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| Re: Please Help with Some Botanical Images |
Okay ... that helps.
Knowing that these are essentially full frame, I see the DOF / aperture that you are using. Couple of things ...
Stopping down (understood as necessary for DOF goals) that far is going to induce diffraction / loss of contrast. With that in mind, then I would be headed for a reduction in ISO to 100 (base). This of course will reduce your shutter speed and necessitate a tripod. I'm not sure if you've got mirror lock up on your camera, but at least use the timer. That being said ... you've got some pretty steady hands for shooting this close ... but if your quest is quality ... tripod for these.
Along with the ISO reduction, I would like to find contrasty/specular light (i.e. not soft/diffuse) to help offset the contrast losses from diffraction. This could come in the form of your flash, reflected sunlight or direct sunlight, etc. ... but the combination of diffraction losses and flat lighting are likely the "something". Even if you use some "soft fill" ... that will not be as soft as the ambient you are currently using (backlit/shaded).
This of course get compounded in post as you begin tweaking on your contrast/sharp/clarity/etc. to try and over-compensate for those contrast losses. That's why I was a bit unsure @ what was going on. Your downsize / sharpening might be working against you a bit as well ... but first things first:
More Specular Light
That should make PP a little less "heavy handed" ... and yes, your info was most helpful.