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lddw
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 10:09
Hello,

I have just bought my 35L to replace my 17-40L which had a too small aperture for me. I am very happy with this 35L and I have taken some picture of my family but I received a comment about them and I took a new look at myself.

The question I received was :
"Are you really happy with this lens ? Because I preferred the pictures you took with your last lens and your P&S because they are now too blurry" (ie a too shallow DOF)

I suppose that I am not the first to receive this sort of comment coming from someone who dislikes pictures with a shallow DOF.
What do you do in such situation ?

kimmylixx
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 10:24
Sounds like you want more in focus, such as your point and shoot camera gave you, solution stop your lens down to f 16.

gjl711
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 10:25
You seem to be unhappy with your 35L I take it. You can increase the DOF by closing down the lens a bit. Can you post a sample shot which shows the problem you want addressed? As DunnoWhen says, the question is poorly phrased and unclear.

nicksan
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 10:26
That's a common thing.
I get that from my mother all the time.
I usually just ignore her.:lol:

It's up to you to use DOF to fulfill your vision.
Generally speaking, with family pictures, especially groups, you'd want to stop it down to achieve wider DOF anyways...

I wouldn't worry about it. The 35L is a legendary lens. DOF control is a part of what makes owning a DSLR and fast lenses exciting.


Hello,

I have just bought my 35L to replace my 17-40L wich had a too small aperture. I have taken some picture of my family but I received a comment about them and I took a new look at myself.

The question was
"Are you really happy with this lens ? Because I prefered the pictures you took with your last lens and your P&S because they are now too blurry" (ie a too shallow DOF)

I wanted to buy a 1d II to complete my 40D and to have a shallower DOF for a long time ago. Should I sell my 18 55 and get a kit lens and stop photography ? I don't know.

Can someone help me ?

lddw
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 10:40
I agree that my question was not clear. I have just edited it now and tried to explain it with other words. (English is a foreign language for me)

Nicksan understood my question correctly :)


Here is a example of picture. I would have prefered an even shallower DOF. (it is sharp, the bad quality comes from the compression)
http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/9042/img0722g.jpg

Tixeon
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 11:46
Sad fact - You can't please everyone, so, please yourself first...............tw

timbop
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 16:14
Well, if you are taking shots of multiple people, then yes you should definitely stop down. In general, even with a single person's portrait the ears shouldn't be too blurry when focusing on the eyes.

Really wide apertures are fun, as is obliterating the background. But, I generally do it for a reason (drawing attention to the subject) and not just because I can. As for your mom, she is just used to pictures with everything in focus - so ignore her!

superstes
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 17:08
As for your mom, she is just used to pictures with everything in focus - so ignore her!

Just like my wife, she does not like some of my shots because she says the background is fuzzy and makes her feel queasy :p

DStanic
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 17:47
That picture looks fine to me. Did you show it to your family on the computer screen or print it out (cause that would maybe look better to them).
F/1.4 looks like a nice aperture to work with at 35mm, unlike f/1.8 on my 85mm if I am shooting up close (f/2-2.2 is usually better).

ScPhotoMom
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 17:54
Sad fact - You can't please everyone, so, please yourself first...............tw

Totally agree

Veemac
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 19:00
Just like my wife, she does not like some of my shots because she says the background is fuzzy and makes her feel queasy :p
My wife is the same way - doesn't like shallow DOF in photos and doesn't understand why anybody would want to do it. I've tried to explain that it's a deliberate artistic effect used to eliminate distractions and draw focus to the main subject. She counters that she can see the main subject just fine and likes everything in focus because then there's more to look at in the picture. I've shown her examples of both, and she still insists she likes a deep DOF better. Whatever....to each their own.

superstes
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 19:13
My wife is the same way

So what do we do?

Cater for the masses or ourselves, shoot @ f/16 or buy a P&S :rolleyes:

:confused:

Veemac
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 19:22
So what do we do?

Cater for the masses or ourselves, shoot @ f/16 or buy a P&S :rolleyes:

:confused:
I don't worry about it. If she asks me to take a specific photo because she wants to hang it in the house, put it on her desktop or whatever, I'll oblige her wishes. Otherwise, I'll use shallow or deep DOF as I please.

lddw - your English is much better than my French! ;)

Nathan
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 19:30
Care to show us some of the photos that your mother doesn't like, besides that one posted above? Sometimes, a nonphotographer will say something that is totally unrelated to why they don't like a particular photo. If you're taking indoor photos, for instance, it could be because the person looking at the photo is proud of her home and wants to be able to see the details around her. Perhaps the photo of your mother there is a bad example. But perhaps in taking a portrait of her in the family room, she is less interested in the fact that she is the subject. Perhaps she wants to see the furniture, the carpet, the picture frames, the molding and the mantle in more detail. The issue might not be the bokeh... but the vision of what is important to the person looking at the photo. Dof should be used for a reason and should be avoided for another.

Sorry, I made a lot of assumptions there.

JeffreyG
29th of June 2009 (Mon), 20:02
I've seen a little of both sides so this can be an issue.

The posted image from the OP is fine. There is one subject in focus. The background is OOF which is not a problem. I think this is fine.

I've seen some people take pictures with shallow DOF (usually due to low light levels) with more than one person in the picture and only one person in focus. Unless there is a really good reason to have just one person in focus in a picture, this is typically not OK.

Nathan
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 01:36
Oh yes, I agree with Jeffrey. The posted photo is fine. I'm confused why the OP would even want a shallower DoF.

One thing though... and it's not the technique used because I think the photo works great as a stock photo. I am curious to see what specific photos the OP's mother thinks the background is too blurry in.

Just remember... there is such a thing as too much bokeh.

superstes
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 01:53
lddw - your English is much better than my French! ;)

Edit: Answered wrong post.

Stealthy Ninja
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 02:03
LOL funny. Mothers sometime really don't get it I think.

The 35L is awesome and your shots are fine.

Gentleman Villain
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 04:12
His mother's reaction is actually very common. Non-photographers generally think shallow dof looks blurry if they see the technique used outside of the context of reportage or fashion style photography. They'll usually accept shallow DOF if there is some sort of editorial value, or if it is associated with high style (like modern senior portraits, glamour, model headshots or weddings)

The OP's picture does not fit into a reportage/ editorial or fashion/high end portraiture context....so the average non-photographer viewer will usually percieve that picture as a blurry snapshot.

I used to make my living shooting content and the shallow DOF technique would not sell if the image was used outside of the context of editorial or fashion style. For example, I produced a series of photographs that were intended to emulate the feel of "amateur" snapshots taken inside homes...I had to do the entire series with a 24-70L lens at F8-F11 because it produced a look that was more similar to a quality snapshot with no blurriness. I shot a few shallow DOF images for the series just for variety but those did not sell well, and all of the feedback said the same thing "too blurry" The images were being viewed within the context of quality snapshots so shallow DOF was associated as blurriness.

However, there were other times that I produced content using models in bikinis with shallow DOF and those sold just fine....because the average viewer was accustomed to seeing the shallow DOF style in context with fashion/glamour....in this case....they percieved the shallow DOF as artistic instead of blurry.

Context, context, context is as important to a commercial photographer as location, location, location is to a real estate agent. ;)

A photo has to be presented within a certain context for the average viewer to readily accept the technique used...If they are not already preconditioned to linking a certain technique with a style then they just assume it's bad photography.

This also helps explain why many people that are technically very good photographers can't make any money in the craft....Many times their work will be enjoyed by fellow photographers but completely misunderstood by an average audience. Their work often does well in the context of a photo forum but totally fails or is overlooked when presented to a mainstream audience

My take on the OPs photo....IT failed with his mom because she was judging it from the context of a snapshot. IF the same exact picture had been featured in the context of story in a local newspaper then she probably would have had a different reaction to the same exact picture.

Rudeofus
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 08:34
If you are surprised about your mothers comments to thin DOF shots, you should hear my parents comments to shots made with the 135 softfocus lens :)

PhotosGuy
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 08:45
(it is sharp, the bad quality comes from the compression) Well, that's a 53KB file & you can attach 150KB images? And if you only sharpen the important parts of the image, you'll get a smaller file size & be able to up the quality when you save it.
Selection for sharpening illustration. (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=6232485&postcount=57)

In your example picture, did you take one from a lower angle?

Tixeon
30th of June 2009 (Tue), 11:33
The OP's picture does not fit into a reportage/ editorial or fashion/high end portraiture context....so the average non-photographer viewer will usually percieve that picture as a blurry snapshot. .................... .................................................. .................................................. ..
My take on the OPs photo....IT failed with his mom because she was judging it from the context of a snapshot. IF the same exact picture had been featured in the context of story in a local newspaper then she probably would have had a different reaction to the same exact picture.

Best explanation I've read so far.............................tw

lddw
1st of July 2009 (Wed), 16:04
Thank you for all your answers !

I now understand better the reason why they dislike it. I hope this thread will be useful to some other people, who received the same question :)

PhotosGuy
-> Yes, it was a small size file, but it was only to illustrate the problem and I had not the full size picture with me.
-> The picture would have been better if I had taken it from a lower angle ? Should I be at the height of the person when taking this sort of picture ?

timbop
1st of July 2009 (Wed), 16:31
Thank you for all your answers !

I now understand better the reason why they dislike it. I hope this thread will be useful to some other people, who received the same question :)

PhotosGuy
-> Yes, it was a small size file, but it was only to illustrate the problem and I had not the full size picture with me.
-> The picture would have been better if I had taken it from a lower angle ? Should I be at the height of the person when taking this sort of picture ?

Yes, you generally want the camera to be on-level with the subject. For just a headshot, the camera should be at nose/mith height. For full body shots, the camera should be at waist/stomach level

rdenney
1st of July 2009 (Wed), 16:45
Selective focus is a tool for isolating a subject from the background. It's not always appropriate--sometimes the blurry background becomes a distraction because it is blurry. That undermines the purpose of selective focus in the first place.

I made an engagement portrait of a couple at Great Falls National Park near Washington, DC. I threw the falls in the background out of focus using a portrait-length telephoto at a wide aperture. I liked the result, but they didn't. Why? Because they wanted a picture of them at the falls, not of them with blurry falls in the background.

That was my mistake. I didn't want the falls to compete with the couple, but for them the place had equal importance to themselves. And they were right--people who looked at the picture immediately noticed the blurry falls--exactly what I didn't want.

We learn.

Rick "who has learned most things the hard way" Denney

Celtic Tiger
1st of July 2009 (Wed), 17:29
I remember my first brush with bokeh, although I really didn't know its name or even necessarily it was happening at the time. We were in NY years ago at a sidewalk cafe having a glass of wine. My friend's wife took a candid picture of my wife holding her wine glass and looking in another direction. Wow, I was blown away when I saw that pic. Knowing nothing of photography at the time, I couldn't put my finger on just what made it such a great shot; but I knew I wanted to do it.

PhotosGuy
2nd of July 2009 (Thu), 19:44
-> The picture would have been better if I had taken it from a lower angle ? Should I be at the height of the person when taking this sort of picture ? Maybe. I don't know what crud is in the background which is why I asked. Normally, I would have tried a lower angle.