Getting Frustrated and disheartened

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Rachelsne, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    I know over the last few months I have not been posting regularly on here, I started a part time job that I ended up working full time hours So I have had very little time to sit down and look at the pictures I have taken recently, or even take any photographs recently too...

    A few week s ago my parents visited from England (I am in the US) and we went out and did sight seeing and I took my camera and tripod i am looking at my pictures today and I am quite dissatisfied with most of them, they all lack something.

    They have no pop, and are not sharp. I use a Canon 30d I have the nifty Fifty and the Sigma 70-300 APO DG, I use a tripod quite often but something is missing from my photographs and I am not sure how to get it. I edit with elements 6 and my monitor is finally calibrated but my pictures are definitely missing something that many other people seem to be able to archive with the same equipment. I use Flikr to such how my lenses perform but I never get anything as sharp as what I have seen online.

    I know about the rule of thirds, and I do see how it makes my pictures better when I follow it. I have a couple of good books, but I am drawing a blank.

    How can I improve.....??????

    These are a couple of pictures that I have taken and I just feel that they are lacking....

    Oh and I shoot in Raw and Manual Mode, I dont have an external flash, but that will be my next purchase

    1
    Canon 30d
    Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro
    Shutter Speed 1/640
    F/Stop 5.6
    ISO 500
    Rainy and dark day
    [​IMG]

    2
    Canon 30d
    Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro
    Focal Length 190
    Shutter Speed 1/100
    F/Stop 5.6
    ISO 320
    (ok so i didnt folllow the rule of thirds on this one) also rainy and dark-same day
    [​IMG]

    3
    Canon 30d
    Canon 50mm 1.8
    Focal Length 50
    Shutter Speed 1/4000
    F/Stop 1.8
    ISO 100
    My mum on the beach-I know I cropped her hair to close! but her eyes dont seem sharp-none of her facial features do, so I cant see that I missed focus because if I did something else in the picture would be sharp, instead of it all being soft?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Learn about your lenses. The 50mm f/1.8 has a tiny dof at 1.8. It's also a bit soft at 1.8. Stop it down to f/2.8, f/4, or f/5.6 and you'll get an insanely sharp photo even before processing. You can still get shallow DOF at f/4.

    The sigma 70-200 is probably not the sharpest lens either, but as with all lenses, using a narrower aperture will get you sharper photos. This allows the camera to use more of just the center of the lens, which barring defects is also the sharpest.

    Don't shoot wide open all the time.

    Also the pine cone is shot at 1/100 with a 190 focal length. General rule of thumb says your shutter speed needs to be faster than your focal length. With the crop factor, 190mm = 304mm equivalent FoV. You should be shooting at at least 1/300 if you're shooting hand held.

    Also, RAW files leave the camera untouched. JPG files leave the camera with at least some sharpening. It's almost mandatory to hit up your RAW files with a but of USM to get them to look crisp.

    Ed. And from the looks of it, the little bit of the woman's bangs in the third are in focus. @ f/1.8, DOF is so shallow that you'll have nothing else in focus.
     
  3. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    i really like number one... i'm gonna have a quick go at it if thats ok.. i see some edits that might make it look pretty cool.. if it works out, i'll tell you what i did...

    well it wasnt as cool looking as i thought, so I wont post it.. however, number one does look very cool if you drop the saturation down
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  4. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    On the 3rd one it looks like the camera focused on her hair (just above her eyes). You're shooting at f1.8 and pretty close to the subject, so the DOF is very narrow. I don't know Canon, but you might be able to disable all the auto-focus areas except the center, that way you can control exactly what the camera is focusing on.

    What processing are you doing? In RAW the camera doesn't add any sharpening, so you have to do it yourself. On all of my photos I usually add sharpening, then play with the contrast in the curves command, at the very least.

    Also I should add that I think you are being over critical of yourself! :)

    EDIT: Wow, these guys all type a lot faster than me!
     
  5. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    thanks.
    I do sharpen in post processing-completely forgot about the focal length and shutter speed-I had read about it previously though. I did get some pics at f/2.5 and they were a bit better, I need to shoot regularly so I can remember these things!

    What will help improve the colours? do I need to just keep adjusting the sass and contrast? or am I misssing something when i have the raw image open?
     
  6. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    please do...
     
  7. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my opinion, the first one is very good, although I would have zoomed out a little to get all of the bridge in the scene. It's nice and contrasty, but you haven't blown out much of the scene in the highlights.

    As for the second and third ones, the second does look a little blurred. This might be to do with the fact that the lens wasn't sharp, you missed focus slightly, or you used too slow a shutter speed. However, I think a little unsharp mask will fix this easily. Also, if you selectively unsharp mask the pinecone, I bet it will "pop out" just the way you expected it to. I think you missed the focus slightly in the third, and I would agree with Andrew99: Try and disable all the focus points except the middle one. Or, use a mode where you select the focus point manually.

    I'll admit, I once got a little depressed with the photos I was taking at one stage. Just keep taking, I would recommend. One day, you'll shoot a photo that takes your breath away. Not only will it look incredible, but it'll make you realise just how talented you are.

    :mrgreen:
     
  8. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    thanks.

    I do manually select the focus points but sometimes I forget to change them adn have to re take the picture LOL-I did try it on auto select but it always try to focus on something I dont want it too :) maybe i should go back to using the middle focus point for ease.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Auto select is not worth it really - I would really just sit in the middle focus point for most things and then manually focus for other creative moves. I think using the other focus points tends to only work well when using the higher end DSLRs where more of the focus points are cross types (ergo more accurate)

    I also agree with the depth of field on the portrat shot - to me it looks like the focuse has caught her shoulder - if you look there its sharp which is greatly in contrast to the face which has shifted to behind the plane of focus - I know how tricky it is for a fine depth of field (macro work) and when working like this try using manual mode and lightly rocking back and forth with the camera to really see where the plane of focus is resting.
     
  10. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    Ok I re did the fir cone with selective Un sharp mask:

    It does look better although at 100% its not satisfactory, it is defianatly better than it was


    [​IMG]

    I do want to thank every one for the comments. I needed a kick in the but to re focus and remind me what I should be doing!!!!
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like the improvement - also post up a 100% crop of the middle of the shot - that will show others how sharp the full version really is and they can comment further :)
     
  12. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    ok so I am not sure how to crop so it is too 100%-but I do have the original on flikr at full size http://www.flickr.com/photos/13280111@N06/2863567666/ just click on all sizes above the picture and then click original. It looks nasty, the compression helps it look better at the smaller size I guess.

    Really I know If a picture is soft or oof then it isnt really correctable,
     

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