Where did I go wrong?? [ultra n00b C&C]

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by radioschizo, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. radioschizo

    radioschizo TPF Noob!

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    I was all souped about FINALLY scooping up my first DSLR, and coming back from my first 'shoot' brought me right back down to earth. Most of my shots look like cheap P&S images. And I was shooting in full-on manual mode, because I hated the way the program mode shots came out. These are the only ones not completely worth ****canning.

    Flickr: radioschizo's Photostream

    I really like the B&W one with the acoustic, but it looks pixelated to me in the darker areas, like on the rolled-up sleeping bag. I'm probably the most pleased by the one with the Pepsi cup, but again look at the reds and blues on the cup. They look pixelated to me.

    And I don't think I've taken a single shot without a LITTLE hand quiver in there, unless I shoot in broad daylight where I can crank the shutter speed...because apparently I hold a camera like I'm on meth. I've tried everything, the propping the arms on a nearby surface, the pressing the arms into your body trick, etc.

    Above all, they still just look cheapo and amateurish. I know at this point it's not a hardware deficiency; it's the person looking into the hardware and pressing the button! :banghead:
     
  2. LahPhotographer

    LahPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Do not feel bad I am slooowly learning mine. Dont beat yourself up over it, there is A LOT to learn with a DSLR. All I can say is do what I have been doing.
    1. really take time to read the manual and anything else on the functions of the camera.
    2. practice practice practice :D
     
  3. a.rodgers

    a.rodgers TPF Noob!

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    for the camera shake, have you tried increasing the shutter speed and using a lower apature? also some type of flash will help greatly to reduce camera shake
     
  4. radioschizo

    radioschizo TPF Noob!

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    Lah -- I've read the whole manual front-to-back, and already had a decent understanding of the camera's functions before I even got it. Like you said, it's just a matter of practice I think. :cool:

    a.rodgers -- I've found that the built-in flash completely whites everything out if I shoot something closer than a few feet. I do a lot of food photography, and was really hoping I could get right up in there and really capture the detail of what's on the plate. Seems like I can't without shake and/or grainy noise. And completely off-topic, but I hitchhiked to Madison from Chicago last year and stayed with my girlfriend at the time for a week or so; she lived in that housing co-op Nottingham on Langdon. What a small world we live in!
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmm there is a very strong magenta colour cast on all those shots - was that something that you intended to have as part of the style of the image?

    As for shake and close up shots - if your flash is putting out too much power and thus whiting out (overexposing) use the camera's build in flash exposure compensation control. The way flash works is that your camera meter meters the amibent lighting in the scene and then gives you settings/a meter reading based on this. When you fire the flash it preflashes (you often don't see this) and meters the scene with the added light and then fires out a main burst to expose the shot correctly with the set settings of the camera.
    If that is too much light then setting flash exposure compensation tells the flash to "underexpose" its output.


    As for the grainy/noise factor and handshake a few things to consider:

    1) The rough rule is that your shutter speed should be at least 1/focal length of the lens or faster. So for a 50mm lens (or a zoom lens set to 50mm) 1/50sec should be the slowest.

    2) If you can't get a fast enough shutter speed to counter handshaking you have a few options:
    a) Raise the ISO - you get more noise, but less blur. Noise you can control in editing and often a lot more vanishes when you print, but blur you can't get rid of in editing.
    b) Use a wider aperture (smaller f number) - lets in more light and thus allows a faster shutter speed - the downside is that you've now reduced the depth of field in the shot (area of the photo in focus).
    c) Raise the ambient lighting - reflectors and flash are methods you can use to direct more light onto the scene before you and thus again let you use a faster shutter speed.
    d) For countering handshake you have one additional option and that is to use a tripod or even any sort of support that lets you get into position. This will let you shoot far slower and if you are shooting a static subject (like food) you can even use a remote release or the timer to take a shot (thus no blur from pressing the shutter button)*

    * you can also use the custom function "mirror lockup" so that shake from the slap of the mirror is also not present
     
  6. o hey tyler

    o hey tyler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've found if you only have the pop-up flash to work with if you fasten a business card to the bottom of the flash (where the flash hides itself when it's collapsed) with a rubber band your shots will come out better. It helps to be shooting at 50mm or more. But what you're looking for is the flash to be bounced by the card so that their aren't harsh shadows behind the food. I usually get away with 1/100s, 50mm, f/(whatever your max aperture is) and then open adjust the ISO to compensate.

    Like this: http://www.diyphotography.net/files/images/party_bouncer_setup.jpg

    Although I normally attach the card closer to where the canon logo is, and I don't use metal brackets to hold it in place. And like Overread said, you can adjust your flash compensation if it's too bright also.
     
  7. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    if this is what you want, then you're going to need to start thinking about using off camera flash. a lot of people here, including myself, go the strobist (strobist.com) route.
     

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