So frusterated

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by maytay20, May 5, 2008.

  1. maytay20

    maytay20 TPF Noob!

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    I am working really hard on learning to use the manual settings on my camera. Yesterday I had a family birthday party so i took shots with manual. I was hoping to print them for mothers day presents. Well most of them turned out grainy. I just am not sure what I did wrong?? Well I know the obvious the setting were not right. Even though I have read a lot of books and information online I just can't seem to get it right. I know my camera can do it. Can any one give me any pointers of what I might of done wrong?? Also I keep getting told it is a waste to use raw it this true??? I am just learning about it both but it id frustrating that if I put my camera on manual I can use raw but if I put it on a preset it won't let me use raw. Now I had another photographer show me her Canon rebel xt and that she could use the presets with raw. You would think with the 30D being a step up from the Rebel it would do the same. Don't get me wrong I have using presets but as of right now I know I am no were good enough with manual to use it with clients.
    Here are two of the photos from yesterday. Can anyone give me a pointer on how to get better results? Maybe if I had my external flash on??
    (I also wish his diaper bag wasn't behind him but it wasn't my house or any attemp of a pro shoot)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ygrazi

    Ygrazi TPF Noob!

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    Check your ISO settings. I usually set mine to 400 indoors and 200 outdoors(I have a Nikon d50) As a general rule, the higher the ISO setting the grainier the picture will be.
    As for RAW, if you will be editing your pics, then RAW is great (but I have met ppl who didnt like it much) If you are just snapping and printing no editing involved I dont think RAW is necessary. (Am I right? anyone?)
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For shooting with RAW I would use AP (apature priority mode) and experiment with different f numbers (8 or 11 should work well and lower numbers (a larger apature) are also good)

    As for editing I think when you first start using RAW its a bit daunting and confusing to use - however it does have auto settings which can be applied in the compter - just watch what the computer changes in the settings and then play around with them and see what changes was. You get better qualities and as you can chance things like the exposure you can save more images from the bin. You also have to understand that in the camera with JPEG the camera applies some minor post processing on all images taken, however this is never as powerful as computer post processing programs. RAW has nothing applied to it in the camera you have to do it all in the computer.
    Now as for your ISO you should be able to get up to 800 without much worry (though 400 is really the max you want to get to if you can, just practice) but its key to get the post processing right. Using a noise filter as part of a program like photoshop elements or GIMP try these settings:
    Strength 10 (max)
    Preserver Details about 30% (yes you lose detail, but you can get some of it back
    REduce colour noise 25-30% (this is very much shot dependent, its the little blobs of colour - often I have seen it as red dots on some outside shots)

    After that you have other things (colour, blrightness etc) to tweak and then its time to do the last thing - the unsharpen mask - which sharpens your image (don't use regular sharpening its more crude)
    With the mask you want setting roughly like this:
    Amount - totally picture depended raise it as high as you need to to get the details out without increasing noise.
    Raidious - 0.8 - small and fine
    threashold - 2 - this helps to reduce the increase in noise with sharpening, but if you don't keep it low it reduces the sharpening too much and you don't get anything

    As for RAW vs JPEG - once I started in RAW I have not gone back to JPEG - it allows much better control over your shots and also gives better quality results
     
  4. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    the shots need better lighting, in the photos, the light is flat diffuse and not very bright.
    good lighting will give you more tonal range, better contrast, a more interesting subject,(shadows make a subject more interesting) and better saturation.
     
  5. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Ditto fightheheathens comments on lighting.

    Here's what some bounce flash will do.

    Older stuff:
    http://images31.fotki.com/v1043/photos/1/1055548/5700510/Katie07_099-vi.jpg
    http://images32.fotki.com/v1062/photos/1/1055548/5700510/Katie07_110-vi.jpg
    http://images34.fotki.com/v1079/photos/1/1055548/5700510/Katie07_111-vi.jpg

    More recent, bouncing up and to the left:
    [​IMG]

    Indoor light is definitely flat and boring looking. Use a flash that you can bounce with and point it left, right, up, or even backwards to get more control over your light. Also the minimum "safe" shutter speed for getting good kid shots without motion blur is about 1/125s. To do that with natural light indoors which is typically pretty dim even during the day you either need ridiculously high ISO which will look bad unless you have a $5000 pro body, or a ridiculously fast lens like an f/1.4 which will have so little depth of field that almost nothing will be in focus and you'll lose photos that way. Or just use a flash with whatever you've got! :)

    I gave up on shooting indoors via natural light and am much much happier with the results I get using a flash. None of the shots above were even off-camera either. Just pointed the flash head in whatever direction I needed to. My norm is manual mode at about 1/125s, iso400, and f/4. Once you start going to larger apertures than f/4 like f/2.8 you start tossing too many shots due to focus and/or depth of field issues. And once you start dropping below 1/125s you lose too many shots to motion blur from kids moving. So this is what works for me.

    The biggest thing with shooting kids though is A LOT of shooting and persistence. You just have to keep shooting because you never know when they'll make that perfect pose or the perfect look for you, and they can never do it on cue. All shots with younger kids and babies are candids.
     
  6. maytay20

    maytay20 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much! I am going to have to try those things! It just felt like I was totally blowing it but outside other than shadows from the sun being bright I was doing pretty good.
     
  7. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb TPF Noob!

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    I think the noise is fairly well controlled in the shots you posted. The EXIF data shows that you were shooting at ISO 800, of which 30D should be able to produce more than acceptable results (at least according to my reading, I'm a Nikon shooter, however Canon's CMOS sensors are reknown for there excellent high ISO performance).

    You were shooting fairly wide at f4 and the shutter speeds were 1/50 and 1/30. You probably want to avoid opening your aperature much wider because you could start running out of DOF, and so unless you were to add more light, didn't have much choice in using an ISO of 800 or higher.

    Your pictures are underexposed, and whilst this can be somewhat adjusted in post, underexposing will lead to more noise. So get your exposure right and you will have even less of a problem with noise/grain.

    The best way to tell that you have your exposure right with digital is to check your histogram.

    And if you're not happy with the level of noise in your photos try converting to B&W, it can make for a good effect.
     
  8. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I don't see any objectionable noise in either photo, and the lighting is excellent in the first one. I wouldn't change the thing in that one. If I was a client, I'd gladly pay top $ for it.

    The second one could be slightly underexposed, but I don't think by much. However, I would have backed up to get more of all of kids' heads in the photo. But that's me.
     
  9. thirrouard

    thirrouard TPF Noob!

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    Well, that's a myth. My Minolta is not renewed for it's high iso performances, but still it do as well as my new 30D....
    That's the main source of disappointment about it... I would go for a 5D if only we were not so close to a 5D mkII release... (I'm not the kind of guy who always wait for new things to release, but the 5D is 3 years old, and buying a 5D would be a big investment for me, so I just can't buy it now... the price fall is going to be huge... the 5D is greatly over rated used still now, as it's the cheapest FF anyway, but once the mkII will be out for a little more than the used 5D now...).

    Anyway, flash is good, but mostly to creat deep image in the absence of nice lightening. But when you want to enjoy a sweet but dim light, then it won't save your ass...
    I remember in my trip to Kyoto, the lightening was so nice at night, the kimonos so wonderfuls, but damn, my 7D couldn't catch anything good, and my 30D wouldn't either...

    By the way, for in street pictures, you try to keep a relativly low profile... so just forget about using a flash lol
    But yeah, a flash might be my next purshase. But I will have to decide first if I'm selling my 7D or my 30D, or both and get a pentax :p
     
  10. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    For whatever it's worth, I really like the first one. The second one is too busy for me.
     
  11. SBlanca

    SBlanca TPF Noob!

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    i would say maybe slightly underexposed...anyone agree?

    first is great though apart form this...as socrates says, 2nd seems slightly busy..

    as for the person who said "check your ISO....ISO 400 indoor, 200 outdoors..."

    i would use ISO 100 outside unless in certain situations...just as you said, the lower the ISO the less noise.
     

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