How Did I do ?? C/C PLEASE :)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PerfectlyFlawed, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. PerfectlyFlawed

    PerfectlyFlawed TPF Noob!

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    I just got done reading this book on photography tips and such...gave me a few things i was excited to get out and experiment with. My first time shooting in manual mode Went to a birthday party and thought it was the perfect opportunity.
    My point was to play around with the F stops to see what the difference was.. I wanted to see for myself what the book was explaining and try to better understand it... so please correct me if i was heading in the wrong direction.
    The larger the F stop # ie; F/22 , the more in focus and less? depth of field? for landscapes and such...and the smaller..ie; F/5.6 for more bokeh a shorter? Depth of Field... Im still trying to understand the meanings of each... ill get there.

    Anyways, I shot these all in Aperture Priority mode so that i didnt have to worry about settings the shutter speed at the time... was around 3-6 pm somewhat overcast and rainy day out at the park... all shot with my 55-200mm.

    Id *really* like to know how i did! Settings are as stated, let me know if there is something i didnt include. Also, i did a little PP to all of these tried fixing some overexposed/under exposed areas... messed with contrasts and such... didnt too too much.

    1.) 1/800, F/ 4, ISO 250

    [​IMG]
    (Couldnt help it.. the expression was priceless.)

    2.) 1/320, F/7.1, ISO 200

    [​IMG]

    3.) 1/500, F/4.5, ISO 200

    [​IMG]

    4.) 1/100, F/8, ISO 200

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The f/stop is a fractional value that represents the width of the aperture, in relation to the focal length of the lens. So...keep in mind that a high numerical value, like f/22 means the width of the aperture is one twenty-second the diameter of the focal length....ie, f/22 is a tiny hole. An aperture of f/4 is one-fourth as wide as the lens's focal length, so the f/4 means the lens is "one-fourth of the way open". f/2 means half-way open. f/8 would be an aperture whose width is one-eight the diameter of the focal length of the lens.

    Anyway...a higher numerical value means more in-focus, and what is called "deeper" depth of field zone. A lower numerical value, like f/4 or f/2.8 or f/1.8 yields a narower or "shallower" depth of field zone.

    In all of your example photos, you have managed to throw the backgrounds out of focus, and to keep the subjects, the people, within the depth of field zone. So, you did a good job of keeping the people in sharp focus, and the backgrounds blurred.

    Bokeh refers to the "quality" of the out of focus areas. What you created in these pictures is not specifically bokeh, but you are using a technique called selective focus, which is also sometimes called shallow depth of field shooting. The use of the term bokeh for selective focus is pretty common, but it's not quite the right term for what you are trying to work on with this type of exercise; you are working at understanding depth of field, and selective focusing, and you did that quite well.

    I think your post-processing adjustments look pretty good. We can see eye detail under the hat brim, and the highlights look appropriately bright, except on #3 where the sky tones behind the man are blown out pretty badly; shot #2, of the same chilkd and man, looks almost perfect in the way the sky is rendered...lovely!
     
  3. LCARSx32

    LCARSx32 TPF Noob!

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    I love the expression in the first shot! lol. Darrel's explanation of aperture and DOF is spot on. Although I slightly disagree with him on the first picture. I would have liked a slightly larger f/# "a couple stops down" so that the whispy hairs around her head would be in focus.

    If you notice in your second shot (f/7.1), the girls hairs, even those farther back on her head are in sharp focus. If you had used a similar f/# instead of f/4 in the first shot, those smaller hairs would also have been in focus and would contrast the in focus, out of focus even more. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great picture.

    Darrel, bokeh is when the background becomes like little circles of light and dark, isn't it? If I understand it correctly? Like it's starting to do in this shot:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, bokeh is a newish concept in the west...it's from Japanese language, and it refers to the quality of out of focus areas in a photograph. What you are referring to is only one aspect of bokeh, which is how a lens renders out of focus, point sources of light. THat aspect of bokeh, the rendering of OOF light sources, is what many people are beginning to refer to as "Hollywood bokeh".

    It's late here, and I'm trying to cram in a bunch of replies before bedtime, so I'd encourage anybidy who wants a definition of bokeh to look around the web for some articles,and to look at at least two or three articles, to make sure the opinions you get are factually-based. Look for articles by Harold Merklinger (sp?) and Mike Johnston. I did a post entitled "bokeh links and definitions of bokeh", so you could search for that title on TPF.

    Bokeh varies quite a bit, from lens design to lens design. Some lenses have "swirling" bokeh. Others produce cat's eye bokeh on OOF highlights. Some lenses tend to create a bright ring around OOF highlights, which most bokeh snobs dislike. Some lenses tend to
    show very strong longitudinal chromatic aberration in their OOF areas on some types of scenes. Some lenses do what is called double-lining. Some lenses have what is called "nervous" bokeh, while better lenses have "creamy bokeh".
     
  5. PerfectlyFlawed

    PerfectlyFlawed TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, D. for your input! Very useful information :) you cleared that nicely.
    Was I going in the right direction with these settings for these shots?
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think you were going in the right direction: as LCARSx32 pointed out, on the little girl, the depth of field at f/4.5 at that camera-to-subject distance and that f/stop and that lens focal length is not *quite* deep enough to ensure that her entire head is in perfect focus; however, that said, her hands on the yellow-painted playground equipment *are* in good focus,and that's a plus I think. Most people in Western (occidental) cultures dislike out of focus foreground elements at some level..an out of focus nose, or OOF hands or whatever can make people feel subtly negative toward a shot.

    In cultures from the orient, an OOF foreground element is often viewed in a more positive manner,according to studies I have read that highlight differences in visual preferences between Asian and non-Asian cultures. Bokeh is something that was only brough to the English language in the early 1990's, by Mike Johnston's articles on the subject. Lens designers, however have been working on the subject for quite some time.

    If you look at your EXIF settings, you need to look at focal length, f/stop used, and camera-to-subject distance; all three of those factors play a big part in how out of focus the background is in the final photo. For example, let's look at photos #2 and #3. #2 was shot at f/7.1, while #3 was shot at f/4.5,and it over-exposed the sky pretty badly, and I suspect you adjusted the exposure in post to compensate for the overexposure, while still rendering the man's shirt in the right tonal placement. And I suspect one of the frames is cropped a bit more than the other, since the degree of out of focus on the background elements is quite close between the two shots. So, I suspect the shot done at f/7.1 was done wither at a longer focal length than #2, or that #2 has been cropped a bit more than #3.

    How ever you did the photos, browsing your EXIF data and seeing what yields what is the best way to learn from your own test shots. As tests, I think these turned out pretty well, and there's ample info to be gleaned by looking at the shots carefully. The last photo, of the man with the hat and the pretty young wife--I do not like the bokeh characteristics of that lens at that f/stop and focal length...the f/8 rendering of the lilac bush or whatever is moving into the "nervous bokeh" category...the rendering of the OOF areas in the last shot is bad, and would probably look better at f/4.5.
     
  7. LCARSx32

    LCARSx32 TPF Noob!

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    Just when I think I understand what all aperture does to a picture, Darrel throws in something new, lol. I'm glad you take the time to post Darrel. Very informative.

    PerfectlyFlawed: I definitely think you're on the right track. I haven't done a lot (any) portraits yet myself. I find them a lot more difficult than nature or objects. There's so much more to think about; expression, shadows, not cutting off limbs/tops of heads, etc. So I think you're doing quite well.:thumbup:
     
  8. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    Nice shots. Don't care much for the compositions. ( mostly centered and the last shot the people are walking out of the frame ). Also, if you are practicing using Fstops and Depth of Field, try a short lens. Long zooms are always going to create the short depth of field background effect. Also the distance from your subject will have an effect. Try to set something up thats like feet away with your shorter kit lens, and make sure its also 10 feet from its background. Then shoot from the same spot with different Fstops and you will get a better idea and understanding of what is occuring and be able to better see a change.
     
  9. PerfectlyFlawed

    PerfectlyFlawed TPF Noob!

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    I agree with you! I didn't even notice that :/ lol But I couldn't agree more. I'll have to take my daughter back out to the park again...do some reshoots :) thanks for the C/C
     
  10. PerfectlyFlawed

    PerfectlyFlawed TPF Noob!

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    I tried doing the best I could with the area they were shot in..@ a busy city park..so with garbage cans, people, buildings and play ground equipment to sneak into the shots...I had limited areas where there was not a lot of background clutter and distractions... I even had to crop a couple. I'm sure there was *something* I could have done differently to frame the subjects that didn't catch my eye...
    The last shot with my cousin and His pregnant wife...they were sitting on the bench looking away, if I would have moved left more (which I had to crop some top and left side of the shot off) I would have gotten people and ramadas...to the right people and baloons..lol I *wish* I would have gotten further down to enphasize on her stomache...and not chop them off...but ...I didn't. Lol so oh well, leason learned.
     
  11. PerfectlyFlawed

    PerfectlyFlawed TPF Noob!

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    I'm Glad Darrel is so patient and informative with his posting ( most of the time lol) Darrel and Bitter both are a HUGE help to the noobies :) ...
    And... Lcars, thank you!
     
  12. astroskeptic

    astroskeptic TPF Noob!

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    Another consideration about the background: remember that you control what goes in the background by choosing your shooting location. The first shot is an example of one that you might want to reconsider. You're shooting at a downward angle with the inevitable result that your background consists of the ground. In my opinion, there are a few problems with the ground as a background. The first is that it rarely is attractive, although this shot is perhaps a possible exception in that the playground mulch gives a nice, somewhat uniform brown background opportunity (which is unfortunately interrupted by the fragment of playground equipment in the corner). But a technical objection to using the ground is the fact that the geometry of the situation invariably means that the difference between the nearest part of the background and the farthest part is a significant percentage of the overall distance to the subject. The implication of this is that the focus will not be uniform across the background and you'll end up with a background dis-uniformity like in shot #1. My preference is for a background at a roughly constant distance from the subject to prevent this type of effect. So for a shot like #1, I would kneel down to the child's level or perhaps lower to avoid the ground in the shot.
     

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