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Photography Help

Discussion in 'Photography & The Digital Darkroom' started by woddle1000, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 17, 2011]
    Hey everyone, I bought myself a D90 and and a couple of lenses, 28mm and a 18-200 VR2
    love the camera and lenses, I get out quite often and snap away

    never used a camera before apart from crappy point and shoot normal cameras but I am loving it,

    I am quite handy in photoshop as well which helps, I usually always get the sho that I want but..
    when I look at professional photos they are always so crisp, dark in the right places, and mine seem to have a lighter haze over them

    I use the levels and curves to get my blacks where I want them, I shoot in complete manual mode inc ISO but would like to know how I remove this haze, I want sharp blacks and deep saturations, is it really down to the equipment they use, ie the right filters and lenses or is it me and my settings?

    and help or advice is really appreciated, VERY novice photographer, I have been shooting less than 12 months!!
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  3. DriveByShooters
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    DriveByShooters Editor Audi-Sport.Net Magazine

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    can you post up some examples so we can see exactly what you mean?

    also, Photoshop is good, but it shouldnt be used to "make" a picture. Personally I feel PS is relied on too much these days.
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  4. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    these are probably not the best photos as an example but I'm on my work comp and don't have many on here but I think yo can get the general idea, thanks for the reply

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
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  5. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    I agree with your photoshop point and would prefer to get the shot I want at the camera end rather than the computer end!!
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  6. DriveByShooters
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    DriveByShooters Editor Audi-Sport.Net Magazine

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    is the "haze" happening on all your pics ALL of the time?

    do you have the exif data available for both these shots (if they are 2 different shots)
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  7. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    i do need to alter alot of them, thats why I ask, I'm not sure if its down to my equipment or me, sorry to sound so stupid but i have only just picked up a camera, I am really enjoying it but still at early stages,
    I pick my aperture, then I get my shutter speed as low as I can go , usually a few stops lower dependent on how much detail there is and use my ISO to get deeper detail out of the picture rather than a slower shutter speed,

    feel like I am missing something though :/ I look at professional pictures, Dave Powell on google+ is amazing, his blacks are so black, his saturation is deep, does he get this from skill or equipment?
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  8. DriveByShooters
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    DriveByShooters Editor Audi-Sport.Net Magazine

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    its down to SKILL!.....all the kit in the world doesnt make a man a Photographer.

    ISO to get deeper detail?...im intrigued by that concept.

    If you can supply the EXIF data (Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO) from the images, we might be able to point you in the right direction.
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  9. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    I went to an animal park and found by trial and error that if I decrease the shutter speed I didnt always get teh detail of the shot, just same image but whiter, yet if increased my ISO instead of decreasing shutter speed I could get more detail rather than just brightening up the whole image

    so it is just more practice and fiddling I need, have you any tips?

    is white balance really that important to set myself or should I look into this too? I have played around with this and used different colours (via the set custom white balance) to get some interesting shots but nothing other than playing about
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  10. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    TBH you need to be usin the lowest ISO setting that will give you the correct exposure. All the ISO setting does is change the sensors sensitivity to light. The lower, the less sensitive and the cleaner the image, the higher you go, the noisier the image becomes.

    All lenses have a sweet spot, it's usually around the middle of the aperture range. I have shot all of mine one at a time at the same subject just changing the aperture and keeping the exposure the same, then viewing them to find the best quality setting of the aperture. The shutter speed is then set to maintain the correct exposure for the aperture setting.

    I'd set the camera back to default and start again, as it should be more than capable of shooting a decent image out of the box, even in auto mode.

    I tend to under expose by one stop or so depending on lighting and filters used for the greatest definition between dark and light without heavy relience on PS.

    At leas this is what i do, not saying it's right for you, but it produces the kind of images i like to capture
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  11. woddle1000
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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    I do tend to keep my ISO as low as I possibly can, but I think in alot of situations it pays to increase it rather than decrease shutter speed, for instance the pictures above was probably shot at 100,
    I just feel like I have hit a spot where I have stopped getting any better for some time, I dont really rely on filters either, do you photoshop all of your pictures? thanks for all your replies and patience by the way :)
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  12. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    I use PS as little as possible. Just for a little exposure up/down and or a bit of cropping. It's not because i cannot use it, but i am sadly a bit anal with it and use as little as possible and concentrate on getting the pic right out of the camera.

    The lower shot, i assume you have ran that through PS and tweaked the saturation ?
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  13. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    Also looking at the images, it looks like you are shooting in a wide aperture( low number) as the Depth Of Field is narrow, this will affect the focus and sharpness as anything thats not on the focal point will drift out of focus slightly.

    I always remember it by thinking, if o want more in the shot, i need a higher number. Less things to focus on, a lower number
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  14. woddle1000
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    woddle1000 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2011]
    yes, the bottom image I altered the levels to increase the darkness and increased the saturation, I just ran it through quickly to give you the idea of what I mean, would usually take a little more care, lol, think I will get practising a lot more and try going down a stop on my shots, thank you!! :)
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  15. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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  16. woddle1000
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    i shoot completely in Manual, inc ISO, I think that priories are cheating in my eyes, does white balance make that much of a difference or should i be setting that too?
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  17. Broken Byzan
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    i'd leave WB alone and go back a step ot AV ( aperture priority) and try that. Also leave the ISO low say 100 for now unless the correct exposure cannot be gained from shutter speed v Aperature.

    I think you are looking to run before walking ( sorry couldnt think of another) and all of the settings available are throwing the capability of the camera and the vision of you as the the photographer out
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  18. sidibear
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    First off, are you using a tripod? If so its easier to shoot a slow shutter speed and a fairly small apeture and get a good result out of the box. Try using your camera on manual and focusing on something light and then moving the focal point to a darker area, and vice versa. When you start getting the shots you like read the data for the photo and it will give you the information that you can set yourself.
    I am not a big fan of software and like others here have said, there is no substitute for getting it right with the camera, but sometimes a little tonemapping gives a bit of help to loose shadows etc.

    This pic for instance was straight out of the box @ 1/50 sec F4 Iso200.

    [​IMG]


    And this one was bracketed and tonemapped to loose the shadows.

    [​IMG]
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  19. woddle1000
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    yes I have picked up a tripod but try not to use it as much as I can, I prefer to use it hand held. I am capable of taking a half decent shot without alterations, this one was F22 1/60th, I used a high ISO, of 2000, I dont think it spoils the picture but I do think using a high ISO in these situations stops there from being to many overpowering black spots but I still think I am missing alot of saturation from my pictures, is that down to filters and equipment or getting my settings wrong? i have not altered this shot in photoshop!
    [​IMG]
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  20. Broken Byzan
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    why are you shooting at f22 and then having to raise the iso to 2000, if you had widened to say f8 you would have shot that at iso 100 and probably 125th with no camera shake and a nice crisp/ sharp image.

    ISO has no effect bar sesitivity to light for poor light conditions, hence the grain visable in that shot.
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  21. woddle1000
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    i have found that F8 is sharp on my camera, sometimes a little too sharp if you know what I mean, I wanted to get the whole shot in focus, as byzan said it does alter the edges of focus the lower the aperture, it is more teh saturation that bothers me in my shots now rather than noise, any tips on how to increase it?
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  22. Broken Byzan
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    at f8 pretty much all of it would have been in focus, but it's up to you what you want to see, increasing the ISO is not the way to do it.

    Have a look and make sure your colour space is set to RBG over Adobe RGB ( if its there) can have a massive effect. Also your current lens simply may not be up to producing the image you require. At iso 2000 you should be able to pretty much shoot at night and produce a picture,lol.

    Also it could be woth setting the exposure on a lighter item, fixing it, and recomposing to bring the highlights down closer to what you would expect to see i think
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  23. woddle1000
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    maybe i am missing something but I don't see that picture as too much noise, that is acceptable to me, and I think that leaving ISO low is a rule that is followed too strictly, do you not find it easier to pull harsh shadows out with ISO rather than shutter speed?
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  24. warren_S5
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    Are you using any filters on your lenses (eg a UV or Skylight filter). Sometimes these can reduce some of the haze you get in images, but it's marginal.

    Great photography requires a few key elements, most importantly a keen eye for composition, but secondly a wise use of lighting. There are times in the day where lighting is harsh, and shadows are unfavourable so taking shots earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon can provide a richness in colour to you shots.

    When I get white skies I try and use a graduated neutral density cokin filter ND4 to balance the exposure and tone down the oppressive skies.

    Stability wise, the sharpest shots use a tripod or at least a monopod. It's a natural habit to move the camera when you depress the shutter, so whilst Nikons IS is good, it's no match for tripod! Turn IS off if you use one.

    Depth of field can also be critical, so the aperture value must be set appropriately for the type of shot you are taking. Google hyper focal distances as this is something else to consider about where you choose to focus at!

    A lot to remember above composition!

    Also, check cameras compression setting for NEF , RAW or JPEGS, and ensure you are using the right colour space for your image (Adobe RGB etc.).

    Finally may be worth doing some exposure bracketing by 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop (high/normal/low) to get a sense of differences in shots as some Nikons over-expose (both mine do)!
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  25. Broken Byzan
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    NOPE, shutter speed is where its at, iso is for poor light / END.
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  26. warren_S5
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    Agree with Byzan, unless you have an EOS1D, or a D3x ISO adjustment is trouble!
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  27. woddle1000
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    [Oct 23, 2011]
    yes i have bought myself a couple of filters, i have a hoya circular PL and a couple of gradient filters but not much at the moment, Warren thank you for your info, really helpful, think I am just going to get out there a bit more and try forcing myself to go down a stop or so!
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  30. woddle1000
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    [Oct 25, 2011]
    thank you, both very useful links, as it says though "ISO is an important aspect of digital photography to have an understanding of if you want to gain more control of your digital camera. Experiment with different settings and how they impact your images today." and those pictures show the two extremes of noise, I know i am on my own here with experimenting with the ISO but I think its a fine line between getting a great shot and cocking it up completely! lol
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  31. DriveByShooters
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    DriveByShooters Editor Audi-Sport.Net Magazine

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    [Oct 30, 2011]
    Any progress with your images / settings fella?

    I have sat back and watched this thread build, smiling to myself on occassions.

    What I will say is NONE of the advice you have been given is WRONG......however it is down to you to apply the new found knowledge and put your OWN stamp on your images.....and if "trying" things gets the images you want....GREAT!
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  32. woddle1000
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    [Oct 30, 2011]
    yes I do still play with my ISO, but I try to keep it as low as I can, I disagree with most who set their ISO at 100 and just leave it, settings are there to get the right shot not to be left alone, think I am improving slightly but have come to the conclusion that there is a reason why amazing cameras cost so much, they leaps and bounds above what I am using (D90 & 18-200mm) as this shot proves from Dave Powell at 6400 ISO, just got to keep practising whilst saving I think
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  33. Bronwydd
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    [Oct 31, 2011]
    A few points.

    ISO - you will get increasing digital 'noise' the higher the ISO is. Up to 400 or so you'll be fine but you will see it in shadow areas at higher values.

    Aperture - The smaller the aperture (larger number) the greater the depth of field (distances in focus) This will vary with the lens in use - a wide angle gives a greater DoF for the same aperture than a telephoto. Use a small aperture for a landscape - sharp to the horizon and a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus for a portrait. Most lenses have a sweet spot at a few stops down from wide open (f5.6 - f8.0) where you will get the best overall sharpness/ contraqst.

    Shutter Speed - Generally I would recommend setting aperture priority and letting the camera choose the speed. If you are using the metering for the exposure, it gives the same effect as manually choosing speed after aperture. Look to see what the speed will be though. If it is likely to result in camera shake (rule of thumb is same as focal length - ie 28mm lens 1/30 sec etc) then open aperture, increase ISO or use a tripod. Speeds can be used to good effect for blurring of freezing motion, so if you want a particular effect use shutter priority.

    If you shoot in JPEG the camera will apply sharpening etc. as it sees fit. I always use RAW. it means that I have more control over the processing and I can choose the amount of sharpening that I want to apply at the cost of a bit more work on the computer.

    A good way to reduce the effect of haze using Photoshop or similar is to use the Unsharp mask with the radius set to maximum and the amount relatively low.

    A handy simulator to show the effects of different camera settings can be found at CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified
    Hope this helps

    Dave Russell
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
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  34. woddle1000
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    [Nov 1, 2011]
    thank you so much for the advice, loving the unsharp mask, it gibes the same effect as detail in HDR without having to flatten the image etc, I think I may stick in Manual mode though as I prefer to choose the shot myself and I think it helped teach me why I was getting the shot I did and why I should be altering things, I am deffo going to switch to jpeg and Raw now but still do as little as I can in photoshop, I want to get as much right at the camera end as I can rather than rely on priority settings in camera mode and photoshop post shot!
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