door frame coming right off the top of his head and that splash of red truck in the upper right corner is distracting. Again a "busy" background.

    A well thought out and simple background simply leaves the eyes nowhere else to roam in the images except for the subject. Try it yourself... feel how your eyes move around an image... or if they lock and stay on the subject. Just like a backdrop in a studio setting which is normally uncluttered and simple so too does a simple, uncluttered backdrop work for outdoor portraits.

    While PS can help fix a problem in an image I think as photographers we constantly seek the kind of image that simply cannot be improved upon from the way it was originally shot.

    Finally, always check for a smudge on your lens or protective filter!
     
  9. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yay! Photoshop saves the day again.
     
  10. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Oh geez, I do not want to get into a "I know more about lenses than you do" war, and I dont want to hijack this thread. If the F/5-F/7 range is the sweet spot for your lenses, thats awesome. I personally find 2.8 sharper than 1.8 when doing portraits and when shallow dof matters. Thats all I meant. :)
     
  11. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I agree, this is NOT a well composed picture...but thats why I just asked about the sharpness and now the rest of the issues with it. :sexywink: Like I said, I was just at the park and trying to work on getting a SHARP picture, not trying to work on all the rest of the things that go into a good photo. :)

    Thanks for the comments though, as always. :thumbup:

    I do have a question....obviously with a bigger aperture, I will have more background blur, but when I was all of the PERSON on focus, not just the face, what is a good setting? 2.8 tends to still make some parts of his body out of focus it seem like....but then 8 makes him and everything else more in focus...so should I try something like 5.6 or somewhere in there?
     
  12. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    2.8 works great when you have a someone who is sitting still for a picture and WANTS to be photographed. But my little guy RUNS from the camera (which is why he isnt looking at the camera in those pictures, he got distracted by a truck for a moment so I took the opportunity to shoot some) When hes running all over, or even just move a lot, 2.8 tends to make his face even more blurry because by the time its got the focus set on his eyes and I press the shutter, he has moved more then an inch (or whatever the sharp depth is at 2.8) and then something like this shoulder or his ear is what is in focus. :p
     

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