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Thread: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

  1. #1
    Meisam's Avatar
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    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Hello

    This is what I've done today....

    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?
    IMG_2744 by Meisam Tj., on Flickr

    I only want to know why I can't take and edit high detailed photo like this one bellow?

    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?
    PÍcheur de vagues by nicobzhache, on Flickr

    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?
    The secret cove by nicobzhache, on Flickr

    My camera is T2i (550D) and the second one is 450D. I use EF-S 18-55 and this photo done with EF-S 10-22.
    Are these all quality, sharpness, colors for the lens? Or I don't know something I should know about?!

    Some one told me the sharpest and best aperture is f/8 for 18-55. But there is no magical sharpness or quality foe me... my photos most of them except some close ups are flat, smooth, without any sharpness and colors do not looks real...

    When I add white to a pic or add some black or use clarity or contrast in Adobe Camera Raw (7.1) I just don't achieve what I think and desire... I lose details... here is this photo we have both details and colors and good histogram...

    What's wrong with my gears or my edit?

  2. #2

    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Hey Meisam,

    Part of what I see is blurring in the drops of water from the wave crashing into the rocks. Go to the larger view and you'll see what I mean. You need a faster shutter speed to freeze motion and prevent blurring unless that is what you want, and also will get rid of the droplet trails. Hope this helps and maybe someone can spot something I did not see.

    Carl

  3. #3
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Being the one you are putting yours against....has some great motion blurr in it, I don't think a faster shutter is what you are looking for. In fact likely slower but I feel that is the least of your issues here.
    First you must start with a compelling composition of a great scene as in the photos beleow yours along with the wonderful light.

    The rocks in your image look fairly sharp so......had you had the light, the composition the scene and the PP skills of the photographers whom made the images you are judging yours against, I believe is very possible.

    Keep at it, shoot a ton, practice, practice, practice and you will get there. You have set some good goals I think in emulating images of this quality.

    Likely these were shot with use of an GND filter. This would help them to equal out the bright sky and bring up the exposure in the foreground. Possible to do to a point in PP if you have the skills. But once you blow the sky there is no going back.

    Hope this helps, I like the images you have shown and the toughest part is to find a scene such as this depending on where you live.

  4. #4
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    I agree with Paul. Slower shutter would had worked and the sharpness is not bad. But along with that, look at how those two where shot compared to yours. Yours is shot top to bottom. While the others are virtually level. So you're not comparing the same type of shot.

    But I think the real issue is that you're being hard on yourself. Before I started shooting seriously, I read and practice. And practice some more. Also, stop comparing your shots with others and compete. Instead look at your photo's and see what could have made it better. Sometimes it's the post processing that improves a photo.
    Look at those photo's that you admire and understand why you find them interesting. For example that first photo. How did he make the water look so smooth and silky? The sky is beautiful and the rocks are nice and dark. Going back to the water being silky, look it up on the internet or here at CIC then practice it. If you do this, you'll spend less time competing and more time admiring your own photos.

  5. #5

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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Meisaam: what you are wanted takes a lot of practice and knowledge. You can still get an interesting image from where you took that top image you posted. Tripod, camera ISO lowest setting, f-stop 22 or 29 as you want a shutter speed of at lest 1 to 3 seconds that will also depend on the time it takes for each cycle of waves. The two other images wer probably shot at 1 to 3 seconds in lenght, using a netural density filter to help slow down the shutter so a more open f-stop could be used. I would also say that a hard gradulated netural density filter was also use on just the sky to knock it down another stop or more. As that is what I would have done. It takes lots of practice and knowing your equippment, now some of the effects can be done to help in some post porcessing software such as Nik filters 4. Remember you are learning for every 50 images you take only one or two maybe worthwhile, so learn for those one or two images so you are no longer shooting 50 to get one or two but only now shooting 20 to get 2 good ones. If you like those images (and I do) look up the photographer's web site, a lot of the time they will list how they shot the image, or list their equippment, tell how they like to look at things and why. It will help you get into their mind seeing how they go about taking an image, and this should help you get into your own mind about what and how you want your image to appear.
    Rather long winded I know, just keep working on it, if it was easy everyone could do it, one day it will click and you will look in the mirror and say to yourself " you dummy how did you not see that".

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    HI,

    If you want to compare, first of all, take a shot that aside from the beach/rocks, sea, also include the sky ( probably sunset/sunrise to get nice rich colors. ). Then, use that technique of slowing down the shutter so you can get the creamy water look in the other pictures. Usually, crashing, splashing waves with multiple details are hard to get sharp even with the best lens.
    Read-up/implement/repeat-repeat-repeat post-processing how to get the best results from your raw image.

    HTH
    Last edited by nimitzbenedicto; 22nd September 2012 at 03:12 AM.

  7. #7
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    The one thing no one has discussed explicitely is the lighting in the pictures that you like. These are late day images; the one with the fisherman was taken at around 19:00 and the other one was take at around 21:00. Both were taken in northern France, in late August so the beautiful late day lighting has certainly come into play in both these images. Landscape and waterscape photographers love shooitng during "magic hour"; the time shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset, when the light is very diffuse from traveling through the atmosphere.

    The shadows in your image are harsh and distinct, and while I can't tell at what time you took these, I would guess closer to the middle part of the day, when the lighting conditions tend to be rather uninteresting.

    The photographer does say that he used used an 8-stop ND filter plus a hard grad for the fishing image, with an 0.6 second exposure; and he shot with a tripod. The image with the cove, he used the hard grad filter only, but the exposure was 4 seconds, and again using a tripod. Both shots were taken at a 10mm (ultra-wide angle) lens setting.

    Neither of the two shots you like were simple hand-held shots. The photographer picked specific times of day and and some speciality equipment (filters, tripod and an extremely wide angle lens). He set up and took care in composing and taking these shots.

    If you want to get images like he did, you are going to have to understand composition, light and some of the photographic techniques he used to pull off these shots.

  8. #8
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Well the first shot is a bracketed exposure, blended in post processing. Sharpness, contrast, saturation have all been added. Could be a Neutral Density filter that was used, but unlikely as the man on the rock is exposed like the foreground, rather than the sky (the ND filter would darken the area he's stood on)

    The second shot could be an ND filter, due to the darker areas of rocky coastline around the horizon level, but probably used the same technique as above. Or the photographer could have used an inverted ND filter in Lightroom or the equivalent to bring up the light levels in the foreground. Either way, it doesn't look quite right.

    There is a big learning curve to getting your post processing right, and employing skill to capture the scene in the best possible way at the time of capture, in order to create a finished image that looks good and right to the eye. Don't be disheartened. If you see images like these on forums, ask the poster how they processed it and many will come back to you with the techniques.

  9. #9
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    And if all else fails, remember the old advertising slogan:

    'If anyone can, canon can'

    Hey, it's marketing, so it must be true

  10. #10
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Well the first shot is a bracketed exposure, blended in post processing. Sharpness, contrast, saturation have all been added. Could be a Neutral Density filter that was used, but unlikely as the man on the rock is exposed like the foreground, rather than the sky (the ND filter would darken the area he's stood on)

    The second shot could be an ND filter, due to the darker areas of rocky coastline around the horizon level, but probably used the same technique as above. Or the photographer could have used an inverted ND filter in Lightroom or the equivalent to bring up the light levels in the foreground. Either way, it doesn't look quite right.

    There is a big learning curve to getting your post processing right, and employing skill to capture the scene in the best possible way at the time of capture, in order to create a finished image that looks good and right to the eye. Don't be disheartened. If you see images like these on forums, ask the poster how they processed it and many will come back to you with the techniques.
    Phil - If you look at the Flickr page, the photographer has listed the equipment and settings on each shot. It's in French, but even if you don't read French, it's easy enough to figure out. He says he used a hard grad in both shots and an 8 stop ND in the first one. I didn't see a PP marker in the metadata.

  11. #11
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Phil - If you look at the Flickr page, the photographer has listed the equipment and settings on each shot. It's in French, but even if you don't read French, it's easy enough to figure out. He says he used a hard grad in both shots and an 8 stop ND in the first one. I didn't see a PP marker in the metadata.
    Looking closer at the man on the rock, you can see the line where the exposure changes. There's a difference in the colour of the rock around 1/3rd of the way up. Perhaps a blend would have been better.

  12. #12
    Meisam's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Hey Meisam,

    Part of what I see is blurring in the drops of water from the wave crashing into the rocks. Go to the larger view and you'll see what I mean. You need a faster shutter speed to freeze motion and prevent blurring unless that is what you want, and also will get rid of the droplet trails. Hope this helps and maybe someone can spot something I did not see.

    Carl
    Thank you Carl, I used f/8 aperture and ISO 400, but the shutter speed was low as you mentioned, I could increase more ISO (adding more noise) or opening the aperture (smaller depth of filed) which I really didn't want in this shot... I think if I had faster lens this problem would be solve. But my question is about quality of picture not technical things.

  13. #13
    Meisam's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Thank you guys... let me explain something. I really didn't say I want to compare my work with those two awesome work dear Nicolas LE DILHUIT did.

    I said I do photograph, my shots aren't sharp, detailed, high quality... the camera is not the issue because he used his Canon 450D and my camera is Canon 550D.

    I read and saw many books and videos tutorials. I know many lenses and I have some skills in photoshop and other software.

    But the question is this, why his photos are so natural, bright, high quality and mine isn't.

    I took my photo in the last times of the day (sunset) and I took many other photos. I couldn't increase the shutter speed due to lens speed so add more ISO up to 400... on 800 I would have more noise so I didn't do that...

    Do you think because he used ND filter and tripod and a longer shutter and also a better wide lens his photos turn to this? It means if I do the same I will reach the same photo quality?

    Or these are just process and equipment are not important? I know both of them are important but which one is the role key?

    Thanks for your time and responses.

    Regards
    Meisam

  14. #14
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Process and technique will win over equipment - the post processing has played a large role in his finished images though.

  15. #15
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Hi Meisam,

    I have read your original post and all others and am a bit confused by your post 13.

    As for your question "why his photos are so natural, bright, high quality and mine isn't" I think this has been answered already in the previous replys. Your photo IS natural, bright, sharp and high quality, what it lacks in comparrison to the two examples is simply subject matter. Subject matter is not something you can sort out with equipment or ND filters etc .......

    For the subject and angle of view you chose to shoot you have got the result RIGHT and the only other options you could have chosen were to either freeze OR blur the water movement. IMHO I do not think either option would have really improved the shot.

    Your equipment (camera & lens) can if used correctly with your subjects selectively chosen produce equally stunning results as the examples. A tripod will be essential if shooting long exposures with the aim of bluring water and ND filters useful although not essential if you shoot early or late in the day.

    Grahame

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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Meisam,

    In short - TRIPOD, Small Aperture ( like F22) and a slowish Shutter Speed(like 2sec).

    Just keep on trying!

  17. #17
    Meisam's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    This is another photo, same photo, same equipment
    Aperture f/8 - Shutter speed 1/250 - ISO 400

    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Some contrast, Highlight, Shadow...
    and two level adjustment layer added for brightening foreground and darkening sky...

    But I don't still see any WOW factor in my photos...

  18. #18
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Well if the light and air quality in Iran is like here in Dubai, then you're going to have trouble with your skies. It's a problem, and there's not a great deal you can do about it, apart from maybe use the more pastel tones to your advantage. The foreground is horribly out of focus in this image though

  19. #19
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Hi Meisam,

    You are right, the WOW factor is not present, but at least you are trying to achieve one and it will come eventually.

    For me, as the sky and sunset is a bit bland I would have liked to see the waves sharp as they are the 'interesting' object in this shot (at least to me). A difficult capture without pushing the ISO up more.

    In addition not sure about the horizontal line of the poled structure being partly along the horizon.

    As for WOW factors I'm pretty sure that many here and certainly me do not get that many as often as we would like ! BUT, it's what to aim for.

    Grahame

  20. #20
    Meisam's Avatar
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    re: Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Well if the light and air quality in Iran is like here in Dubai, then you're going to have trouble with your skies. It's a problem, and there's not a great deal you can do about it, apart from maybe use the more pastel tones to your advantage. The foreground is horribly out of focus in this image though
    It was not a cloudy day, we have many cloudy days, most of the time heavy cloudy you even can't see the sun... but I think that was not the best day to go out.
    I see, I used manual focus and I forgot to set focus in this shot...

    What do you guys think about this one:

    Why I can't shoot good sharp high quality photos?

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