Photography Techniques?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MelodyMusic, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. MelodyMusic

    MelodyMusic TPF Noob!

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    Hello Everyone,

    I am fairly new to the world of photography, and that being said, I bought my first Digital SLR camera one week ago.

    I have been testing it out randomly to figure out what each setting is capable of doing, but I would like to use the settings for brilliant photos, as opposed to pictures which would mean nothing, really.

    I had two specific questions in mind, and if need be, I will post sample pictures I found on the Internet for clarification.

    1) If anyone has seen a professional portrait of someone up close, they will notice that the person's face is very soft, glowy, and almost smooth like velvet. The pores of the skin are not at all visible, and there is an even 'flowy' feel to the texture of the skin. However, their features are clear, for example, their eyes sparkle and are in high focus. How is this so? Is this the work of a camera alone, or specific lighting techniques are used in the setting where the photography is taking place? Or is this the work of editing software, and not the sole outcome of the camera?

    2) When looking at pictures taken of streets and high-traffic areas, I notice a very cool effect which is apparent in many pictures, and that is where the light fixtures give off a 'star' effect. For example, the light pole on a major intersection does not show the actual light-bulb lighting the area, but it shows a 'pointed-star' effect for which the light is shining. What settings must the camera be set at for a picture to turn out like this? Or when cars are speeding by, they are not caught as cars in the photo, but are instead showcased as 'dangling colourful' lines. Is this the same outcome due to the 'lights' effect?

    I hope my questions make sense, it is quite difficult to put my questions into words when I've seen them from pictures.

    Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

    - Melody
     
  2. enufced904

    enufced904 TPF Noob!

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    To answer your questions (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):

    1. This is done post processing using your choice of software, given it has the ability to do so. I for one do not know exactly how to do this.

    2. The "star" effect could possibly used from some sort of lens filter. There are several out there that create 4,5,6 etc pointed stars. To answer your question regarding cars, I believe this is done by have a slow shutter speed (longer exposure).
     
  3. choudhrysaab

    choudhrysaab TPF Noob!

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    1) i have a Canon XSi and for that camera model I downloaded some picture styles from Canon's website which includes Studio style Portrait shot. It sort of softens the picture when you take it in that mode but I believe what you're trying to achieve is done mainly through photo editing softwares.

    2) if you leave the shutter open for a certain amount of secs then you can get the "star" effect from the street lights ... make sure the camera doesn't shake when trying to achieve this effect.

    this is all my opinion as i'm NOT an expert.
     
  4. MelodyMusic

    MelodyMusic TPF Noob!

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    Thank you to the both of you!

    Regarding the shutter speed, what mode must the dial be set on, and as a simple guide, how much should the shutter speed be set to? (As you all can tell, I am totally a newbie!) I also have a Canon SLR.
     
  5. Stosh

    Stosh TPF Noob!

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    1) there are soft focus lenses out there, but software can handle this just fine.

    2) star effects on high contrast light are usually 1 of 2 things (or a combination). Special filters can be purchased to make the stars (of various points) and also the blades of the lens' iris can make the effects. If you shoot wide open (the aperture blades don't close at all), there will be no stars from the blades. When the blades close down they usually don't make a perfect circle which will cause stars because of the diffraction effects the sharp corners have on light entering the lens. The number of points on the stars will be related to the aperture blades.

    This star effect is happening in every single picture to a degree, it's just that when you have "normal" contrast situations you won't notice the stars. Lights at night are many times more bright than everything else around them that you're taking a picture of, so the effect is much greater.

    Here is an example of a shot with a star effect taken by my recently. There is no special filter. The blades of the iris created this effect. You can only see the effect on the street lights because of their very high contrast. It's not noticeable anywhere else.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. MelodyMusic

    MelodyMusic TPF Noob!

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    Thank you to everyone who has taken a shot at answering my question.
    I will definitely try to take a picture given the advice you all have posted, and I'll be sure to post the picture up...
     
  7. boogschd

    boogschd TPF Noob!

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    that i think is done in post-processing .. usually with adobe photoshop or lightroom

    you can use a cross screen filter for the stars?

    though i didnt use a filter yet i got the effect here:

    [​IMG]


    for the "colourful lines" - do a long exposure at night time (better mount your camera to a tripod) ... a second or two should suffice.. depending on lighting conditions

    something like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. MelodyMusic

    MelodyMusic TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all :):)
     
  10. MelodyMusic

    MelodyMusic TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so having failed attempts at achieving this effect, I am back for some more sound advice!
    I was aiming for the 'star light' effect and didn't achieve it at all. Here is what I did:

    I tried this out, using a light-bulb as the source of light, and I was sitting far from it, yet zooming in ever-so slightly. I used the AV dial mode, I used the M dial mode, with all different ISOs to experiment, hoping to find one that helped, but never achieved the effect! :( I even set F to like 11, hoping it would help somewhat. Still nothing.

    This may sound annoying, but could one of you please walk me through a step-to-step instruction, starting with the shooting mode I must select, right when I turn my camera on, and what to do after? I really want to learn this effect, but I was unsuccessful at my own attempt.
     
  11. boogschd

    boogschd TPF Noob!

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    hmm... nikon d60 right?

    theres an option in the retouch menu that might help

    retouch -> filter effects -> cross screen
    [​IMG]
     
  12. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Go on a street, set-up a tripod (or something similar to stabailze the camera), and point your camera at a lamp post against the blackened sky for a long exposure. That's more contrasty and will more likely display the effect. A bulb indoors is going to bounce light off walls and the ceiling, reducing contrast. Try stopping down even further, if you're just after an example.
     

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