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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 06 Sep 2013 (Friday) 13:05
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Frustrated

 
tanyag
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Sep 06, 2013 13:05 |  #1

Hi Folks... I've been playing with photography for the last year or so. I have a Canon
7d and recently splurged on the 70-200 2.8 IS. My son races motocross so that was my primary focus and I found I was able to get decent shots most of the time. Lately, however, I've tried different types of photography and I'm getting so incredibly frustrated. I think I'm just overwhelmed with the depth of knowledge involved. I guess my question is... What should a beginner photographer really focus on? What is most important when it comes to getting a sharp, in focus image? I feel like I have at least a basic understanding but when I try to apply it, I'm totally disappointed. Any tips? I'm losing confidence really quickly!


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Chet
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Sep 06, 2013 13:09 |  #2

I've often turned to YouTube to watch helpful techniques from successful shooters. It's helped me with studio lighting.


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KirkS518
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Sep 06, 2013 15:20 |  #3

What are the 'other types of photography' are you attempting that you feel you're failing at? What are the issues you're having? Out of focus (OOF)? Under/over exposed? Shake? Post processing issues? Knowing those would also help us to help you.


While Chet has a great suggestion, I'll add a little.

Start with the basics - Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is a great book, even if you think you know all about exposure. He has a whole bunch of great and useful books that you may want to also look into.

Watch lots of adoramaTV on youtube. I personally like Mark Wallace and Gavin Hoey. Scott Kelby is great for PS, and Joe McNally is great for lighting and general inspiration.

Experiment. Take pictures when you don't feel like taking pictures. Take even more when you feel like taking pictures. When you get them home, try and get a good understanding of why one picture looks different then the other from the same series. Was it you aperture, shutter speed, composition, angle or something else that makes you like that one more (or less)?

Learn from yourself, as much as from others.


If steroids are illegal for athletes, should PS be illegal for models?
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DigitalSoCal
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Sep 06, 2013 15:22 |  #4

Also - Post up some examples of images with EXIF info that you feel aren't coming out the way you'd like.

We can give more specific advice that way


--Jonny--
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Scrumhalf
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Sep 06, 2013 15:23 |  #5

Practice with stationary objects in good light first, with and without a tripod. The tripod will take your hand shaking out of the picture and allow you to understand how to focus and expose right. Also practice your hand holding technique to get steady at it. Maybe get a shorter and lighter prime lens? The 70-200 F2.8 is a beast and may not be the most conducive to hand hold if your technique is not perfect.

Shooting moving objects and shooting in bad light is always going to be frustrating if you don't have the basics down. Speaking from experience... ;)


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windpig
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Sep 06, 2013 15:28 |  #6

Photography, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. Myself, I decided to focus on off camera lighting about three years ago. I've found that it fulfills my creative and technical challenges.


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tanyag
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Sep 06, 2013 17:51 as a reply to  @ windpig's post |  #7

Wow! Thanks for all the support and advice!! I feel like I've read everything and watched hours of video but I have to say that the names you have mentioned don't ring a bell... I'll be sure to check them out.
To answer your questions, I'm trying landscape and portrait photography. Indoor photography totally freaks me out and I avoid it as much as possible! I think my main problem is focus. However, the funny thing is, my focus is pretty spot on when shooting motocross. But when I try to take a picture of my daughter sitting perfectly still, it's off. I know I have a lot to learn about exposure but I think I have a pretty good basic understanding. My pictures also look really flat. I've always shot in Jpeg because editing was never an option for me (till just recently). I JUST purchased Lightroom a couple of weeks ago. I've always avoided post processing because I wanted to learn how to take a decent photo and not have to rely on editing, plus I am totally technically challenged. I think I'm getting the hang of that though. I will post 2 pictures I edited with LR...Please let me know what you think. I don't have many crappy photos because I toss them in the recycle bin as soon as I load them and open them. I'll look and see if I can find a good example of an OOF shot.
Thanks again for all the help, I truly appreciate it!


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rent
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Sep 06, 2013 18:12 as a reply to  @ tanyag's post |  #8

The lights and exposures are good in these two photos, but the scenes are not particularly visually pleasing. Consider having something in the foreground that leads into your photo, and direct the viewer to a point where there is an interesting element, pattern, or color contrast.

Also, don't under-estimate the necessity of post processing. Granted, a perfect straight out of camera image is highly desirable, but having a good workflow and mastering post processing mean the difference between a good image and a great image. Your recent purchase of Lightroom is an excellent starting point.

Oh, lastly, shoot RAW, please. :-)

-alex


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KirkS518
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Sep 06, 2013 18:43 |  #9

I actually like both of those photos.
The lake house is very peaceful, and yet holds your interest. A pretty scene, and I think you captured it well.
The sunset is good, but something is missing from it, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's just that there is no sun(?). The colors are great, and the clouds are interesting.

Could it be you're being a bit too hard on yourself? We are our own worst critics, afterall.

As for post processing, it truly is a necessary evil. Most (dare I say all but a few) images SOOC need something to bring them to life. Took me about 6 months to realize that, having always shot film previously. PP was a whole new endeavor for me.


If steroids are illegal for athletes, should PS be illegal for models?
Digital - 50D, 20D IR Conv, 9 Lenses from 8mm to 300mm
Analog - Mamiya RB67 Pro-SD, Canon A-1, Nikon F4S, YashicaMat 124G, Rollei 35S, QL17 GIII, Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex 1st Version, and and entire room full of lenses and other stuff

  
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Furlan
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Sep 06, 2013 18:56 |  #10

I totally agree with KirkS518. The 7D is so loaded with bells and whistles and that might be part of
your problem. I have a bunch of EOS bodies including a 7D but I really enjoy the simplicity of the 5DC.




  
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PeteD
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Sep 06, 2013 19:40 |  #11

The 7D is by far my favorite camera body. It was a huge step for me coming from the old 10D to the 7D. The 7 not having all the presets like the 10D and all. It does take a little to get used to.

With that said, I like the water shot. It is framed nicely and leads your eye inward to the building.

The sunset one is very nice. We all have done shots like that but many can not just put a finger on what is missing. Maybe a little foreground interest ? Anyhow, that is just my opinion.

If you are serious about getting better you need to get out and shoot. try new things. I would recommend doing one of the 365 deals. Where you take a photo each and every day. Process it and post in on here in the 365 forum.If that is too much then maybe a 52 weeker (same deal as the 365 but only one photo a week)would be more your speed. Either way there are threads on here for both. I did the 365 (and now doing the 52 weeker) and it is daunting to say the least. But, I went in it just wanting to learn. I used it as an excuse to make me photograph something. And I had to look at things differently. I mean you can only photograph your pet soo many ways.......LOL
I would set small goals for myself each month. Only use f4 aperture this month. Only use ISO 100 that month. Just keep it simple and do small goals. At the end, you will have an overwhelming hands on approach.

Hope to see more of your work.

PS, I know you are talking about landscape photography and the 70-200 lens. So I assume, you are using a tripod? If so, are you turning off the image stabilization? If not, you really should. Even though the camera is not moving, it will look for movement itself and cause a little camera shake which could be the problem with the OOF shots.


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birdfromboat
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Sep 06, 2013 20:16 |  #12

A second on the idea of shutting off the IS (I sold my IS lenses). You have to understand that IS is not a substitute for lack of enough light or a big enough aperture in most situations outside. Especially sports and especially motocross. All it does is allow you to hand hold for a longer shutter speed by making up for less than desirable camera stability. I don't miss it. Shut it off and see how low an ISO you can get away with on a tripod. Try for narrower apertures when you can get away with it.

Everything said above is good, I would add that for motocross I try for at least a 1/200 shutter and as much DOF (smallest aperture) possible. Give up depth of field before giving up shutter speed, use as high an ISO as you have to.

I actually use a local track to practice panning (keeping a moving subject in focus and moving the camera as it passes). Get good at it and you will be proud of the great shots it can produce. Flying birds are tough because they are silent and small and far away relative to a close, large motocrosser that you can hear coming without looking away from the viewfinder.

Have fun


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tanyag
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Sep 06, 2013 21:27 as a reply to  @ birdfromboat's post |  #13

Thanks everyone, truly. So much great advice.

I need to know more about the tripod, turn off IS issue though. I never drag out my tripod. I find it cumbersome and I tend to move around a lot. But I didn't know I should be using one for landscape stuff. I don't understand why we have image stabilization if we're just supposed to shut it off?? Could someone please explain this further? Would I only do this for landscape shots?


Cannon Rebel T1i ~ 18-55mm, 75-300mm
"The L does not refer to lens"... lesson learned. ;)

  
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tanyag
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Sep 06, 2013 21:43 as a reply to  @ tanyag's post |  #14

Birdfromboat... Do you use a tripod for motocross??


Cannon Rebel T1i ~ 18-55mm, 75-300mm
"The L does not refer to lens"... lesson learned. ;)

  
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NCHANT
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Sep 07, 2013 01:37 |  #15

I found myself in a similar situation last year, the main cure is perseverance. The one thing I done to help understand the fundamentals of a good shot, was to take numerous cityscapes. Now I have a million of them, but I think I have perfected city shots, so then moved onto the next challenge which was the Milky Way. Now I am focussing on people, but having those skills learned I am finding people/indoor photography not so daunting?

Also, shoot alone until you are comfortable shooting around people :)

tanyag wrote in post #16274928 (external link)
I need to know more about the tripod, turn off IS issue though. I never drag out my tripod. I find it cumbersome and I tend to move around a lot. But I didn't know I should be using one for landscape stuff. I don't understand why we have image stabilization if we're just supposed to shut it off?? Could someone please explain this further? Would I only do this for landscape shots?

I always carry a tripod if I know a landscape shot will be there. The benefit is you can shoot longer exposures, smoother clouds etc - if you are after that look? Or you can shoot ƒ16, 100 ISO for 1/10 second, which you most probably can't do handheld.


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