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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 04 Sep 2012 (Tuesday) 21:36
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alazgr8
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Sep 04, 2012 21:36 |  #1

My 2 month old grandson. I want to take better photo's of the grandkids. Please tell me what I did wrong (and right).

Regards,

Rick.

40d, Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8. f/3.5 1/100, ISO-400 @ 55mm

#1

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Rick S.
My Gear = Canon 50d ~ EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro ~ EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ~ EF-S 17-55 IS USM f/2.8 IS ~ EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM ~ EF 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

  
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EmyB
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Sep 04, 2012 22:39 |  #2

For number 1 I like the catchlights in his eye. I would suggest considering positioning him so that the natural light falls from above him rather than below him. Depending on how formal you want these shots to be you could consider a plain blanket below him rather than the spots and other clutter in the background. It also looks a bit underexposed to my eye.

Number 2 is a lovely moment caught (?looking at Grandma :)) but there seems to be quite a shadow on his face. Perhaps again next time just consider turning him a tad towards the window a little more. Also I think this one would look quite nice cropped a little and in black and white, as there's a bit of busy-ness with the pink, blue and green clothes.


Emily. :)
Canon 60D | Canon 15-85mm | Sigma 30mm 1.4 | Canon 50mm 1.8 | 430EXII | Bits & Bobs

  
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alazgr8
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Sep 04, 2012 22:58 |  #3

Hi EmyB, thank you for your comments. I just edited photo #2 in Photobucket, as I am completely lost trying to use Photoshop. Looking at my camera settings in photo #1, what would you do differently?

Regards,

Rick

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EmyB
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Sep 04, 2012 23:12 |  #4

Hi Rick,

I think the edit is a good start. It's quite a harsh contrasty B&W (in that the white areas e.g. left side of face, are VERY white and the blacks VERY black) but this is definitely personal taste domain. With the crop I would leave a little more room on the left for him to "look into".

I don't see any problem with the actual camera settings you used for the pic. Seems like good choices to me. It's more the angle of the bubby and how the light's falling on him.

I think these will be treasured pics for sure. I am not a pro so please just take them for the suggestions they are intended to be. :)


Emily. :)
Canon 60D | Canon 15-85mm | Sigma 30mm 1.4 | Canon 50mm 1.8 | 430EXII | Bits & Bobs

  
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kfreels
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Sep 04, 2012 23:28 as a reply to  @ EmyB's post |  #5

The first one is good. I think a white foamboard just out of the frame to the left would be beneficial to bounce a little fill light into those shadows but that's just my opinion. It may be that this is exactly what you are after so there is no right or wrong.
For the gear used, this seems a bit soft to me. I would expect the eyes to be sharper. This could be intentional, but more likely I would suspect it is either motion blur or missed focus. I see that you used the spot meter. The histogram shows most of the values are bunched up on the left side. Again, this may be intentional. If you did this in post processing then all is good. But my suspicion is that you used the spot meter in and captured the metering from the part of the face that should be lighter. The meter is going to set the exposure to make the average of the pixels within the spot into a middle grey color. In this case, the spot meter being on the bright area of the face would cause the camera to underexpose the image which is how that histogram looks and then you would have to increase exposure in post which would still result in less color information, less color, less saturation, less contrast, and more noise. This could cause the softness problem as well.
To remedy, you should probably use a different metering mode such as center weighted average or evaluative metering. Evaluative will compare the shot against many in a database and find one that is similar and use it for exposure information. It's a great mode for people who don't fully understand how metering works as well as pros who are working in situations with rapidly changing light that don't want to mess with spot metering. If you want to use the spot meter, then you need to use the spot on a middle grey tone in the scene. Or even multiple tones so you can understand exactly how much light you have and make a decision on how to over-ride the camera if needed. Here is some info on spot metering.
http://www.spotmeterin​g.com/spwhy.htm (external link)
Again, I'm making a wild assumption that you don't already know this. If you do, then please disregard it.

The second one, again, I want to be sharper. I see your exposure is more accurate. ISO is 800 instead of 400 and the shutter speed is 1/60 instead of 1/100 so you have increased exposure by 1 2/3 stops and it shows. The color and contrast are better, but the 40D isn't super-strong at 800 ISO (If I remember right). It also looks like the slower shutter speed may have allowed you some motion blur from the camera.
On this image, I like the fact that the baby is looking off camera, but the gaze is leading out of the image. I would shoot this same shot with the face in the lower right corner so that the gaze is leading IN to the photo. I would also either get closer or further back. At this point you will have too much of the person holding the baby in the photo to leave the person cut out. It creates a feeling that something is missing from the photo. You could get the person holding into the photo as well. Maybe just part of the face. Just something to show that 1.) There is a person there and 2.) what the baby is looking at.
I would also try to get down a bit lower on any baby pics. That's an awkward angle that most camera phone pics are taken from. If you want to stand out, try to get a different perspective.
One last thing. I think a lot of the problems I see here are one if just not enough light being there. I would see what I could do to increase the total light in the room. I don't mean more direct light....just more of the same quality light. I don't know if you need to move closer to a window, thinner drapes, I just don't know. But with more light you can use a lower ISO with a faster shutter speed and get more exposure which should eliminate your softness.

Anyways, hope that's helpful. I made a lot of assumptions.


I am serious....and don't call me Shirley.
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Baby photos. Please CC.
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