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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 02 Jan 2011 (Sunday) 19:08
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I can never seem to get sharp/crisp portraits...Advice?

 
MindlessConsumer
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Jan 02, 2011 19:08 |  #1

Maybe it has to do with the lens I own (the only one)? It is a Tamron 18-250mm f/ 3.5-6.3. Incorrect aperture setting? I bought this camera used (a 40D), and I just noticed last week that the image quality was set to M instead of L, so all of these were shot on M (I have since set it to L, and I might change that and set it to RAW).

Im open for any advice you can offer on how to get sharper images.

This is by far the sharpest picture I have of a person:


IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4124/5187242152_c6c981169a_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/54805847@N06/5​187242152/  (external link)
Hide your daughters... (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr

Here are some others (i will post them large so the detail can be seen):


IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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Baby Einstein. (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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BrothersFromDifferentM​others (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5004/5223898386_3dc7dac40f_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/54805847@N06/5​223898386/  (external link)
Richest Nation in the World (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr


IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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Siblings (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr


IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR

Hipster-Slacker (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1322/5112809528_e431b20d11_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/54805847@N06/5​112809528/  (external link)
Alison Green, and red, and yellow, and grey.. (external link) by Friedrich Neeeetzche (external link), on Flickr

Note: These have all been sharpened during PP. The original images are worse.



  
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DanangMonkey
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Jan 02, 2011 19:54 |  #2

Looks like your F*cked

Sorry, poor attempt at humor


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Voaky999
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Jan 02, 2011 19:58 |  #3

Check out this thread, it may be useful

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=979911


Don
"Knowledge is Good" Emil Faber

  
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~Katja~
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Jan 02, 2011 20:13 as a reply to  @ Voaky999's post |  #4

looking at some of the exif it seems you shoot in very high ISO settings and slow shutter speeds, unless you shoot a landscape or still life with a tripod, the speed you choose is bound to give you a softer image, especially with kids and moving objects.
Try finding a setting with lots of natural light and bump your speeds up to 100 and above while keeping your aperture as large as possible.
Of course you needs to adjust based on the lighting conditions, try using the internal meter to get the correct exposure while maintaining faster shutter speeds and lower ISO's below 1000.




  
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MindlessConsumer
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Jan 02, 2011 20:42 |  #5

~Katja~ wrote in post #11560675 (external link)
try using the internal meter to get the correct exposure

I know this is going to sound awfully noobish, but I hardly know what to do with that meter. It was one of those things, when I first got the camera a few months ago, where there was soooo much info that I hardly knew where to start reading. So the Exposure meter is an area of learning that I have neglected :(




  
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~Katja~
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Jan 02, 2011 21:06 |  #6

MindlessConsumer wrote in post #11560887 (external link)
I know this is going to sound awfully noobish, but I hardly know what to do with that meter. It was one of those things, when I first got the camera a few months ago, where there was soooo much info that I hardly knew where to start reading. So the Exposure meter is an area of learning that I have neglected :(

it's ok, everybody learns and I for one learned a lot by reading forums and exif data and error and trial.

The meter shows you the exposure and to get a fairly decent balanced shot you want it to be closer to the center, or slightly to the left or right to over or underexpose for a certain effect.
If you are in bright direct daylight, have your aperture set to lets say 4.5 or 5.6 and your ISO to 100 or 200, you will most likely have to move your shutter speed up faster to avoid overexposing the shot. As you turn the wheel to adjust your exposure you can see the meter moving towards the center. It's not always a guarantee and sometimes you specifically want to over or underexpose to set a certain mood, but of you test it out for a bit you may see your curves look a whole lot different when you put the raw's into DPP before you convert them




  
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TiaS
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Jan 02, 2011 21:14 |  #7

I had this problem at an outing with my kids, a couple months ago. The pictures were just not what I wanted as far as sharpness. I couldn't understand why and after reading on here and experimenting I realized that the lighting was bad. So I bumped up the flash exposure on my hotshoe flash and used my bounce card. With this setup I was able to use a lower ISO number, set the aperture where I wanted it, and have a nice shutter speed. Since than I have had much sharper images on a consistent basis, even when shooting in a small basement suite with poor quality lighting. I see that some of your photos seem abit on the under exposed side. I would suggest to look at your lighting. Other areas to look at is your shutter speed and focal length. The longer your focal length the higher your shutter speed needs to be to avoid hand shake. Also check your ISO, maybe it is high enough that you are getting some noise.




  
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mikel1291979
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Jan 02, 2011 22:03 as a reply to  @ TiaS's post |  #8

You can start by shooting in aperture priority mode, or shutter priority. Just to get a feel for how your camera sees light. If you use aperture priority start out at f4 or f5. Turn your ISO down, depending on where you are shooting. If outside in day light go as low as you can go. Pay attention to what shutter speed your camera chooses. If it chooses 1/250 look at your image. Under exposed, over exposed or just right. Now turn your camera to full manual mode. Adjust your shutter speed to what your camera picked. Now play around with your shutter. Drop it to 1/160 see what that looks like to you. Speed it up to past 1/250th. Once you have your baseline you can start slowly adjusting your aperture size and ISO. Its important to know and understand what changing shutter and aperture actually do to the picture you are taking. Dont just press buttons and spin the dials with no real idea of what you are doing. Once you have the basics down you will find it easier to shoot in full manual and change settings on the fly.

One other tip would be to change your focus points. Most people shoot with 1 point usually in the center. Take that enter point and put it right over your subjects eye. Press the shutter half way down and hold it. Then frame your picture and release the shutter. Hope this helps.




  
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MindlessConsumer
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Jan 03, 2011 13:26 as a reply to  @ mikel1291979's post |  #9

I have it set so there is just one point it uses for focusing (I actually don't know how to change it to multi-point focusing).

I was going through the Exif data on all of these, and realized that my shutter speed are all pretty slow and the ISOs are all pretty high. I think this has a whole lot to do with it. I hate the way the built in flash looks and I shoot indoors so much...

And most of these shots were just on the spot, so I wouldn't have time to setup a tripod (I only have a smaller, tabletop tripod any ways), but a tripod, more/better light, lower ISOs, and faster shutter speeds would all help i think.

One more question:

Is there a relation between color balance and sharpness?


And how can aperture affect sharpness (of the in focus area)?




  
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tonybear007
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Jan 03, 2011 14:06 |  #10

A long time ago I was told to focus on the eye(s). At the time I was placing the center of the focus area on the stomach or mid section of a "full" portrait. So if the face was not in the center then that area was not in sharp focus.

With my EOS 7D I often move the focal point to the eye(s) to ensure that the eye(s) is/are the sharpest area of the photograph like this image (external link).


EOS 77D, 7D, Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Birds Spotted in Florida (external link) Facebook
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Canon 77D Facebook Page (external link)
@Canon77D (external link)

  
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lecherro
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Jan 03, 2011 14:08 |  #11

On the back of your camera ther is a button for AF

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Touch this button and look thru the view finder, You should see the focus points lit up. Use the thumb button to move your selection around until you get the focus points you want to use lit up. I think you can hit the button dead on and it will select them all press it a second time andit should select the center on. I shoot this way all the time. if you want your focus to concentrate in something off center to the frame aim at it depress the shutter button until it focuses change you comp and then shoot hope this helps.

First step........ Take the lens cap off.

  
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SJTrance
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Jan 03, 2011 15:00 |  #12

MindlessConsumer wrote in post #11564990 (external link)
I have it set so there is just one point it uses for focusing (I actually don't know how to change it to multi-point focusing).

I was going through the Exif data on all of these, and realized that my shutter speed are all pretty slow and the ISOs are all pretty high. I think this has a whole lot to do with it. I hate the way the built in flash looks and I shoot indoors so much...

And most of these shots were just on the spot, so I wouldn't have time to setup a tripod (I only have a smaller, tabletop tripod any ways), but a tripod, more/better light, lower ISOs, and faster shutter speeds would all help i think.

One more question:

Is there a relation between color balance and sharpness?


And how can aperture affect sharpness (of the in focus area)?

The lower the f-stop (wider the lens opens), the quicker your shutter speed can be. The quicker the shutter speed, the more probability you'll be able to take good, sharp pics without a tripod. Color balance and sharpness are two different fruits.

I would really look into getting an external flash. It will change the way you take pics inside. You can get a lot of sharpness and use very low ISO's even though your lens won't allow a very large aperture. Another piece of advice is to take pics of your subject away from a wall. If you have some distance between your subject and what's behind them, they will stand out more as well. Take a look at these pics... they were shot without using a large aperture and at ISO 100. I believe that the pics were taken at about f 5.6 and a relatively fast shutter speed.

PS: These pics need more processing for a few things... just a quick and dirty example for you.

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MindlessConsumer
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Jan 03, 2011 15:12 |  #13

SJTrance wrote in post #11565553 (external link)
I would really look into getting an external flash. It will change the way you take pics inside. You can get a lot of sharpness and use very low ISO's even though your lens won't allow a very large aperture.

What do you mean by this?




  
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SJTrance
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Jan 03, 2011 15:17 as a reply to  @ MindlessConsumer's post |  #14

Your lens has an aperture range of "f/3.5-6.3." That means that it opens as wide as 3.5 and only 6.3 at the deepest zoom. One of the things that makes other lenses more expensive is that you have a much wider f stop at all available ranges. You can get a lens that goes all the way up to f/1.2 and this means that the lens opening is very wide and large. You can get a very narrow depth of field and get sharp handheld pics in low light with a lens like that. But before running out and buying a different lens, play with your existing lens because I'm confident that you can get better pics out of it.




  
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MindlessConsumer
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Jan 03, 2011 15:25 |  #15

Im sorry, you meant MY lens (my particualr Tamron lens). I thought you just meant, in general....

So by having a larger aperture, I can get sharper images because I can use faster shutter speeds/lower ISOs? Or that sharper images are just a function of wider aperture lens'?

Sorry if this is too much of a noob question :)




  
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I can never seem to get sharp/crisp portraits...Advice?
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