how to make photo look high def/quality

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by lordbodom, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. lordbodom

    lordbodom TPF Noob!

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    Hi. Apologies if there is already a thread on this. I was wondering how to get extreme high quality photos that look high def. I've seen photos on the net that just has that high def look and look extremely good. no matter how much i try i cant seem to make my photos look like that. here is an example of what i am talking about:

    http://www.pbase.com/shornet/image/116715964.jpg

    i went to the same show and took same type of pictures too but my pictures came no where even as close as how high quality these look. Whats the trick to getting these look so high quality.

    Thanks
     
  2. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    It's probably just better gear, and possibly experience. What were you shooting with?
     
  3. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    it would be helpful if you could maybe post a sample of what you took.. also tell us your gear, because chances are that could be some of the issue.. for example, the pic you posted could have been taken with a $2000 lens, while you may have just been using a cheap $300 lens
     
  4. lordbodom

    lordbodom TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses. Ya i guess it could be the lens. we were using a sony a230 wiht their kit lens DT 55 - 200mm f/4-5.6. I've put some samples on flickr at:

    Flickr: lordbodom's Photostream

    As you can tell they just dont have that high quality look to them.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's most likley a combination of factors - each one contributing to the overall end result

    1) Good Gear - good camera equipment is (sadly) part of this process, some might scoff and say that lesser gear can get good results and I will certainly agree with them. But if your after the best then having the right tools for the job is going to be part of that process.

    2) Good editing skills - yep another thing that some people often like to dismiss, but it's again a key component. No matter if your working in film or digital, editing of the end result is a very important step and good editing can make all the difference. Further (and again sadly as its expensive) good editing software really does help this as well since it offers finer and more expanded editing controls - though cheaper packages like elements can do well with freeware and 3rdparty addons.

    3) Light - yep often the difference between a rubbish shot and a wonder is the lighting that you have to work with. Having good lighting (be it natural or flash based) is key to working in photography and getting that lighting is a combination of luck and skill. Many a landscaper will go to the same spot over and over waiting for that special light that is just right - its this that marks them out from the "happy snapper" who will only visit a place once and use the lighting present at the time. Yes they might get a good shot, heck they might be lucky and be there in the right light for a perfect shot, but certainly not always.

    4) And finally (though of course its really about the most important point) there is the photographer themself. Understanding the limitations of your gear, the lighting you have and what that means for the images that you can create - sometimes you do have enough light for one idea, but not enough for others - knowing this and being able ot make that choice will give you far more scope when in different situations. You might not get the shot you want, but you can get a good shot with what you have.
    This comes not only from study, but also in the field experience, books can't easily describe the exact lighting to work in for a certain shot to work - you have to be out in it, shoot, experiment and review what you get.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmm give me a sec - also have a scan through the "C&C" link on my signature whilst I'm typing away here :)
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Shot 1:
    DSC01530 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    ISO 400
    Aperture f16
    flash used

    Ok righ there we have your first problem - your aperture - its way too small.

    shot 2
    DSC01484 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    ISO 800
    Aperture f29


    shot 3
    DSC01496 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    ISO 800
    Aperture f45

    Ok notice how your shots are getting softer and softer and your aperture is going up and up (or rather down and down as the smaller the aperture the bigger the f number). Around f16 diffraction starts to take place and will lead to you getting softer images - way out at f45 and its a major problem! I shoot a lot of macro where depth of field is very small and even I don't go much below f13 most of the time and f16 is my lowest limit.
    Also the higher you take your ISO the more noise your going to get in your shots - that means even more softness to details.

    But your in good lighting so you should not need a high ISO to get that fast shutter speed. Also your aperture is way too small for this sort of work really - sure its nice to have, but at the range the planes are flying at you should not really need to be going above f8 (I would guess).

    So cut your aperture right back to say f5.6, and your ISO down as low as you can whilst retaining a good shutter speed. Those two things together should help you get a far improved quality of image to work with.

    And honestly I do like what I see in all 3 shots - good focus and good composition (I think) just marred by the softness your getting.


    Also the small apertures you have used have shown up spots on your shots (the big ones) which is dust on your camera sensor - it should not be a problem when shooting wider at say f5.6, but it is something to look into dealing with at any rate - so do a readup on camera sensor cleaning.

    EDIT
    I would also strongly recomend you get hold of a copy and read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson - it will help you understand aperture, ISO and shutter speed with more depth than can be relayed in a forum post (Because you can write a book on that yah know ;) )
    Also take a look at this website here:
    Ron Bigelow Articles

    And get a readup on: Levels, curves, depth of field, histogram, layers, noise, shadow/highlight detail, sharpening, threshold

    That should give you some good grounding in editing shots - note that even if you don't have full photoshop this lot all applies - photoshop elements is a weaker version but can do most of it and there is a range of 3rdparty downloads you can get (free) which expand on its functionality
     
  8. lordbodom

    lordbodom TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much for the response. That helps a lot. I'm extremely new to photographing and this helps me a lot. I'll keep on experimenting and see where that lands me. Thanks again for the help.
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You sensor. It has dust.
     
  10. hopdaddy

    hopdaddy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    3rd party downloads.....?????? (free)?????
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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  12. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    i really recommend reading bryan peterson's understanding exposure.

    from the 3 pictures you linked to there are some basic flaws there that no amount of lens, body, or post will fix.
     

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