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Advice, please - Engagement Pictures using Canon Rebel T1i

JaxsMomma

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Hello! I'm new to photography and new to this forum. I have a Canon Rebel T1i. I have a tripod, zoom lens, wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, extra flash attachment and 3 filters. I have no clue how to use these extras to my advantage. I try to get out and take creative pictures with my camera as often as I can, but it isn't often enough. :) I have a session this coming Saturday for a couple's engagement pictures and am excited but, naturally, nervous. We are set to start sometime mid-morning to avoid the high temps we've had lately. Any advice on camera settings would be MUCH appreciated! I already know it's best to utilize the creative zones and I've practiced mainly with the Tv setting; shady areas so the bright sunlight isn't too harsh on my subjects; etc. I also know to use the flash in bright settings if I have to shoot in the sun. But I'm having a hard time achieving that beautiful soft glow that I've seen on professional sites. Also, how do I get my subject's eyes and eye color to really pop and shine, while also exhibiting amazing clarity, and still capturing soft skin tones and colors? And with this couple I'd love to get some silhouette shots in the shadows and am not sure how to do that. And while I'm sitting here rambling I'd love some tips on photographing sunsets/sunrises. :) Thanks. Btw, I have Photoshop CS4 for my touch-up work and am learning that as I go - I have a great book by Scott Kelby. But there's not a lot Photoshop can do if the picture isn't great, having motion and/or grain to begin with. I guess what I'm really trying to get is the soft glowing pictures with plenty of detail and no grain. Please help!! :) This couple knows that I am very much an amateur and are probably expecting mediocre work - but I really want to wow them!! :) Thanks in advance.
 
Well, to avoid the grainy look, keep your ISO as low as possible. As far as other settings, there isn't any standard to go by, as this is dictated by the conditions you are shooting in. Quick question, will you be getting paid for this?
 
The settings all depend on the conditions. They are ever changing. IMHO, usually when your outside 80 ISO, 600 or above shutter speed, and either small or big aperture depending on the DOF you are going for.
 
@ Dustin, yes I am charging a small fee. I'm definitely "cheap" for this area - for now.

Thank you guys for the advice. I have read to keep the ISO low to avoid grain. So if I am shooting in shadows and want to have a "black" or dark silhouette of my subjects while capturing a nice background do I keep the ISO at 100 and just lengthen my shutter speed to ensure the whole picture isn't dark? Sorry if these are stupid ?'s. I work full time and have a family to maintain so my opportunities to practice are limited and sporadic. I haven't had as much trial and error as I'd like. I plan to shoot a couple hundred pictures so I'm bound to get a handful of keepers. And, as my husband says, no one expects you to have 100 solid and breathtaking pictures to choose from in the end. So I need to keep in mind not every single one will be great.

On another note, should I always shoot in RAW rather than JPEG??
 
On another note, should I always shoot in RAW rather than JPEG??
My opinion would be to shoot in RAW. This way if you get a shot that looks half decent, but exposure of WB is off, then you may be able to save the shot, and make it a great shot. If you shoot JPG, then you will have more trouble fixing mistakes. If your camera supports it, you could always shoot RAW + JPG. At least with the JPG's, you'd have something fast to look at on the computer, and worry about processing the RAW files when you've got time.
 
@ Dustin, yes I am charging a small fee. I'm definitely "cheap" for this area - for now.

Thank you guys for the advice. I have read to keep the ISO low to avoid grain. So if I am shooting in shadows and want to have a "black" or dark silhouette of my subjects while capturing a nice background do I keep the ISO at 100 and just lengthen my shutter speed to ensure the whole picture isn't dark? Sorry if these are stupid ?'s. I work full time and have a family to maintain so my opportunities to practice are limited and sporadic. I haven't had as much trial and error as I'd like. I plan to shoot a couple hundred pictures so I'm bound to get a handful of keepers. And, as my husband says, no one expects you to have 100 solid and breathtaking pictures to choose from in the end. So I need to keep in mind not every single one will be great.

On another note, should I always shoot in RAW rather than JPEG??

I would also strongly recommend shooting all images in RAW. 2 reasons: 1. They are easier to edit, and appear on your computer screen "as shot". They never touch the camera's in house processor. 2. You don't deal with any file compression as you do with JPEG. Essentially, when you shoot in JPG, you lose image quality when it is processed and made into a smaller file. That is why you can take almost double as many shots on the same memory card when shooting JPG, as opposed to RAW. RAW just produces better quality images, period.
 
Four or five years of solid practice ought to allow you to get the glow and pop that professional shooters can achieve.
 
Four or five years of solid practice ought to allow you to get the glow and pop that professional shooters can achieve.


:lol: As the sarcasm pours over me

Not really trying to be sarcastic. As the OP stated, equipment and experience is, "a tripod, zoom lens, wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, extra flash attachment and 3 filters. I have no clue how to use these extras to my advantage."

I figure it'll take a while to learn how to use a flash, tripod, wide-angle,and telephoto lenses. Learning how to utilize a wide-angle lens can take quite some time,and if the goal is "professional" results, a beginner can not realistically expect to get "glowing" results without some serious effort invested. The OP mentions, specifically, "limited and sporadic" time to practice...I figure in 4 or 5 years of limited,sporadic practice, the OP ought to be able to get some pretty good results; I've been taking photos for 37 years now...I still have plenty to learn...
 
If your camera is stuck on Manual Mode, will you be able to take good photos? If not, you should not charge people. You should be taking photos of friends and family. I bet cha you have 18-55mm as your "wide" angle, and 55-250mm as your telephoto? Thats my guess.
 
Do you have one of the flash-attached soft boxes? Those are a God-send, imho. Camera settings are condition-based, as others have said, so maybe go to your site a bit early and set up by taking and looking at your pictures before it counts? Can't be TOO far in advance, though, as the lighting may change considerably.
 
If your camera is stuck on Manual Mode, will you be able to take good photos? If not, you should not charge people. You should be taking photos of friends and family. I bet cha you have 18-55mm as your "wide" angle, and 55-250mm as your telephoto? Thats my guess.

I'd wager that many people who frequent this forum would struggle with manual only mode. The OP is not passing herself off as a professional and has been very upfront about experience. What difference does it make if you are right about the lenses? The way you say it makes it seem like the OP is unworthy somehow. At least wait until some pics are posted before being too critical.
 
The way you say it makes it seem like the OP is unworthy somehow. At least wait until some pics are posted before being too critical.

The question is... unworthy for what?

Unworthy for critique? unworthy for us to help the OP out if they have specific questions? no... I don't think he's saying that at all.

Not yet good enough to be charging a fee for images, there's a good chance of that. Anyone who describes their lenses as a "zoom lens" and that they have a "flash attachment" and three "filters" doesn't really show the sort of knowledge that they would need to have to understand the explanations of how to get those images they want.

Schwettylens advice was basically just do you understand exposure and how it works? if not, you shouldn't be charging for your work. You need a basic understanding of exposure when taking images to know what the end result will create. Other wise you might as well spray and pray.

He wasn't saying you have to shoot in manual, he was saying you have to "be able to" shoot in manual.
 
Im saying about the lens because thats what I got for a package deal for my T1i. People shouldn't be buying a camera with kit lens and a zoom lens and start charging people for photos. Thanks NateWagner, that was exactly my point. All these other settings especially the different scene modes, the camera just decides whatever setting it thinks necessary to put the light meter at the center and most of the time, those are not the settings you want especially if you are involving flash.
 
The way you say it makes it seem like the OP is unworthy somehow. At least wait until some pics are posted before being too critical.

The question is... unworthy for what?

Unworthy for critique? unworthy for us to help the OP out if they have specific questions? no... I don't think he's saying that at all.


Schwettylens advice was basically just do you understand exposure and how it works? if not, you shouldn't be charging for your work.

I meant unworthy of taking photos.

And. yeah, I understand what he is saying. It's the "I bet cha you have..." kind of thing that does not come across as advice. I know people get frustrated with mwac, but really Derrel has the best advice... that's too much to get a handle on between now and Saturday.
 

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