What do you think?


TPF Noob!
Dec 13, 2007
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I'm still not happy with my pic's on Auto option on my D40. :grumpy:
I find that people's look better then mine, they are also using the same setting and same lens (18-55mm) it came with.
So why don't mine look as good?
Keep in mind that I'm limited to Auto for now, as are they....but shouldn't they compare in quality?
So what do you think?




Pictures didn't post......I'm working on it.
well one problem i see is it looks like your using your pop up flash.Those are junk. unless you use a diffuser then it looks a little better. I'm no expert so my opinion isn't much. But it looks like a lighting issue.

Try shooting in P mode instead of AUTO. I have been told that it generally works better that way. The camera still makes all the exposure decisions so it functions like a point&shoot.

Can you provide us a link to the photos you are comparing yourself to? Without knowing what you are trying to emulate, it is tough to give you advice on what the differences might be.

Why are you limited to Auto? I'm not sure what settings you have on the D40, but assume that you at least have manual mode. Dig into your user's manual and just start playing around with it. Sure you'll make lots of mistakes, but just hit the delete button and try again. I'm not sure who you are comparing your pictures to, but since you posted pictures of a child I assume you might be interested in children's portraiture? Instead of taking pictures in a dark room at night, where you are forced to use the on-board flash, try placing your subject near a window during daylight hours or find some open shade outside. Open up the aperture as wide as you can and use the natural light to light your subject. You will get much nicer catchlights in his eyes, not those hard little pinpoints of light from the flash. Also, pick up a good photography book at your library (FREE!!) and study up on the rules of composition so that you can avoid the smack dab in the middle of the frame mistake. Good luck and have fun learning.
I'm only using Auto because I want to learn more before I mess around with the settings......don't want to get somewhere and not know how to get back.
I can't post my firends pic's........not so sure he'd like that, but wish I could!!
But his pic's are mostly outside, so I'm going to guess it's the lighting that I don't like.
Sorry for putting you through the noncreative pic's, I'm just still trying to decide if I want to keep this camera or get a new one. Problem is the D80 is out of my price range and the Canon doesn't feel good, neither did the others I checked out.
Oh the joys of decision making.......:wink:
One thing that you might try is shooting outdoors with daylight...

Inside, with a single pop-up flash, it is really hard to make your photos look any better than a point-n-shoot snapshot camera.

If you need to shoot indoors, you might try using natural lighting (daylight streaming through windows is a great source), which will give you both definition and dimension.

A good thing to do is to grab a teddy bear and set it in a window, and practice shooting that (they don't complain as much as your little man might).

The problem isn't your camera, in these pictures it is the pop-up flash...

You can take some really nice pictures with a D40 and the kit lens.

Here is one I shot a couple weeks ago with a D40 and kit lens, simply setting it on a post and using a long shutter speed (no tripod):


Ok, it is not a work of art, but it does show that the camera is a not the limiting factor.
I really like that picture.
Funny you mention the teddy bear.....I have about 75 pictures of a teddy bear that need to be removed from my computer :lol:

It's definitely a lighting issue, I have only had evenings to play around, hence the dark room etc...Gonna try some different things with lighting tomorrow and see if I like the outcome.

I really appreciate your feedback :hail:
It's definitely your lighting. Gives the photos a very harsh, over-exposed look. The DSLR will give you the versatility to develop your skills. Try using the rooms lighting/ lamps to better light abd situate your subject. An off-shoe flash would be a great buy if you can swing it. Maybe a bounce card to boot. Soften up the lighitng. Use a difuser on your pop-up flash for now. Lumiquest makes one for like $10. Takes off the hot-spots from the subject and softens the lighting. Especially on the close shots like you have. Unfortunately on-camera flashes are really weak and coverage is very limited. If you shoot in RAW, you can fiddle with the pics a bit on the computer using the supplied software. Photoshop elements is practically given away with most cameras these days.
I understand what you mean about getting into different settings and then not knowing how to get back. I once accidentally reformatted an SD card twidling with the buttons. That's a lesson learned the hardway. But one of the easier switches is to P, instead of AUTO, it's like a point-and-shoot but still gives you the freedom to change a few things.
I am learning too and I also have a D40. One thing that I tried is looking exposure up on the internet. I got some really good hits and information. It took my a while to get off of auto mode, but once I took the plunge I will never go back. I have so much more control over the picture. One thing that you might want to try is aperture priority mode (A). Set your aperture wide open and start shooting outside and see what you get. You might also need to change your white balance depending on the lighting situation. One person told me that they just set the white balance to shade because it gives them that warm look. You might also want to try setting your white balance to shade inside also. I tried this while I was taking a picture of my Christmas tree and it really turned out well.
Keep on practicing practicing practicing and read read read every chance that you get and you will see a drastic improvement.
I played around today with the settings.......still didn't get anything nice. However I did learn a few things about taking a 3 year olds picture....don't use A, hence the blurry eyes picture.....I have a tone of these!!
M seemed to work the best, but I didn't do anything regarding adjusting the setting. Auto didn't give me anything I liked either.
I'll keep trying with the lighting, battery ran out just when I started using the manual mode. Good job my son is the "camera hog" He won't let me take pictures of anything but him when he's around and sees a camera!!!!



you just need to practice using your camera.

you can put the camera in aperture mode or shutter priotry mode not just auto mode. It should be a matter of turning a dial. with children, try using a fast shutter speed, i.e. 250

You really need to keep your manual handy so you can learn to change the ISO, etc.

That camera will take terrific pictures, if you use it's functions.

It really is a matter of practice. Keep track of what your doing or learn to go in and check you metadata so you can get a better sense of what combinations are giving you which results.
Personally I would recommend "Understanding Exposure" it is a great book and explains all you need to be shooting in Av, Tv and Manual in a very simple manner. also play with lighting as you have....and you'll start seeing better results

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