Post processing and DOF issues


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Jul 6, 2013
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I have been attempting post processing a little and wondered what i should look for when im doing it. Currently i do the levels everytime i move the black to the start of the highest peak and move the white to the end of it, The middle marker i move very slightly to get the effect i like.
I also sometimes use the blend tool by opening a new layer putting the mode in overlay and using black.
I have tried unsharp mask but failed been watching videos and reading how to use it but never works out. (practice makes perfect here)
and cropping the images if they need it.
Thats about all i have done with post processing. what else could i be looking out for here? I am very new to photography so even the simplest answer is most welcomed.

On to the depth of field problem, It hasnt really been a big issue until yesterday when i was taking pictures of berries about 4 or 5 would be very sharp and the rest of the berries and leaves totally blurry should i be using a special metering for this? (also very unsure which metering i should use and when) or is it to do which the aperture i was using? most shots was between 3.5 and 5.6. then i thought i would make a really nice picture with this huge gathering of snails 1 was sharp the rest felt like i was walking of a theme park ride.

Thanks in advance.
Hi, welcome to the forum. YOu could try posting some pictures here to give an example of what you are doing. Maybe a before and after so people can give you some direct feedback.

With regards to depth of field. This is generally controlled by the aperture size of the lens. The wider the aperture (lower f/stop) the shallower the DOF. Try setting it at f/21 (how depends on your camera) and then taking the same shot. You should see much more in focus but will need slower shutter speeds or higher ISO settings. Setting the camera in aperture priority mode (if you have one) will allow your to try it out without having to worry too much about getting correct exposure.
I think f21 is a little drastic. F9 should be more than enough. Dependant on the lens + camera combi that is.
LOL indeed. I was more suggesting for testing/understanding the difference.
Thats why i was having problems with the dof i was in a forest with little light. Im using the nikon D5100 and was using in full manual maybe that was my first mistake too many settings to focus on. also could have used the flash but was just more testing without it. i will find some before and after shots to show.
The curves tool is one of the simplest ways to adjust images. I agree with setting a black point, yes, but the curves tool can allow you a very quick,easy way to manipulate the images greatly.
Understanding depth of field is sometimes more difficult than understanding the exposure triangle, in my opinion. It took me waaaayyy to long to get a handle on it. I think of DOF as 'thickness' of the plane of acceptably-focused subject(s) layers of plywood standing on edge. In general, the closer the camera is to the subject, and/or the larger the aperture (smaller f-stop number), the smaller (thinner) the DOF will be. As macro photographers will attest, photographing insects has a DOF of less than 1 inch because they are so close to the subject. At the other end of the spectrum, photographs of mountain scenery will have everything in focus, except, perhaps, the first couple of feet from the camera.

As can be determined by 'playing with' the online DOF calculator below,
Online Depth of Field Calculator
moving closer or further away rapidly decreases or increases the DOF, especially when closer than about 10 feet. Similarly, changing the aperture of the lens has similar effects. But so does choice of camera...full-frame or crop (smaller), as sensor size also figures into the DOF calculation. Of note is the is the 'near limit' and 'far limit' of the DOF calculator. The focused-on subject is about 1/2 way between to two limits. So if the calculated near limit is 5 feet and far limit is 10 feet (as a theoretical lens/camera/distance), anything between those distances will be in focus. Someone/something 10.5 feet from the camera will likely be a little bit out of focus. At 11 feet from the camera, the blurring will be more noticable, and so on.

HOW you meter the shot, as well as WHAT you meter the shot upon, does not affect DOF directly. Instead, it's the camera settings that are used as the RESULT of that metering that affect DOF. As you indicated you were using from f3.5 to f5.6 to take the pictures, that aperture size would suggest your DOF should be a couple of feet or more. you were taking pictures of berries, you were perhaps less than 2 feet away. Being that close will typically result in a DOF about 2-3 inches or less. So the berries and leaves more than 1-1.5 inches either way from the focal point will be out of focus. To 'counteract' that narrow DOF, using a smaller aperture such as f8 or even f16 will expand the DOF, but at the same time, shutter speed must be slowed down and/or ISO speeded up to compensate to get the same exposure. Each of THOSE changes have effects, too, such as blurred images due to camera movement, or too much noise due to too high an ISO speed. Welcome to the exposure triangle 'battle', as I think of it.
Thanks for that calculator will be making a lot of use with that, I guess i could always walk around with a my lightweight tripod for these times that require much higher shutter speed. The explanation was great thank you. for sure will give it a try again later today and see if i can have some better results.
The curves tool is one of the simplest ways to adjust images. I agree with setting a black point, yes, but the curves tool can allow you a very quick,easy way to manipulate the images greatly.

Quote for truth. IMO, the curves tool is the single most powerful tool in the box, in terms of its ability to extract the eye-popping drama that is hidden in certain photographs.
When i take videos of the sun and then stack the avi file i have always used curves on the final result to show sun spots much more, but have no idea really why i didnt think of playing with curves with this type of photography.

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