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Basic corrective photo guidelines


TPF Noob!
Jan 2, 2008
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Hi photolovers,

I've been playing around with my new D80 and a simple Nikon 50mm F/1.8D lens I recently purchased. Are there general guidelines for taking photos, especially after examining your first shot?

For example:
Situation: Indoors - poor lighting

Output 1: Pic looks too dark
Remedy: Open up the apeture by X no. of stops, use the flash with X setting
Output 2: Pic looks too bright
Remedy: Fine tune shutter speed, use Shutter Mode, TTL ?
Output 3: Pic looks blurry
Remedy: Decrease exposure time, fine tune by X amount and try again.. use a tripod?
Output 4: Colours are not right
Remedy: Change White balance mode to X, Use RAW

Etc, etc...

Any tips like this for a beginner ?


Ken ;)
The answer to most of your questions is: "Read the manual."

There are lots of techniques and tips all over the web that are also extremely useful but until you know how to "dial down two stops" or "set your DoF" or "Set to RAW" all the subsequent hints won't do you much good.

Also keep in mind that depending on what you're looking for, you might want to set up the exact same shot in the viewfinder in a multitide fo different ways. So learn how to manipulate your basic camera settings first and then play around with them.

When I first started I got a tripod, put on a lens and then took multiple shots with different settings. Got some real interesting results and learned a lot about picture taking, camera settings, and lenses with the many outcomes. Basics first.

And like many others will tell you..."Shoot, shoot, shoot!!!"
Lets assume I already know how to do that.. but its not second nature to know what to do in certain situations. Thus, I am asking the question on the beginner's forum :)

Its a tough question because people may have their own ways of doing things.. and I think I read a thread about how many shots it takes before you get a good one.. Its not easy doing the fine tuning, and its takes even longer for a beginner... :)

We're lucky to have digital cameras because we can try and try as much as we want... It would have taken a lot of wasted film back in the non digital days for beginner to figure out the little nuiances of their camera...
What I do is set my Auto ISO for the minimum shutter speed that will give me blur free photos with that lens. For the 50mm, 1/60s should do. Then all you need to do for the most part is just increase or decrease exposure compensation (EV) for the first three scenarios no matter which mode you're in (P/S/A/M). For the last one, yeah you can adjust the white balance. You don't need to shoot RAW to adjust the white balance of the photo. You can do that right from the JPGs, although shooting in RAW will make it easier.

When I'm shooting via natural lighting, I usually use M mode. I set the shutter speed to the minimum possible speed I can get away with, usually in the 1/30-1/60 range for shooting my 9 month old. Then I set the lens wide-open to f/1.8 and use the FUNC button to monitor what the Auto ISO is doing. For a brighter scene I'll close down the lens a bit to f/2.8 or f/4 for a little more depth of field and to make focusing easier. If I see ISO going above 1000 I'll open it back up so that I don't get noisy pictures.

I gave up on natural light shooting because even 1/60s can be too slow with a slowly moving target. Usually I shoot at iso400, 1/125s, and f/2.8 to f/4 and let the flash exposure system handle the rest. I leave auto ISO on so that if I get a bad bounce or if the flash doesn't recycle completely before firing, it'll crank the ISO up for you and save the shot. Usually I don't need any exposure compensation, but occasionally need to go up to +1.0EV on the longer end of some lenses.
It's a myth that you need to be shooting in RAW just to fix white balance issues. You can do it easily straight from the JPG. Most photo editing programs have some sort of a color balance tool that'll let you do it. In DxO software you can manually slide the color temperature slider around. Or if there's something white in the photo, you can select that point to define a new white point, and it'll remap out all of the colors based on that point. And there's little to no loss in quality.
Can u tell me how i could change the White balance from fluorescent H (canon) to incandescent on adobe CS3??
You are listing specific white balance presets, not changing the general white balance. I'm testing Lightroom (dont' know anything about CS3) and I don't have a dSLR or capability of shooting in RAW and I can change the white balance quite easily. It's just a temperature slider, you move it in the direction you need to adjust it the amount needed.
I've got a P&S which shoots RAW too.
But then I use RAW only at times, super fine otherwise.
thanks for the tip, will try it out as soon as i transfer the pic to the comp, i clicked that particular picture just 20 minutes back.
Sorry gendarmee, your post sounded like a sarcastic responce to mean that you can only change white balance with RAW files to someone stating that you can change white balance in JPEG. A misunderstanding on my part and with my post there. Though, my post does still stand, whitebalance could be just a simple temperature change slider. Don't know how to do it in Photoshop though, only Lightroom and Paintshop Pro (actually, not even sure how or if I can do it in Paintshop Pro..).

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