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Thread: Where do I start....

  1. #1

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    Where do I start....

    Where do i start, I walk along and see something that triggers something in my head which says...wow, that will look good, so i set up the tripod, take loads of pics, change loads of settings, have a bit of a play then when i look at the pics i say to myself....

    Why do I bother, they look awful, what I see and what I shoot with my 550D seem miles apart...anybody looking at any of the pics would say "whats that meant to be" or "why did you take that picture"

    I dont know where i am going wrong, I seem to have the creative mind just not the skills or ability to transfer what i see into the lens and out the other side

    Paul

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul

    One question to think about "I walk along and see something that triggers something in my head which says...wow, that will look good,...": What are you seeing? What are you really seeing?

    Are you 'seeing' what's going to be inside the finished frame, or are you seeing all that is about you, added to by the atmosphere, your mood, the noises, the smells etc etc. Remember, none of these are going to transfer into the finished image? You've got to isolate that which you can see in the viewfinder and then ask - Is this saying 'Wow'? Is what you're seeing in the viewfinder conveying the same feeling as what you see when you stand up, with both eyes open and are looking all around you?

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Where do i start, I walk along and see something that triggers something in my head which says...wow, that will look good, so i set up the tripod, take loads of pics, change loads of settings, have a bit of a play then when i look at the pics i say to myself....

    Why do I bother, they look awful, what I see and what I shoot with my 550D seem miles apart...anybody looking at any of the pics would say "whats that meant to be" or "why did you take that picture"

    I dont know where i am going wrong, I seem to have the creative mind just not the skills or ability to transfer what i see into the lens and out the other side

    Paul
    Don't despair, that's what the forum is all about - collective reasoning! Post some of your pics so "we" can help you out. You can't be versatile at once, you have to take it slowly... and with perseverance. If I may, can I kindly share to you one statement by a certain photographer named "Bernard J. Suess" that helped me a lot on my photographic study?

    He said:
    "Living in a society obsessed with success, we often seek immediate gratification. If something doesn't work the first time, we search for success elsewhere. I have found out that success often depends upon repeated ardous efforts, often with moderate improvements. It is in the repetition that we hone our skills."
    -Excerpt from his book "Creative B&W Photography"

    Start learning how to use your 550D, then grow from there. Good luck, mate! Cheers!
    Last edited by jiro; 3rd January 2011 at 06:50 PM.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    I am trying to see whats in the finished frame, I even see it in the viewfinder but when it comes to pulling the image up on screen (PC) it looks awfull and goes back to what i said "why did you take that image"

    For example...
    Where do I start....
    That looks nothing like what i THOUGHT i was seeing, the colours, the reflection its just all so wrong even the sky looks different to how it did through my eyes, not as dramatic !

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    Re: Where do I start....

    That's a start. Now, tell us exactly what you "thought" the image should be. More colorful sky? sharper reflection on the water? more contrast on the image? Plush vegeatation? By becoming specific in your ideas that will guide you on the post-processing. IMO, based on your image, your problem is more on white balance and exposure. As a guide, you need to understand that the human eye has a far wider exposure latitude than any film or digital sensor available right now. We just need to look for that "sweet spot" on that exposure value to record something closer to what we saw. Wait for others to react on your post and they will surely help you out on this one.
    Last edited by jiro; 3rd January 2011 at 06:23 PM.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul, I hope you don't mind. I decided to work around your posted image. If this was my image, I would probably interpret it this way:

    Where do I start....

    Is this close to what you "saw"?

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul

    Willie's started up with some good ideas to, hopefully, help your thinking. Once you say how close his interpretation is to your own vision of what you saw, we'll see where that takes us.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    That my friend is EXACTLY what I saw ! so where do/did I go wrong, Maybe I should go to some classes or get out with someone who knows what they are doing ?

    The colours in that image of yours are I know edited however it is not far from what i saw through the naked eye, now I know the camera is more than up too the job as i have seen some super samples of great images taken with the 550D and same goes for the lens.

    Am i asking too much, are all the samples edited ? do people mainly edit to such a degree ? because where im sitting it looks like you had to do a fair bit to get it looking like that and in my mind it was what i was after, cant expect too much, i am only a novice i thought to myself but the main image is bad, even i can admit that lol !!
    Last edited by Ruffy; 3rd January 2011 at 08:38 PM.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Right. Now we can talk about things to be done at the time of capture (exposure, etc) and what gets done in post-processing. You're getting the composition you wanted, so that's not what we need to be concerned about.

    So, Paul .................

    Are you shooting Raw or Jpeg?
    What software do you have on your computer to work with images (anything from Picassa, etc up to the highest-end Photoshop-type stuff)?
    How would you rate your knowledge and skills in relation to post-processing?

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Well first off, Im running a PC with Photoshop Elements 9, I tried Photoshop CS5 but found elements better to navigate. I am playing with the idea of switching to a Mac.

    As for knowledge, very little which is more down to wanting to get out more with the camera, I am very pleased with whats been done with that image, but....Its not the one I took really is it !!! I am all for adding effects and making minor adjustments but I want to keep them real as possable and maybe thats my problem.

    I look on this site and see some amazing pictures that take my breath away, are they really all edited ???

    Raw or JPEG, ok I have read that it is best to shoot RAW as you dont dump any of the image which leaves you more fleixabilty when it comes to editing, so I am learning I mainly shoot JPEG though because I have not come to the stage where I need to edit my images.....or have I !!!!!!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    As for knowledge, very little which is more down to wanting to get out more with the camera, I am very pleased with whats been done with that image, but....Its not the one I took really is it !!! I am all for adding effects and making minor adjustments but I want to keep them real as possable and maybe thats my problem.
    AAAAAAAARRRGGHHHH!!

    We've had lots and lots of discussion on here prompted by people relatively new to photography at this level, who have arrived at the view that post-processing is somehow cheating. If it is, then the great photographers of the past who spent hours and hours in their darkrooms, were also cheating .... and I don't think anyone has ever suggested that!

    As I have said on here before (as have many others using different words but the same message) - When you post-process an image, you're not altering it. You're carrying out part 2 of the process. Part 1 was setting up and pressing the shutter.

    As Willie said, the camera cannot always capture what you saw, because your dynamic range is far greater than that of the camera.

    The really great ones you see on here may have had lots and lots of post-processing time spent on them. And that is an integral part of the art of photography.

    And please, please, please .......... start shooting RAW.

    And finally - Yes what you've seen from Willie is the image you saw and the photograph that you took.. It's been made to look like you saw it. The camera is good, but it's not that good. It needs help.
    Last edited by Donald; 3rd January 2011 at 09:54 PM.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul,
    May I just add to the very sound advise already given ? What the human eye sees and what the camera sees are actually quite similar. However, when we look at a scene we “see” it via the human vision system – of which our eye is but a small part. Our vision system is a wonderful device. It has auto this, that, and everything else. What we “see” is a very complicated composite. So your now with all of us on our own respective photographic journeys – trying, each in our own way - to make what comes out of the camera into what we “see”. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

    Regards,

    Nick.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Well now im feeling like i am getting somewhere, there was me thinking i should be shooting super duper shots with no editing, goes to show just how novice i am.

    So do you think Photoshop elements 9 is good ? or CS5, think i should get lessons in post-processing anyhow, any recormendations ? online learning or night school sort of stuff...I wanna learn !!!!

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Well now im feeling like i am getting somewhere,
    Good! Glad we're able to help.

    I don't use any of the Adobe products, but there are many Elements users on here who produce very high quality images. I understand that CS5 has all the bells and whistles, but maybe that's something you can upgrade to in the future is you wanted to.

    The one think about the Adobe range is that there are lots and lots of tutorials, courses, books etc etc to help you. The thing you need to decide is how you best learn - Is it by working alone at home, or do you learn better in a group environment in a college, etc? That will guide the learning path that you take.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Well first off, Im running a PC with Photoshop Elements 9, I tried Photoshop CS5 but found elements better to navigate. I am playing with the idea of switching to a Mac.
    Ruffy, I've travelled the same road as you in the last few years. Started off with a Konica Milota Dimage A2 and PSE7 and was generally disappointed with my efforts. Upgraded the camera to a 500D and learned PSE. It took a year or so to see the limitations of PSE but I'm glad I went that way as I think I would have had trouble gettting my head around CS5 (which I use now)!

    In lieu of Bridge, use Canon ZoomBrowser to grade your images. One of the good things it does is show you the focus points of each shoot. You'll need to consider a processing workflow stratgey at some stage.

    Re RAW: Buy yourself a fast, large capaicity SD card for your camera and shoot in raw. Using ACR makes such a difference. Turns an average (or worse) image into a keeper. There are some good online videos on Adobe's website for learning ACR. The ability to change the WB and exposure saves many an image.

    What to shoot? I like to go by myself when specifically doing photography as I need to concentrate on what's in the image and how it'll look. If in doubt I take lots! Vary the angles and aspects. Shoot in manual, under, over and just right exposures, play with depth of field. My recent trip to Natural Bridge resulted on 200+ images, a dozen of which I consider keepers.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul, I'm so happy for you that you started this thread as it has allowed you to see the light, so to speak. Now that you have your head around the fact that cameras very seldom "see" what we see, and that your images will need some pp, you have won half the battle.

    As far as choice of software goes, the only times I have played with Elements and that was quite a long time ago on a friends computer, I found Elements assumptions of what was "best" ie the automated responses, were not enough for a control freak like me to work with, which is why I have gone for the CS versions.

    But there are also free post processing software on the net, such as the GIMP which are almost up to Photoshop levels. I think there are some here who would say that the GIMP does anything that CS does, but as far as I understand it, the GIMP limits you to 8 bit images, which may not matter. More here on that.

    Do continue to post images and ask questions as you learn. I have found the advice and critique in CiC second to none on the internet and I have been looking for a long, long time.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Where do i start, I walk along and see something that triggers something in my head which says...wow, that will look good, so i set up the tripod, take loads of pics, change loads of settings, have a bit of a play then when i look at the pics i say to myself....

    Why do I bother, they look awful, what I see and what I shoot with my 550D seem miles apart...anybody looking at any of the pics would say "whats that meant to be" or "why did you take that picture"

    I dont know where i am going wrong, I seem to have the creative mind just not the skills or ability to transfer what i see into the lens and out the other side

    Paul
    Paul,

    Write down what you were trying to achieve or what captured your attention and then go back and review why it is lacking. If it was a figure walking on the beach and you can't find the figure or it does not dominate the frame then you have a reference for later compositions. If it a specific color that caught your eye such as the reds of sunset and all you see are blues and pinks then you can adjust that either in post processing or through your camera controls during your next outing.

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Hi Paul,

    I started with Elements, it'll do you fine for a year or two and as Mark says, is a good intro for CS,it is very similar, just a couple of things (e.g. USM) are in different places.

    Thus, even now I have taken the plunge and got CS5, I find Elements is quicker for CiC edits and of course the steps I provide are useful to more people.

    Another plea; shoot RAW and use ACR (you have it in Elements).

    Cheers,

  19. #19
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    Re: Where do I start....

    Paul, when I started, I had noooo idea of what I was doing, and it's been a long, slow crawl to where I am now (and I'm nowhere near some of the "greats" on this forum!). Take lots of pictures -- take 100 or 200 when you're out shooting -- fool around with your settings, and you'll probably get one or two that make you say "wow, that's not bad." Then figure out what's good about that one, and build on that the next time you go out. When you see a picture you really like, look at the settings the person used on their camera (on this forum, many people post their data, on flickr you can see it by looking at the EXIF data). Try to take a picture like the ones you like.

    I think Elements is just fine -- I used Elements for a year or two, and it's great to learn on, and when you get to PS itself you'll have already learned a number of important things. Lightroom is also a great program and quite easy to use.

    Four years ago, I never imagined that I could create an image that was interesting or beautiful or anything like that. I would have told you that I had no "eye" at all (as a matter of fact, I came across a few snaps I took maybe five years ago, and they weren't even in focus ). Just keep doing it, and you'll make progress. Ask all the questions you have -- no one is going to be anything but helpful on this forum.

  20. #20

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    Re: Where do I start....

    Well I would just like to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone on here that has opened my eyes and guided me, I have found all the information very very usefull, both posts and PM's, Thank you.

    I am now shooting in RAW mode and will also be looking at learning packages regarding photoshop elements, Jiro, I would be gratefull for some info in how you achived that result and what programme do you use ?

    I would also like to know if their are any people that are local to me (Hampshire/Surrey/Sussex UK) who would fancy a day shooting who could give me some good sound advise face to face.

    Thanks again.

    Paul

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