What settings would work out better for me?


TPF Noob!
Mar 28, 2022
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Hi guys,

I have been working as a photographer for nearly two years now, and recently something quite embarrassing happened to me. I met together with another photographer in order to shoot some pictures of each other, so we would both have some new content for our websites etc. When we took the pictures and afterwards compared them to each other, the pictures that were taken with my camera were far from being as good as the pictures taken with her's. I was shooting with my Nikon D850 + Tamron 24-70 2.8, and she was shooting with a Canon 5D + Tamron 24-70 2.8.

From my knowledge the quality of the camera's must be (almost) the same. Which made me conclude that there needs to be something wrong with my settings. Can anyone of you, by seeing the following two pictures, tell me what should I change, before my upcoming shoot this Friday, to come to the same quality of the picture as the ones taken with the Canon 5D?

The brown-haired boy is me, where the picture is taken by the Canon 5D. The other pictures was taken by my Nikon D850

Thanks in advance!


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What settings would work out better for me?

A most important question but it will not be of any relevance here. Your
approach and understanding, on the other hand, will be.

The greater differences being DR capture and rendition, and highlights
control. On you, nothing is burnt but the picture is tonally too bright for
my taste. On her, the skin of her face and the reflective property of her
pants are burnt and the tonal rendition is too dark.

You offered her nothing to make her job harder but you did not see the
hot spots trap you were heading into.

In such light condition, her or your camera settings have nothing to do
but, possibly, your directing skills. Under the gentler light of a partially
covered sky, the DR is not exacerbated at that point.

Here are three low / medium / high key portraits from a class I give last
Autumn. All is in the highlights control and the histogram is your friend.


HTH my friend.
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Directional lighting, she's positioned you a little more in the shade (so your full face is in shade) and shot a little wider, where you've cut off her foot. Your posing looks more natural, where her's looks a bit forced (though that could easily be that you naturally pose better than her).

That's what sticks out to me at least. So Nikon Shooter is right, it's posing and composition that's the main difference not settings.
Okay lets talk about the elephant in the room first. The first thing you do in any portrait is check your background. In both of these you have windows and doors, that are distracting, not to mention reflecting all sorts of stray light. If you can't get a good angle then move. I don't know why everyone is afraid to move in on a portrait. Unless it is specifically an environmental shot, or your shooting a 200mm move in, your subject is the focal point, not the surroundings.

Exposure, both of these were shot at f/4, not an impossible DOF to work with, but to pull it off in a portrait, the eyes MUST BE SHARP, I mean count the eye lashes sharp. Catch focus on the eyes and everything else falls in line. The one of you, the eyes are not sharp, in the one of her, it's better but still not sharp. If you're having problems with the eyes then stop down to f/8, it'll give you the DOF to catch the eyes, ears and face in focus, and if you want to blur the background move in closer. Using a longer focal length will also allow you to get more separation from the background.

Obviously these were shot in bright sun based on the settings the one of you was f/4, ISO 320, 1/800, the one of her was f/4, ISO160, 1/2000. Since light is not an issue drop your ISO to base. Speaking of light, finding a spot in the shade will give you better exposure. If that isn't possible, then you have to balance things with supplemental light. Using a speedlight or reflector will even out the exposure by providing fill in the shadows, allowing you to lower your exposure on the highlights.

Finally the processing is off. A couple of edits with adjustments, and crops

You see in this one how darkening the background, and cropping closer to the subject, brings the subject forward, while diminishing the distraction of the background.

In this one, no amount of editing will bring back blown highlights, but again, making the subject the prominent feature, minimizes distractions. As already mentioned cutting off body parts at joints is a no-no
The difference has nothing to do with the camera. They are not taken in the same place at the same time with the same pose. The girl is posed with a huge ratio between blown out highlight and shadow and yours is a fairly low ratio. See the tiny hot spot on the guys forehead, she has that across the side of her face. Over her L eye is completely blown out and clipped. And she has a distracting highlight on the L side of her nose. There is no light in either of her eyes. He is It has nothing to do with the camera. For your upcoming shoot, try finding an overhand like a patio cover or door way not facing the sun. That will give you soft diffused directional light. Or next to a tree trunk. The tree canopy eliminates top light/racoon shadow eyes and gives the light direction. Moving them closer or further from the tree trunk will subtract light from that side closer to the trunk so you can adjust the ratio. Your and my d850 are incredible cameras, but the most important part is the 12 inches behind it. Or try one of the cliched light and airy bs shots you youngsters love. Find a background in shadow because the sun is behind it, place your subjects back to the sun and spot meter her face 1 stop, ie 3 hashmarks brighter in the on camera meter. She will have a rim light that will pop against the darker background and her face will be properly exposed and she will be brigher than the bg. Try to avoid folks into harsh sun. Look at that razor sharp shadow on her nose including the eyelash shadows. The bright light has you squinting plus you are looking down that narrows the eyes, camera slightly above eye level opens the eyes and makes them look larger. That is super hard sunlight with rapid shadow edge transition harsh for a woman. Try some of this stuff and let us know how it goes.

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