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Thread: Need some help with new DSLR

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    realdereal's Avatar
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    Need some help with new DSLR

    Hello- I have a Nikon 5200 with a SB700 Speedlight, 1.8 50mm Nikon lens, kit lens, and 28-300mm Tamron micro lens. I used the 5omm with natural lighting for these shots. Something seems off in each one but I'm not sure what.

    Need some help with new DSLR
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 13th June 2013 at 09:43 PM.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Need some help with new DSLR

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Need some help with new DSLR

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Oh yeah! I was in manual mode for the whole shoot which I know next to nothing about but I don't want to shoot in auto because I really want to learn. As this wasn't a paid shoot or anything I was trying my hand with natural lighting and manual.
    I believe the last shot was in aperture priority though (is that cheating)

    Also, it seemed like when I had the camera in certain modes like maybe S or A or M the shutter speed or ISO couldn't be readjusted so I was getting a lot of too dark shots whilst in aperture priority the lighting seemed better.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    Oh yeah! I was in manual mode for the whole shoot which I know next to nothing about but I don't want to shoot in auto because I really want to learn. As this wasn't a paid shoot or anything I was trying my hand with natural lighting and manual.
    I believe the last shot was in aperture priority though (is that cheating)

    Also, it seemed like when I had the camera in certain modes like maybe S or A or M the shutter speed or ISO couldn't be readjusted so I was getting a lot of too dark shots whilst in aperture priority the lighting seemed better.
    Were you handholding the camera or using a tripod? Also, was your model sitting perfectly still?

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    If you want good feedback you really need to post your settings and details about whether you were using a tripod, VR on/off, etc.

    The first two shots definately look soft. Also some infor on processing, straight out of camera, etc. would help people respond.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    ....what's the exif. Info?.. Can"t really comment without it..

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    These are right out of the camera and I was not using a tripod.
    -Don't know what exif means...
    -Model was still...

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Kristen, honestly, using the different camera modes is NOT cheating (that's what they are there for!) You'll get different opinions of course, but in my view starting out in full manual mode, whatever your eventual goal, is making your learning curve much steeper than it need be. Why not start in P mode and get used to the different way your images look at different focal lengths. Then move on to Av by all means and see how changing aperture changes depth of field, and so on. If you change more than one thing at once, it's the very devil to understand what is affecting what.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Thank you Dave. I study for 1-2 hours every day and shoot daily and I am having quite the time trying to figure these relatively simple things out :|

    Very challenging for me.

    I miss point and shoot but I really-really want to learn
    (added)

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    These are right out of the camera and I was not using a tripod.
    -Don't know what exif means...
    -Model was still...
    EXIF data : shutter speed, F stop, ISO, and focal length will usually suffice. And handheld or tripod, flash or natural or both. don't get discouraged, it will all start coming together very soon.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Hi Kristen,
    well done overall a nice set of pictures that give you a good foundation to grow your knowledge.

    EXIF stands for (Exchangeable Image File) data. Camera settings and scene information are recorded by the camera into the image file. Examples of stored information are shutter speed, date and time a photo was taken, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used.

    Example of your picture:
    Need some help with new DSLR


    Here's some adjustments carried out in PP (post Processing); hope you don't mind.

    Need some help with new DSLR

    Any questions please ask.
    Thanks for sharing and keep shooting.
    John

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Hi Kristen,

    Following on from what John has shown this shot was taken at;

    F2.5, that aperture is going to give you quite a narrow DOF, but your focusing was good as the eyes are reasonably sharp.

    1/50s speed, would be considered slow by some for hand holding. Of course there are some whose technique is perfectly good at this speed and there are some whose technique is not.

    ISO 100, not sure what the base ISO is for your camera but for my Nikon it is 200. If your base ISO is 200 I would question why you reduced it to 100.

    As the image is straight out of camera it will require some basic PP work as John has done. If you do not wish to spend time undertaking PP work it may be possible that you can adjust your in camera settings such as sharpness, contrast etc to give your Jpegs a bit more 'pop'.

    Your pictures are good, composition lighting and exposure with your manual settings are an excellent start. If I was you I would stick with the manual use, try to get a greater understanding of what advantages or disadvantages varying the three main settings will give you.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Ok- It was just that in certain modes I could not change the ISO or Aperture. I am now thinking in certain prority mode that would be the case. Where did you find all that out about my picture?? That is so neat!
    (I think the base of my camera ISO is 100)

    -And for pic #2- Wondering why it is so bright. (how do you get that info screen John?!)

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    I only use Manual when A mode fails to get the result I want ... that is the knowledge you need. Ignoring the fact that they don't make manual cameras these days what is the point in spending and ignoring the help you have paid for
    There is absolutely no virtue in judging images straight out of the camera so unfortunately knowing what to do with a good editor, not the freebie stuff which often comes with the camera, is as essential as learning how to use the camera.
    Contrasting with the stress and turmoil of taking the photo in the editor you have time to consider.

    When I bought my latest camera with its mind boggling array of knobs and buttons, a reason for buying it, I used P mode for the first few days until I gradually learnt what various controls did and could do for me ... an exciting experience and I doubt if I have used M mode more than a couple of times in the past nine months. I'm intestersted in taking photos not working a machine.

    Picture two is bright becuase of the amount of dark told the meter to mislead you into giving more exposure and you didn't correct in editing. Either you 'know' when the meter is giving you a false reading or else you work out the exposure by choosing a mode which doesn't mislead. The extreme is to use a spot metering mode, the less extreme is centre weighted. But the crunch point is recognising how the tonal values present in the composition will affect the way the meter reads. The spot meter gives you a light value for a small area and then you have to work out the exposure ... a rough estimation would be that a reading off the boy's Caucasian skin would be one stop brighter than the exposure for the whole photo. So unless you are aware of what you are doing with a spot meter [mode] it can lead you horribly astray ... as it did for me around a decade ago when I tried it once

    You can use centre weighted as a spot meter if you take the camera up close to the boy's face and note the exposure and then after stepping back for the composition you can use exposure compensation to adjust it to the face reading ... different ways of skinning the cat.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 13th June 2013 at 10:18 PM.

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Hi Kristen,

    I am certainly no portrait expert, but one thing strikes me about these - for the same subject, same lighting, same background (except #2), shots, they are all 'different'.

    If you can, try to achieve more consistency - of both exposure and white balance.

    While it isn't "wrong" to use the semi-auto modes - I do frequently - there's a time and a place for it, this is not it and I believe it is part of the problem with these.

    If the lighting isn't changing, there's only one correct exposure (and WB), so find out what it is, using histogram as an aid, then switch to manual and use those settings.

    You didn't - and your camera's automatic exposure and automatic white balance is trying to reconcile the varying areas of blue jumper, skin tones, white/black background and brown suitcase and coming up with a different answer each time

    This has resulted in #2 being over exposed and all three (perhaps with some PP intervention on #1 and also possibly #2, in being different white balances (on skin).

    If you're going to PP, you may as well shoot RAW, not jpg, it will allow you better quality results.

    Additionally, the narrow DoF (Depth of Field) hasn't help, as it makes some bits sharpen up, while the rest blurs very rapidly; compare detail in collar and cuff on #1.

    Hope that helps,

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    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    I actually saved the RAW image as well but the skin looks grey on all of them (not sure why or what that is)
    OK- time to check in to all that was said. White balance, the P setting, histogram and how to use them. Thank you guys for the help.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    If it is any consolation, I have been shooting digital for a few years now and am only just beginning to see the benefits of 'more Manual' myself (in the right circumstances) - I thought I'd save you a bit of time and get you there sooner

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Kristen - RAW images are simply the base output from your camera which need to be handled in post-processing to get them to look right. They can take a bit more work, but to a knowledgable photographer, you can get a lot more out of your image. You can make all the adjustments, including white balance yourself.

    For some strange reason, only the third image has the metadata (EXIF) attached.

    A number of observations. The images all look a tiny bit overexposed; especially the second one. Probably by 1/3 of a stop or so. I'm not sure that the colour balance (white balance) is quite on as the skin tones have an overall orange cast and I would remove a lot of red and some yellow to get it to look right. To do that, the white backround would take on a cyan cast.

    I don't think you have enough light to shoot at ISO 100. These types of portraits are typically shot in the f/8 - /f11 range to get everything in focus, and 1/50th is a bit slow for shooting with the 50mm lens, as there may be a bit of motion blur here too.

    Other PP steps I would take is to sharpen this image a tad, as it does look a bit soft.

    I hardly ever shoot totally on manual; the only exception is when I am shooting studio lights or playing with a difficult lighting situation. For normal shooting, I would say that 80% of my shots are in aperture priority (where I want a specific depth of field) and the other 20% use shutter priority, where I am trying to do something very specific with motion.

    I also find that the 50mm lens is a bit short for the type of shooting you are doing for this portrait and I prefer a slightly longer lens as the shots tend to look a bit more flattering.


    Need some help with new DSLR
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 14th June 2013 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Added image

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    Re: Need some help with new DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    Ok- It was just that in certain modes I could not change the ISO or Aperture. I am now thinking in certain prority mode that would be the case. Where did you find all that out about my picture?? That is so neat!
    (I think the base of my camera ISO is 100)

    -And for pic #2- Wondering why it is so bright. (how do you get that info screen John?!)
    Hi again Kristen,
    there are many ways people can see your EXIF information, I tend to use: http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

    This free viewer allows you to make basic PP alterations as well as showing the EXIF data if it has not been removed. If you decide to use this method just move your cursor around the edge of screen and you will see the options you have; but as I say there other way to see EXIF data, online viewer etc.
    Any PP I carry out and all of my pictures have some PP work carried out on them; I use Photoshop, but always try and get the shot as correct as possible in camera first.

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