Helpful Posts: 0
11th April 2012, 06:19 AM
Hey guys/gals, so I'm looking for your thoughts. I have a Nikon D3100 and pretty much only used it as a point shoot until recently. I want to take photos that people look at and say wow. So I switched the camera to manual and got some random settings offline for outdoor portraits. ISO 100, shutter 1/125 and Aperture F5.6.
This is the picture I got from that:
This is my daughter Addison, 14 months old.
I'm mainly just wondering what I could do differently, adjust settings, etc. I did just purchase Elements 10 and was able to use the "spot healing brush" tool to remove some drool. Other than that, there was no post processing done.
11th April 2012, 07:42 AM
Firstly I really like it. mainly because she has such a lovely quizzical expression and a visually interesting outfit - love the hat.
Compositionally it also works well. She is off centre (which is good), you have empty space in front of her where she is looking (good), the empty space isn't really empty as the flowers behind add interest (good) and you cropped the top of the head, which works well when doing close up portraits.
The only negatives I have are....
You also cut off her arms at the wrist. Amputating peoples hands and feet often makes for an uncomfortable image. You should generally pull out slightly to include the hands or go closer so that you lose the limbs altogether.
You would get better contact with your subject if you had a catchlight in the eyes to really bring them alive. This can often be done with a simple reflector or minimal flash fill. - obviously a reflector is problematic when shooting without Mum to assist, especially when your subject may decide to shuffle off at any moment. Alternatively you could cheat and add a catchlight in PP using your copy of Elements 10.
11th April 2012, 08:34 AM
This is a lovely picture that you should treasure; her expression is wonderful.
Agree with Dan's comments. The exposure was handled well.
11th April 2012, 03:17 PM
Thanks Dan and Nigel. It's a lot to think about all at once. My main concern was making sure she was in focus and not the flower on her head or anything else besides her face. It's nice to know what's right in the picture and where things could be fixed, such as hand amputation. I'm definitely going to need more time with Elements 10. I think I'll probably need a book.
11th April 2012, 07:02 PM
Welcome to the forum! Re your image I think that Dan has done a good summary of most important aspects to take care of when taking a picture.
My advice to you is oriented to your comment "I switched the camera to manual and got some random settings offline for outdoor portraits." If you are beginning to know your camera it is usually better to go step by step so you can learn how each feature of the camera really works. Going from Point + shoot usage to fully manual in one step is not a step, is a big leap!
Try using the Av mode (which controls the aperture) or the Tv mode (which controls the shutter speed) separately before going into manual. This way you don't have to think of too many things at a time when you are getting familiar with your camera.
Try reading the tutorials at CinC before buying a book about elements. It is better to have a good picture from the camera than trying to fix everything later in post-processing.
Have fun with your daughter and your camera
11th April 2012, 09:23 PM
Hi, Alex. I wish you would have made this capture in vertical format. The crop needs to be moved up to include all of her cap, and down to include her hands.
Also, crop out the plants to the right which happen to be in focus, but leave the ones in back which are not in focus.
Furthermore, there are catchlights in her eyes, they're just not pronounced.
11th April 2012, 09:56 PM
I use fill flash for vrtually all of my outdoor shots if to do nothing but provide catchlights and make the eyes look lively...
14th April 2012, 06:04 AM
Thank you for all the comments.
Toņo, I agree that going from auto to manual is a big leap of faith. I just kind of figured that I can learn from my mistakes. I'm also very impatient and want to know it all right away. I guess that's why I kind of went for it with a sink or swim attitude. So far I think I'm treading water with my chin just above water. lol
Jim, doing that picture vertically would be really nice, I would have been able to keep her hands in and focus more on her. Honestly I hardly ever turn the camera, I think I'm a little more shaky with it like that. It's definitely something to work on.
Richard, I have recently been playing with the flash since your suggestion. Why not use it? Right?
I was goofing around today and got a picture of my cat, which I think turned out really good. I know I Know, I cut off her ears! Thought I'd share!
14th April 2012, 08:02 AM
It was only when I tried out Manual mode that I realised I didn't really understand how my camera worked. Using Tv or Av modes where the camera is doing half the work meant that I didn't always realise what was going on. Taking control of all the setting let me understand the camera and actually made me better when shooting in Av or Tv.
Originally Posted by ialex2005i
14th April 2012, 12:39 PM
What a nice shot of your pretty daughter. All I would add is to suggest that you try for an aperture setting of between 1.8 and 2.8, if possible, to blur your background (DOF). Canon has an inexpensive 50mm/1.8 lens (around $140) that is nice for close portraits. If you don't have one, I'll bet Nikon also has something similar.
Good for you for making the leap to manual. Eventually, it will all start to make sense