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Archive 2012 · nm
  
 
jvphotos
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p.1 #1 · nm


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Edited on May 06, 2013 at 05:49 PM · View previous versions



Dec 19, 2012 at 11:13 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · nm


spotch wrote:
There are a few things I KNOW I'm doing wrong.

1. Not shooting in Raw
2. Not doing any kind of processing in lightroom or PS or anything like that.
3. I'm not dealing with what you would consider to be "professional" type equipment.
4. In addition to these, I have a general awareness that I don't seem to know much of anything about composition (or lighting, for that matter).


Welcome to FM and the Forum ...

I have to TOTALLY DISAGREE with the first three being WRONG.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting jpg's
There is nothing wrong with using the in camera profiles instead of PP in LR or PS
There is no need for professional equipment to improve your photography and produce excellent images

I would say that RAW gives you more latitude for processing than jpgs do
I would say that the world of PP in LR or PS opens up a tremendous latitude for presenting your images in ways that sooc or OEM processing don't allow for
I would say that professional equipment can allow for some images that are more difficult to achieve without

But ... imo, understanding elements of composition and the nature of light relative to the message / image are vastly far more important than the first three. Sure, there comes a time when the first three do make a difference as you are growing and advancing ... but without the last one, or your vision, voice, message ... the first three are kinda like painting over rust, its just dressing up a lack of substance.

I say these things, not to dissuade you ... but instead, to say "don't sweat the first three". Instead focus your attention on the last one, as well as your message/voice/vision/understanding. Sure, it is good to learn to shoot RAW, learn PP and buy better gear ... but the time & effort involved there will steal some of your time, effort and energy from learning the other stuff ... which, imo is WAY MORE IMPORTANT.

Just starting out ... skip the worry about the first three and focus on number four ... you'll know when it is time to start worrying about the first three (later).

Again, welcome to FM and the Forum.




Dec 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM
jvphotos
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p.1 #3 · nm


nm

Edited on May 06, 2013 at 05:49 PM · View previous versions



Dec 19, 2012 at 11:41 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · nm


spotch wrote:
Thanks for the warm welcome

Yeah, I'm definitely far more worried/focused on improving composition/message/voice/vision/understanding than I am the others.


Cool ... you'll do well then.

Lots of good folks here to help ...

FM ROCKS !!!



Dec 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · nm


+1 on what Kent said. I would add, if you want critique, you will get more response with fewer images. I don't know where to start.


Dec 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM
jvphotos
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p.1 #6 · nm


Thanks Ben... I removed 4 of them, is that better? I wanted to give people a little overview to see if any overall problems jumped out but I can see how too many would be overwhelming.


Dec 19, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #7 · nm


Also, do you mind if folks re-work your images. This is done to illustrate a point visually or perhaps provide alternative visions.

I will second Kent's point that items 1-3 on your list are certainly not requirements for a successful image - maybe to satisfy one's ego but the image does not care

Quick glance, #s 2 and 6 offer the most potential - strictly my opinion.

Welcome, we are all here to learn,

Bob

Edited on Dec 20, 2012 at 01:14 AM · View previous versions



Dec 20, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #8 · nm


In addition to posting here, I would suggest joining a camera club. Many are very good and the very process of preparing prints for competition will help your objectivity. There are also tons of free tutorials. I highly recommend the videos on the BH webpage. You will find these under Event Space. Many are hour long tutuorials from experienced pro photographers. If you are really inexperienced and need basic information, consider basic tutorials available on camera manufacturer webpages and elsewhere. You can google almost any photography topic and find a slew of tutorials.


Dec 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #9 · nm


I'd be glad to have people re-work my images for illustration potential or whatever. Whatever they're willing to do and will be helpful


Dec 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #10 · nm


This is mostly what I do so I made a few adjustments. I used shadow highlight to open it up, ran Topaz photo Pop which did some more then a large radius small amount USM to reduce haze.

Most folks here are more advanced processors than I am and do stuff manually on parts of the image, where I use a semi automated method and apply most stuff globally.

I am sure others can do a better job, and if starting with a full size raw even more.








Dec 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #11 · nm


A quick LR rework on #2:
1. cropped to focus on water, help focus attention on flow of water
2. lightened shadows to pull detail from overhang,
3. selective burn (darkened) on face of several rocks to add form and depth,
4. selectively sharpen water droplets area to add contrast and further draw the eye's focus
5. selectively blur some of foreground and background to add depth
6. add modest vignette to help frame image

Saturation is good, nice solid colors, no noise to speak of. I like lines, especially diagonal lines. In this image I see major diagonals formed by long axis of rocks at lower right, two formed by the edges of the overhang, and several minor diagonals, most of which intersect at or near the water fall. Also, the diagonals add tension creating a dynamic as opposed to static (aka boring) image.

Additionally, the light/dark play of the mossy area versus the shadows helps attract and hold the eye.

Now the caveat - the above is all opinion. Others may and will see things very differently.

CamperJim offers sound advice also - Goggle and tutorials should become your very close friends.

Regards,

Bob

#6 with a little tweaking sky - are those bag-worms in the tree?














Dec 20, 2012 at 12:51 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · nm


As you can see from the different renderings that are being offered, there is latitude that still exists without shooting raw.

Taking a look at the "group" of images ... 1,2,3 & 6 seem to share a common issue so I'll speak to that as a "general" topic.

The camera and the human eye have a way of seeing things differently ... particularly notable at how we see the difference between light and shadow. When we see things, our eye/brain work together to accommodate for the extreme differences. The camera can't quite accommodate that extreme of a difference sometimes ... i.e. the dynamic range of the scene is too much for the camera. In situations like this it can be very challenging for the camera to get a good/correct exposure, and sometimes we have to make decisions as to what part of the scene is most important to us.

The important part here isn't necessarily to explain dynamic range / exposure, etc. ... but for you to understand that the camera "sees" differently than we do. And if your style likes those kind of scenes that your eye/brain "sees" it but your camera gets "fooled" a bit, you'll want to learn a bit more about metering & exposure control. Again, one of those things that isn't on the first three of your list.






Edited on Dec 20, 2012 at 02:16 AM · View previous versions



Dec 20, 2012 at 01:19 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #13 · nm


These are great....thanks y'all.


Do you guys have any thoughts on things I should do when I'm taking the pictures (settings-wise or focal point-wise) that would create a better "raw material" (lol pun) to work with before processing?



Dec 20, 2012 at 01:22 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · nm


If you are going to shoot in "challenging" lighting situations ... learning how to use metering techniques will give you better exposure control than letting the camera do it for you ... i.e. you can learn to be smarter than the camera to get what you want.


Dec 20, 2012 at 01:32 AM
gneto
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p.1 #15 · nm


Welcome!

You already got lots of good advice from some really awesome people, so instead of repeating what they said, I'll just add that you need to give yourself time to grow. The learning process is very rewarding, but is also very long, and can be frustrating at times. Don't try to do everything at once; take your time, pick your priorities, and don't give up!

All the technical stuff that seems so hard now will soon become a no-brainer. Exposure, for example, was really hard to understand when I first started out (wtf are these F numbers? 2.8 is how many stops bigger than 5.6?!? It doesn't make sense!), but is second nature now. Lightroom was a maze of options impossible to master, but not anymore.

Why am I saying this? To highlight one of the most important pieces of advice you received, from Kent (RustyBug):

RustyBug wrote:
But ... imo, understanding elements of composition and the nature of light relative to the message / image are vastly far more important than the first three. Sure, there comes a time when the first three do make a difference as you are growing and advancing ... but without the last one, or your vision, voice, message ... the first three are kinda like painting over rust, its just dressing up a lack of substance.

I say these things, not to dissuade you ... but instead, to say "don't sweat the first three". Instead focus your attention on the last one,
...Show more


Lastly, Bob did an awesome rework on your image. It might seem like it happened thanks to his PP (post-processing) skills; however, PP skills need to serve one's vision. Without vision, there's no amount of PP in the world that's going to make your image good. So, instead of looking at that rework as an example of why PP skills are important, look at it as an example of why vision/composition/message is important - he had to see that image in his mind's eye before he could modify your original image to achieve it.

Welcome to a long but fun journey!




Dec 20, 2012 at 01:35 AM
gneto
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p.1 #16 · nm


spotch wrote:
Do you guys have any thoughts on things I should do when I'm taking the pictures (settings-wise or focal point-wise) that would create a better "raw material" (lol pun) to work with before processing?


Objectively speaking, if you start shooting raw, you can mess quite a bit with exposure and will still be able to recover it in post-processing quite easily. How much will depend on several not-so-trivial factors, so you must pay some attention to exposure to at least be in the "ball-park", but it's not that critical (later however you'll want to master this, and to know what "expose to the right" means).

You also can adjust white balance in post processing, so you don't have to worry too much about it during the shoot (this is not really 100% accurate information, but you can get by safely assuming it's true for the time being).

What you can't really do much about is focus. So I'd say that the best thing you can worry about right now is mastering focus. Supposing you do an "average" job on everything else, and nail focus on your exposure, you'll be able to play quite a bit with your image in post-processing software (ex. Lightroom) and get pretty good results.

Of course this is just the "technical" aspect of image making...




Dec 20, 2012 at 01:47 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #17 · nm


I find myself relying on autofocus a lot, since it seems difficult to know if I'm focusing on the exactly right thing through the viewfinder on my T1i. Perhaps I just need to slow down and practice more.


Dec 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #18 · nm


In addition to online tutorials, there are many good ink-on-paper books that will impart the basics principles. The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby is one (and there are several subsequent volumes). For your fourth point, The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman would likely be useful. Another would be Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers Only by Michael Meadhra and Charlotte K. Lowrie.

Of your four points, 3 is the last one to address. Four is first (as others have said), and 1 and 2 would be next.

Good luck, and have fun - digital is really cool, especially for anyone who learned with film.



Dec 21, 2012 at 04:14 PM
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p.1 #19 · nm


RustyBug wrote:
If you are going to shoot in "challenging" lighting situations ...


I think this is a good point, and you can see (with motion blur and/or hand shake) how that affected the "Riding High" and "Evening Tree" photos negatively.

Flickr EXIF data shows those photos as having been taken @ 50mm with shutter speeds of 1/25 and 1/13 respectively. Unless you're steadying the camera with a tripod (or on a stable surface), you're going to have a tough time keeping images from being blurry with slow shutter speeds.

You did a pretty decent job with the child, but I assume the father (?) was moving a little, so you're going to get blur with a slow shutter. With indoor pictures like that, bouncing your soon to arrive flash off the ceiling will allow you to use faster shutter speeds and a lower ISO, which will result in crisper photos, and the soft light from the bounce flash will generally look more pleasing that just hitting your subject straight on with unmodified light. Cameras also start to lose contrast and detail as the ISO increases, so being able to drop that down with the use of the flash will be nice too.



Dec 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM
jvphotos
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p.1 #20 · nm


Thanks for the book suggestions and ISO info... I definitely think I've hit the limits of what my 50 1.8 can do in my less-than-ideally-lit house with no flash or the on-camera flash lol. I'm definitely going to have my fair share of reading to get done after the holidays... It will be good to de-mystify the whole process though.

Thanks again for all the help guys.



Dec 24, 2012 at 05:13 AM





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