Getting EVERYONE in focus- please help!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by McMommy, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. McMommy

    McMommy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seaside, Ca
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    My challenge lately has been getting everyone in the photo in focus. Usually it's siblings together in a photo, and usually I'm in pretty close. I realized that it happened when I had my lens all the way open and tried to correct it by stopping up a bunch, from 1.8 to about 7-10. But then to increase the lighting, I have to lower my shutter speed, and this is all in daylight/shaded areas with my ISO at about 400. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong, but either I can get good lighting, sharp subjects, but only 1 of 2 in focus, or I get everybody blurry because the lighting isn't right.


    What would help me fix this? These were taken at about 8:30am in a garden with high walls, in a shady area. I've had no problems taking photos of individual people there before in this lighting, only with multiple subjects in the photo.

    First missed photo:

    f/1.8, 1/1000 sec., ISO 250, center-weighted metering mode, no flash
    [​IMG]

    Second missed photo:
    f/8, 1/40 sec., ISO 250, center-weighted, no flash
    [​IMG]



    Now that I've written out, I see that I didn't adjust the ISO (like I thought I had) and that's probably my problem. What can I safely adjust ISO to when shooting in shade like this, without getting lots of noise? I tried a few with flash but it made the background look really unnatural and I don't have an off-camera flash yet, and can't get one soon. So I think the problem is ISO, but not sure exactly what small improvements I can make for that. The problem is that when I have 2 cute kids sitting pretty, I shoot first and ask questions later, adjusting what I can possibly think of quickly, and then learning from hindsight!


    Thanks!!
     
  2. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Pensacola, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    are these taken with the 35mm 1.8?

    I think that could be your problem, because from my understanding and I could be wrong but that lens is more for portrait work???

    Do you have the same problem with your kit lens?

    Also what do you have your focus area set for? center? or the points?
     
  3. CW Jones

    CW Jones TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Check in your camera manual. I know in mine there is a setting to make sure you get everyone in focus.
     
  4. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    10,348
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well.. thats what happen when you shoot wide open. It looks like you have plenty of light. I would use Manual mode with 1/60 second shutter speed, set your ISO to auto, then adjust your aperture to 2.8 or 4 (adjust as needed). When I shoot wide open with my 1.4 i can get the eyes to focus but the ears will be out of focus. Very shallow DOF.
     
  5. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    10,348
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Here is a sample I did. This was taken with f/1.4. See how her ears and my wife's hands are blurred out? That is what I wanted. Just make the number higher if you want deeper field.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. D-B-J

    D-B-J Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    9,027
    Likes Received:
    2,171
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    the wide aperture (1.8) in the first is the reason. Your DOF is really shallow at such a wide aperture. the second one was probably just a whoops.
     
  7. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You have the D5000 I see I'm not sure how high he iso goes but I get pretty good results up to 800 beyond that it gets a little grainy. I TOTALLY understand your "snap pictures ask questions later" philosophy it's a must when working with kids. Sometimes you see a scene and you'r like I have to photograph that in which case there's nothing you can do, you have to take look adjust, take look adjust. but if you know in advance you wanna shoot them in your back yard try to go out there and see what settings will work well.

    I don't know what ababysean was saying but you are using the perfect lens.

    1. Yes your way too open to have both in focus.

    2. You got it. The focus isn't the issue here I think it's probably camera or subject movement. 1/40 is pretty slow and the lens isn't VR. crank it back up to 1/100 or 1/250 and your iso up to 800. Aperture is good in this one, don't go any higher, you could even go 1/3 or 2/3 stops down.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    38,233
    Likes Received:
    5,006
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I suspect the problem is you don't yet fully understand the exposure triad, don't know how lenses work, and don't yet fully grasp how you control DOF.

    If you did, you wouldn't have that 35 mm f/1.8, and would use the 55-200mm at about 85mm for most of your people pictures.

    In the first shot (35mm, f/1.8) the girl is in front of the very thin DOF. In that shot the total DOF was about 0.3 feet, or 3 1/2 inches. 48% of that 3.5 inches was in front of your focal point (1.6") and 52% was behind your focal point (1.9"). 1.6 inches is about from the tip of your middle finger to the knuckle.

    You need to also know that focus starts to fall off (fast) as you approach those limits.

    If you had used the 55-200 mm lens set to 85 mm, f/4 and been 10 feet from the kids the DOF would have been 0.74 feet deep or 2.5 times deeper than using the 35 mm at f/1.8.

    Visit Online Depth of Field Calculator and study the figures and play with different numbers to get a better feel for how they apply in real life shooting situations.

    In #2 your shutter speed was only 1/40 and you got some softness from camera shake and the girl moving during the exposure. Noise in the image is better than subjects that are out of focus.

    By not using strobed light you're at the mercy of what light is available, and most times the natural light sucks.

    At the least you need a reflector or two. Then you need a speedlight, preferably one that can be optically triggered by your built-in flash so you can use if off the camera hot shoe.

    Vivitar | DF 383 Series 1 Digital TTL Shoe Mount | DF-383-NIK

    The D5000 has a rudimentary version of CLS but it doesn't have Commander mode allowing off camera control of Nikon speedlights in TTL.

    Using strobed light adds a level of complexity to photography, but the photographs are so much better, it's really worth learning how to do it.

    That's why pro's almost always use supplimental lighting, the control it accords makes for much better images.
     
  9. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Pensacola, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    KmH is saying exactly what I was trying to say in technical terms! haha

    I did not think 35mm 1.8 was good for this type of photo, but more close up, like head shot, or very shallow DOF photos??

    am I wrong?
     
  10. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    10,348
    Likes Received:
    2,174
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Also, if you dont care what the background looks like (you are not trying to blur it out) just use the shutter speed priority. Set it to 1/100 or faster like supraman is saying and let the camera decide what aperture to use (you set the ISO, I would use 100 or 200 if you are in a shade on bright sunny day).

    Try again!
     
  11. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Pensacola, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I think I would bump my ISO down to 100 or 200 outside too as well.

    I thought you set it 400 or higher indoors or very dark situations, like night.
     
  12. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I would not use center weighted focusing either.

    Maybe you should try the P mode in your camera for a few of these shots. Then see what the camera is using to get closer to the settings you may choose.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
getting everyone in focus
,

pictures taken with vivitar 383 nik flash