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Thread: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

  1. #1

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    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Hello to you everyone,
    My infamous 18-55mm kitlens without AF has been replaced by the plastic fantastic. The canon 50mm f/1.8 lens and it's just decent i let you guys know. Using a prime lens hasn't been the easiest of tasks for me. I now need to move/lean back, step closer etc but it has been worthwhile(composition now seems a serious business unlike how i saw it before).

    Now I'm in school and the job are begining to come(birthdays, personal portraits). Below are pictures of recent and first attempts with a prime lens. I need your critique of this pictures. Exposure-wise and composition-wise. I did a very little exposure compensation in lightroom on some of them. PP tips will be very welcome.

    While my work still needs tons of improvement, this lens is the best thing that has happened to me and my 1000D.


    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?
    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?
    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?
    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?
    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?
    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

  2. #2

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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Very good indeed, in the first one the young lady on the left needs to relax a little more, than there is images 2 and 3 and that young lady is really working that lens. Images 4 and 5 good goofing around shots and the last one Pretty in Purple. Again very nice, remember sometimes you may have to reshoot as it takes some people a while to relax. With people like that sometimes just faking you are shooting, after a while they just relax and that is when you shoot.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Nice shots of some lovely young ladies... I can see some definite technical improvements over the images you shot with your previous lens. Congratulations on your Nifty Fifty"...

    One thing I want to mention about these shots. When shooting people, be wary of your background area and to ensure that there is nothing "growing" out of the person - such as poles, trees, etc. Backgrounds and the edges of the images are areas in which a good photographer should always be cognizent. Sometimes, shooting with a wide aperture can blur the background as you have done in some of your images but, it is still better to place yourself and your subject for a shot that doesn't include a busy background...

    As far as your original question, "What next?" Either a wider or a telephoto lens might be in order but, since you like to shoot people, I suggest that a hotshoe flash would be the piece of equipment which might improve your shots to the best advantage...

    I would suggest a flash that has through the lens metering capability. One of the least expensive (aat least in the USA used market) flashes is the Canon 420EX. The one drawback of the 420EX is that it cannot be used in the manual mode...

    However, it does have high speed sync (HSS) which allows you to shoot with a higher shutter speed than 1/200 which is the maximum shutter speed at which your camera will sync. The advantage of using a higher shutter speed is when shooting fill flash outdoors. You can utilize a wider F/stop with a faster shutter speed and thus be able to take advantage of selective focus...

    The 420EX has another advantage in that it is the least expensive of the Canon flash units on the used market in the USA. I would assume that it is also the least expensive in Nigeria. The Yongnau (YN) series of flashes are quite inexpensive new here in the USA. If selecting a YN model, I would suggest however, that you get one that can shoot in the auto exposure TTL mode. Bouncing flash indoors with your camera in manual exposure mode and the flash in auto exposure is a great way to learn to shoot...

    Another accessory which will help any photographer, especially when shootimg landscapes or night shots is a tripod. However, for shooting people, the flash would be a better investment...

    The 420EX both tilts and rotates which is important when bouncing the flash. Additionally, I suggest that you tape an index card or business card to the rear of your flash tube when bouncing. This will throw some light forward and make a more natural looking portrait...

  4. #4
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Now you should start paying attention to the background you are shooting and make sure that they complement your shots. You don't want poles that look like they stick out of your subject's heads (see your second and third images). Look at choosing pleasing backgrounds that add to the images.

    Don't shoot your subjects straight on; get them to stand at a bit of an angle to the camera. Shots tend to look more attractive that way. I'm looking at your second and last image.

    When you cut a limb of your subjects, try not to do so at a joint - it looks awkward. Look at the hand of the girl on the right wearing the pink watch. The fingers and hand look a bit awkward.

  5. #5
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Hi Ife,

    As Richard has said watch the backgrounds. You have some great 'models' and fun poses but I feel these would have had far more punch with less distracting backgrounds.

    Congrats on your 50mm now get out there and experiment with opening it wide and let us see the results !

    One other thing, it would be worthwhile including the full Exif data in your postings that will give us an idea of settings used.

    Regards, Grahame

  6. #6
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Another suggestion with respect to backgrounds: play around with different apertures. The wider open you go, the more the unwanted detail in the background will be blurred.

  7. #7
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    A hint for posing models...

    Here's one scenario...

    Have your subjects back foot at approximately a 45 degree angle to your camera and sensor. Have the front foot perpindicular (90 degree angle) to the back foot. Have your model rest her weight on the back foot and have her face turned towards the camera.

    If you are showing the hands, try to show the edges of the hands rather than the broadside.

    If the hands are above the waist, they should be pointing up slightly. Conversely, if the hands are below the waist, they should be pointed down.

    I like most of my shots with the eyes facing the same direction as the head but, that is not a hard and fast rule. It is easier to get away with eyes pointing in a different direction when shooting females than when shooting males.

    Some links...

    http://portrait-photographer.blogspo...-and-face.html

    http://lifehacker.com/5906963/instan...r-head-forward

    http://studiostyles.net/photography-...rum-head-tilt/

    https://www.mac-on-campus.com/Learni...int/15743.aspx

    http://www.lumitouch.com/benstudiotutorial/rules.html

    Best of luck. You seem to have a lot of pretty women to shoot! Have fun shooting them and let us see the results please!

  8. #8
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    As I scrolled through the pictures the first thing I thought about was your backgrounds. Then I saw that everyone had already covered that with their comments!

    Now I cannot see you EXIF data but it looks as if you were shooting around f4 (?). If I knew your shutter speed and aperture, then I could potentially recommend another option.

    I'm shooting in bright light and with my D700 my fastest shutter speed is 1/8000th. That's a one stop improvement over my previous D90.

    Even with 1/8000th fastest shutter speed, sometimes I'm hitting the wall - getting to the point where if I'm shooting wide open the camera can't give me a fast enough shutter to exposure correctly when I'm in Aperture Priority mode. The answer to this is a 2 stop or 3 stop ND filter. Or a Circular Polariser (which can give you 1 - 1 1/2 stops of light 'reduction'). I can then shoot at f1.4 - f2 without hitting that wall.

    So possibly the best solution, to get a little more saturation into your skies and get a shallower DoF to blur those backgrounds a little more, would be to shoot a little closer to wide open, use a little exposure compensation (-0.3, -0.7, or maybe -1) and add a circular polariser. Slightly underexposing will bring the sky back a little, the circular polariser will add to that sky, and you'll be able to shoot with a wider aperture.

  9. #9

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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Well, comments do not come more constructive than this. Thank you so much for your inputs.

    Richard,
    I actually have a Nissin 622mkii flash and do have a tripod too. I just need to get my acts right. For the lens, i have a Sigma 70-300mm.

    Moving on, some quick ones please.
    1. Are tripods ever necessary to shoot people(either indoors or outdoors)?

    2. Then would a flash have helped with the posted images as i did not use one?

    3. I used ISO of 200 and 400 when the images started coming out dark. Crazy choice?

    4. On a very bright day like the day i took the shots, how would one use a flash? I have no wireless trigger et al...

    5. Respective of this lens(or not), how does one take good group photos? Those will be hugely needed too.

    Most of the shots were done in AV mode(which i'm beginning to like) too. Mostly f4, ISO 200-400.

  10. #10
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    Mostly f4
    I should get a life!!!!!!

  11. #11

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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Hi Ife,
    Great improvement on the last work I have seen of you. Manfred has really helped you a great deal.
    As to Your questions:
    1) Depending on you - some pros will always use a tripod shooting portraits.
    2) Fill flash is always good when the sun cast a shadow over a face. Shot no3 needed a bit of fill flash. A good thing to to learn how to use it is a reflector. Natural light always looks better to me.
    3) No not a crazy choice - your images will only really start showing noise at about 800 ISO. Keeping ISO as low as possible is a good idea. If you opened a little on the aperture you would have solved two issues - high ISO and background.
    4) Simply attached your flash to the hot shoe of your camera.
    5) If it is going to be a formal portrait: Fill as much of the frame as possible with your group and try to arrange the group with the long people in the middle back and shorter people to the sides and front. Try using the idea of a triangle - always works well.

    Try to keep vertical objects in the image vertical - like lamp posts etc. Avoid any vertical object from growing out of your subjects head. Avoid horisontal lines from running trough your subjects face. Try looking for nice backgrounds like trees and solid walls.
    Keep improving.

  12. #12
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Attempts at some answers...

    The Nissin 622mkii flash appears to be a very capable flash. I don't think that it has high speed sync (HSS) capability with your camera. That is no great problem as long as you keep your shutter speed at 1/200 second or slower. In actuality that is a workable range for getting reasonably sharp images with your 50mm f/1.8 lens. However, it might be a bit slow for your 70-300mm lens when shooting at focal lengths longer than 125mm, unless the lens has some stabilization. However, the ranges between 50mm (your nifty thrifty) and 70-125mm are great for portraits.

    I would look to shoot at ISO 100 or ISO 160 to gain the maximum image quality. Achieving decent exposure at that ISO should be no problem. I would adjust my shutter speed/aperture combination if the image is too dark before I would start increasing my ISO.

    Fill flash will open up shadows in the faces of your subject. You can also balance out the background exposure with the exposure on the subject which is sometimes handy when shooting backlit subjects. Additionally, sometimes you can actually overpower the sun and have a well lit subject with a dark background.

    The problem with using a flash that doesn't have HSS capability for outdoor use is that, since you are limited to a maximum shutter speed of 1/200, you are also limited to an f/stop of f/11 or f/8, on bright day outdoors, using 1/200 second and ISO 100. This will not give you the capability to blur the background. When shooting under restrictions like this, you have to be very careful about situating your subject so that the background is not intrusive. Choose a neutral background, rocks, foliage or sometimes even a brick wall. Preferably locate your subject a distance from the background will also help minimize the impact of the background. Shooting early in the day or late in the afternoon would also often help you use a wider f/stop at your maximum shutter speed...

    If you have a helper (or one of your willing subjects) try using a reflector to fill in the shadows, rather than flash fill. This will not limit you to any specific shutter speed and you can shoot with a high shutter speed and a wide f/stop to blur the background. I shoot a lot of my portraits with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens at f/4 to give me maximum control over selective depth of field...

    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    You don't have to spend a lot of money on a reflector. A large piece of white cardboard will work. However, the sun screens that are designed to shade an auto dashboard make great reflectors. They are available in white and/or silver color and usually are pretty cheap in price. The white will provide a softer fill while the silver will provide more punch. Additionally, they can fold down into a very small package. Sometimes you can find one that is silver on one side and white on the other side...

    Some photographers use a tripod for portraiture. I will often use one for more formal portraits indoors but, I seldom use one outdoors. I like to be mobile when shooting outdoors...

    I may be reinventing the wheel with this advice. The tutorials on CiC cover a lot of portraiture information and the Canon Digital Learning Center ( http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/home/home.shtml ) also has many informative videos which are free to view. Additionally, YouTube has many instructive videos available. However, the quality of these videos and information contained therein are of varied quality...

  13. #13

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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    I'm fervently still reading this thread. Richard, how does one use a reflector? I mean, please could you be so kind to just give me the underlying concept. Is it just trying to cover your subject from certain harsh sun rays or it's more than that?

    Phil,
    Quick non-photo questions : are you married/do you have a girlfriend? do you take interest in anything other than photography, do you drink? If you answer "NO" to at least two of these three questions then "YES", you should get a life. C'mon mehn! You guessed aperture correctly...that's some jedi master stuff. Now i have another definition for mastery.

    Andre,
    Even you yourself have been of great help in previous posts. I'm yet to get a bad response from this site and I am very happy. You see Manfred? He has just been wonderful.

    Thanks so much everyone.

  14. #14
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    1. Are tripods ever necessary to shoot people(either indoors or outdoors)?.
    While I do use tripods for a good deal of my shooting, I find them a bit cumbersome for portraits, especially the informal outdoor ones like you are shooting. I think there can be a place for them for formal studio shot or formal outdoor shots with a very long focal length.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    2. Then would a flash have helped with the posted images as i did not use one?
    I think you should start working with a fill flash when you are shooting in a bright, sunny outdoor environment. There are some shadows in your subject’s faces that should be softened up, and as you are shooting alone, a camera mounted fill flash is probably the easiest way to go.

    The other thing that a flash would do for you is to reposition your models. They tend to be squinting and that comes from them looking into the sun. If you reversed the situation and have them with the sun behind them (and you looking and squinting into the sun), they would open their eyes wider for a better looking shot. You need fill light in that setting to bring out the details in their faces and they will be in shadow. You will need to play around a bit to get the exposure right.

    I like shooting with a reflector, and as Richard says, these are really inexpensive, but you need an assistant to use one. An alternative is a stand to hold the reflector, but that will really slow you down. A scrim to diffuse the light would also work, but again, that is tough to do when shooting by yourself.

    The other thing you should look at is shooting somewhere that is more shaded and not out in the open in direct sunlight.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    3. I used ISO of 200 and 400 when the images started coming out dark. Crazy choice?
    The scenes look quite bright. If the exposures are coming out too dark and you need to play with exposure compensation as the bright background might be fooling your camera’s metering system. I seem to remember that your camera does not have a spot metering mode and I don’t know what level of exposure compensation it has. Regardless, you can shoot on manual and see what the histograms are doing to ensure good exposure.
    Remember, your camera’s exposure latitude is best at the lowest ISO settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    4. On a very bright day like the day i took the shots, how would one use a flash? I have no wireless trigger et al...
    You should be using on-camera flash, so you don’t need a wireless trigger. Going off-camera requires more equipment and it is tough to handle by oneself in a spontaneous outdoor shooting environment.

    Of course, shooting in bright light on a bright day is not ideal, so I would suggest you look for a more suitable location or better time of day. I know that this is not always possible, and in that case you have to do what you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    5. Respective of this lens(or not), how does one take good group photos? Those will be hugely needed too.
    The same way one takes a good shot of single people or small groups. Good setup, lighting and posing. It’s just much harder to get everyone looking good and getting them to focus on the shot. It is very important to direct the group and telling them what to do, otherwise it is difficult to get a good shot. You will have to take a series of shots with a group, more so than when shooting individuals.

  15. #15

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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    I'm fervently still reading this thread. Richard, how does one use a reflector? I mean, please could you be so kind to just give me the underlying concept. Is it just trying to cover your subject from certain harsh sun rays or it's more than that?

    Phil,
    Quick non-photo questions : are you married/do you have a girlfriend? do you take interest in anything other than photography, do you drink? If you answer "NO" to at least two of these three questions then "YES", you should get a life. C'mon mehn! You guessed aperture correctly...that's some jedi master stuff. Now i have another definition for mastery.

    Andre,
    Even you yourself have been of great help in previous posts. I'm yet to get a bad response from this site and I am very happy. You see Manfred? He has just been wonderful.

    Thanks so much everyone.
    Ife, I strongly recommend you to go through the "School of Portraiture", contributed by Colin:
    School of Portraiture - Links to Lessons 1 through 8.

    This is one of the most informative threads I have read in this forum.

  16. #16

    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    i also love this lens,
    compact, easy to use, and tack sharp..

  17. #17
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Ife,

    You asked "I'm fervently still reading this thread. Richard, how does one use a reflector? I mean, please could you be so kind to just give me the underlying concept. Is it just trying to cover your subject from certain harsh sun rays or it's more than that?"

    The theory of using a reflector is very simple. A flat reflecting surface that is positioned near your subject to bounce light off to fill the shadows and illuminate the subject. Think about the reflector as a second source of light, especially fill light...

    There are commercially available reflectors such as this one. They can be inepensive or very expensive. I would suspect that the difference would be quality of build and how long the reflector will last under somewhat harsh treatment. As opposed to other photo equipment, I don't think that there would be any difference in the quality of the photograph if you used a very expensive reflector or if you simply used a flat piece of white cardboard.

    http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-S...eflector+photo

    The different covers of the reflector will throw different color or quality light onto the subject in different ways. In this case, the white is a general purpose all-around tool providing a relatively soft fill. The silver provides more punch and spectral light. The black can be used to shade the subject from bright sun, etc. Gold is a good choice, because the reflected light is warmer in color temperature, when you are using the reflector for fill light with the setting sun to the rear or to the side of the subject or want a warmer looking image for any reason...

    Additionally, a reflector can effectively be used indoors as a second source of light. Think about lighting a person to one side with the sun from a window and then filling the shadows with light bounced off the reflector. If you choose a decent background, you can achieve a very professional looking portrait with just window sun and the reflector...

    A white piece of cardboard can be used as a reflector. Any piece of flat material can be used as a reflector if it is covered with aluminum foil. However it is best to crumple up the foil first and then flatten it out. This will give a bit more diffused light. As I mentioned car window shades, especially white and/or silver ones make great reflectors...

    http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Expressio...=window+shades

    The downside of using a reflector is that you either have to have an assistant hold the reflector or have a stand on which to mount it. Additionally, sometimes a reflector used in bright sun will cause your subject to squint. This is especially true when using a silver reflector. Sometimes you can have the subject hold the reflector down low, out of the frame. This will fill shadows beneath the eyebrows, nose and chin...

    These images will give you a general idea of the different ways reflectors can be used...

    https://www.google.com/search?q=phot...w=1280&bih=582

    BTW: small reflectors can be very good when shooting tabletop still life images...

    Here is a series of free videos on various photo techniques...

    http://www.prophotolife.com/video-library/

    Have fun shooting and post more images. Be sure to read Colin's portrait information in the tutorials...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 13th November 2012 at 03:30 PM.

  18. #18
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

    Meet my assistant....

    I got tired of looking for family members to help when I am shooting indoors, so I got a commercial relector and holder that I pop onto one of my light stands.

    As Richard says, a reflector makes a great fill light. The top part of the picture shows the reflector on the stand and the bottom image shows the silver side (back) of the reflector and the clamp mechanism. It would not be a good tool outdoors if there is any wind at all, but it works great indoors and it never complains about getting tired....


    Now with the 50mm prime, what next?

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