Two questions about this photo

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Kevin1844, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Kevin1844

    Kevin1844 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hi Folks,
    As you can see by the fact that I have only two postings under my belt that I'm pretty green. I've been lurking for a while and trying to take in as much as possible from you guys.

    I've attached a photo I took today. The two aspects of this shot that concern me the most are two things that happen frequently to me.

    The first is the sharpness. How do I take a sharper portrait than this? I must be missing something. The subject just doesn't seem very detailed to me, particularly on the left side (her right).

    Also, the eyes are very dark. She DOES have brown eyes but this photo was taken at around 4pm with the sun about halfway down. She was looking parallel to the sun- or perpendicular. I don't know which. It was to her left so she wasn't looking into it even though she's squinting. The eyes are lacking color and glimmer and I don't like that.

    I know there are other issues with this photo but I'm taking this one step at a time.

    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
    Canon Rebel XTi 28-55 Kit lens, 37mm, f5.0, 1/250
     
  2. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Heya and welcome!

    First off, I think the shot is underexposed, or at least needs to be brightened up a bit. That may help some of your loss of detail in the eyes and whatnot...

    If it is literally underexposed, that will affect your detail a bit too... pics can get a bit fuzzy when that happens.

    Also, it looks like you had a relatively large aperature (F5) and I'm guessing you were fairly close to her. Being close and having a large aperature is a double-whammy on depth of field, making the focus dropoff much more rapid.

    Check this out for a bit more of a detailed explanation of the effect:

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=130556

    Finally, most digital cameras have an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor that averages out the color between adjacent pixels to avoid stepping and moire patterns on the images. This means that you frequently NEED to sharpen images off of digital cameras. Generally speaking, unless I want that effect, I sharpen almost every picture I take at least a little.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,925
    Likes Received:
    129
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The face is out of focus.

    Notice how sharp her hair is on the right side of her head (your right). This shows you that the plane of best focus is at least a few inches behind her face.

    If you're using autofocus, it could be that your camera is "back focusing," the most likely cause of which is having the subject too closer to the lens then it can actually focus--if the backfocus happens at all ranges and with different lenses then it could be that your camera needs adjustment

    You also may want to shoot at f8 or more to make the depth of field less narrow.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Kevin1844

    Kevin1844 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks guys! That was fast!
    I think I was a little too close here. I generally don't get that close but I was trying to get a shallower depth of field. Apparently I went a little too far. So if I think this through a little more-- if I back off a bit OR drop back to f8 or so (at least in this case) that should widen my depth of field without sharpening up the background significantly?

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    46
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The first step to getting the focus right is to press the shutter button halfway down. This locks focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder (you can often change this, but I set my cameras so that it always focuses on the center only. that way I know what the camera is doing). In portraits, you must always focus on the eyes. Well, nearly always. very occasionally you might get good results without doing this, but you need to understand the rule before you can break it.
     
  6. Kevin1844

    Kevin1844 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    I thought about how to reply to this. I do generally use the shutter button to lock focus but I didn't realize until just now is that when I'm taking shots of moving children (especially when I've set up such a narrow depth-of-field) the time it takes for me to realize the focus is good and continue to hit the shutter is the same amount of time it takes for them to move so I either just hit it and hope for the best or they move and I have a better chance of being out of focus.

    I'm not sure what I did in this case. Probably just hit it and hoped for the best.

    Babies are tough....
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Does your cam have continuous focus mode? That helps a bit.
     
  8. Kevin1844

    Kevin1844 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes. It was on servo at the time, actually. Djacobox372 mentioned back-focusing. I was really close for this shot. Thats probably the culprit in this case.

    Hey, I see you're from MA. Did you happen to grow up in Methuen?
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    ha. The "where did I grow up" question is a dubious one because I've lived in a number of locations, but by and large I spent most of my life in Acton. I'm more of a backwoods guy. :)

    I gotta make a Bostonians thread.
     
  10. Kevin1844

    Kevin1844 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hey, Methuen can be the backwoods-- compared to Lawrence.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    hahahah...

    * Chris does not go to Lawrence... * :lol:
     

Share This Page