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Old Nov 6, 2008, 9:33 AM   #21
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This post was deleted by FP. Mods, please feel free to delete it. I could not figureout how to do that.


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Old Nov 7, 2008, 10:36 AM   #22
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Okay, he's some outdoor work.

What would you have done differently?
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 10:38 AM   #23
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My son and daughter
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 10:39 AM   #24
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My daugher alone
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 11:49 AM   #25
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White balance looks off in1 & 2 - too yellow.

Photo 1 has way too much deadspace with subject pushed to edge of the frame.

But the biggest thing (to me) in the first 2 images is the eyes - they're not sharp and they're a bit dark. Look at Algold' and Tacticdesign's portraits - both have great details in the eye area - sharpness and well lit.

Shot 3 seems to be a bit of motion blur and again framing. She's looking down to her right but again it's pushed to the right edge - to me the face is competing with the leaves for my attention. To me it would work much better with her face in the left of the frame (think rule of thirds) with a touch of leaves in the frame for interesting background but without making them such a dominant subject in the frame.

Of the 3, I think the 2nd works best for me and with a cleaned-up white balance will be a very nice shot. It has the least amount of distracting elements - the background is nice without being distracting. In the other two the background dominates too much of the frame without being of interesting context because the subject isn't interacting with it.

Just my opinioin though. Portrait photography is NOT my strong suit so take my opinionwith a grain of salt.
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 1:34 PM   #26
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JohnG;

Thank you for your construcive comments.

These are not excuses, but obstacles that I obviously did not overcome. These photos were shot last Sunday right outside Indianapolis, Indiana. The skies were absolutely blue, no haze, no overcast just a big ball of bright sun.

So I tried to find shady spots to seat the kids. When the sun was directly on them, the photo were so bright and the kids squinted. But if I turned them around then my camera was fighting the light as well.

Got any suggestions on how to shoot outside on really, really sunny days? From your expert experience, I obviously failed to get the job done well.

Second, the photo have been cropped. I had more room to work with on the photo with the boy pushed to the right side. So maybe that critique could be fixed by a better crop job.

Last, how do you get clear, bright eyes when shooting from photo that is not a "head shot"? I think if I zoomed in on the eyes, then of course they would be clear, but I wanted a larger framed shot than that. I must be missing something.

Thanks again.

FP






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Old Nov 7, 2008, 1:52 PM   #27
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The answer to several questions:

shoot in the shade, using fill flash. It will take time to get the right use of fill flash. Appropriate sharpening (i.e. USM) to ensure eyes are sharp. So:

1. Shade to eliminate harsh light

2. Fill flash to properly expose subject, provide catch-light for eyes

3. Accurate focus / appropriate aperture (for lens and purpose) to provide acceptable sharpness (i.e. some lenses aren't sharp unless stopped down so I'd sacrifice shallow DOF for sharpness).

4. Appropriate post processing to sharpen where necessary, dodge/burn and correct white balance.

5. Shoot RAW so WB and exposure are more easily fixed.

As mentioned I am not an expert so it is not my expert opinion that you didn't succeed. It's merely an opinion to be weighed or discarded along with othter opinions.

One thing I CAN tell you. If you want advice on portrait photos - ask in 'people' or 'portrait' forums. Don't limit your feedback to just people that shoot Canon. A pentax, oly, nikon shooter who actually does a lot of portrait work can give you much better feedback than say me. I.E. the manufacturer of the gear we use is rarely the critical success factor. So, again, don't put too much weight on my opinion as this isn't my area of expertise.
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 6:18 PM   #28
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FaithfulPastor wrote:
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My son and daughter
You had perfect composition of two beautiful subjects. I would love to borrow them for a few moment if I can.

I would expand comment on the son+daughter image in addition to what John did above.

1. I have no info about lens/body/FL you were using. Use good lens (Canon people will advise you) and ensure there is zero vibration.

2. Do not crop the image and stick to 1/3 rule - with subjects about 1/3 of the frame.

3. 2 subjects is very difficult to manage. Why? It would be impossible to use the lens at wide aperture (say F2.8 - F3.5) without blurring out face of at least one subject. To correct that you need both subjects to be more or less equidistant from you - not that your son was around 1 ft closer to you than your daughter.

4. Of course you may step down the aperture to bring both subjects sharp enough. But if you do that (further step down with larger F number) you will render the background overly sharp which in turns creat distraction.

This is in addition to my answer to your question in people forum


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Old Nov 8, 2008, 1:06 PM   #29
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Hello,

1st, I just wanted to ask what ISO you had the camera set to. I'm just curious . . .

But . . . mainly I'd like to reply to your questions on how to get good shots on a bright summer day.

[Sorry. An aside. I've had a dSLR for two years and wasn't really happy with the pictures I was taking. Underexposed. Overexposed. No detail. This summer I finally admitted to myself that I had no idea what I am doing with this camera. So for the past 3 months I have been doing nothing but reading how to get a good exposure and lighting (since I mostly take family and friend shots)]

Okay . . .

So I decide to get an external flash (I got a Vivitar 285HV after reading the Lighting 101 from the Strobist website) and stick the flash unit on my camera and go down to the park with my daughter and her friends on a bright sunny day (no clouds in the sky) and start firing off the camera. I'm sure a lot of the other parents were looking at me funny thinking . . . why is this guy using flash on such a bright day? But here are two of the shots I got. And they had such detail in them, and such blue skys that I got really excited thinking that I could actually eventually get good shots that I couldn't wait to go read more about exposure and lighting!!!

Shot 1) I did this shot as an experiment. I aimed the camera in the direction of the sun. (The sun is just above the edge of the picture. You can see the harsh shadows the sun is casting in the foreground.) If I had shot this without the powerful external flash, their faces would be pretty much black in shadows. The external flash just brightened up everything & I still got a little bit of blue sky as well . . . while aiming the camera in the direction of the sun. No I'm not saying this is what you should do, I just did this to see . . . if I had to take a shot this way . . . how can I deal with lighting up the foreground . . .




Shot 2) Now, this may be a more typical scenario. Here I am standing about 90 degress to the sun. The sun is on my right and my daughter's friend's face is slightly in the shadow (at least he is not looking directly towards the sun). So I could have taken this picture without an external flash (and I was so close that I could probably have taken the picture with the internal flash) but . . . the point I'm trying to make (yeah, I actually have one) is that by using flash, it's like taking two separate pictures. You set the camera settings (aperture & shutter) to expose to get the blue sky and then you use the flash to brighten up the foreground (and in my case this will mostly be the faces of the people I am shooting.) It really is like having the best of both worlds.




I guess where the flash gets more complicated is if you try to use it in lighting situations where the colour balance isn't daylight. (Like early morning or evening) . . . which . . . I meant to mention that I like the colouring in your photos. They have a nice "natural" look to them. Something that I don't get with my flash. (I've read that you can put colour gels over the flash to try to get different colour temperatures) but I haven't begun to play around with that yet . . .

Since then, I've been ordering a bunch of gadgets to get the flash unit off my camera . . . here is the list of stuff I recently got to play I mean experiment with . . .

- Wireless trigger (to fire flash unit when off the camera) - $20
- I borrowed a couple of light stands from my sister - FREE <he-he>
- A couple of flash holders to mount the flash units to the light stands - $20
- A shoot through umbrella - $10
- A light trigger (to trigger my other external flash) - $10
- And book "Portrait Photography - Secrets of Posing & Lighting - Mark Cleghorn" ~ $35.
- Plus re-reading most of the books I got . . .

And I used this gear to take the pictures of my other daughter that I posted eariler in this thread.

I guess that was my next big thrill was getting the flash off the camera. By doing so, the amount of skin texture and detail is just amazing! I am just so thrilled that I am ready to learn and do more.

I've told my wife I think I'm ready to try to take some "real" shots where we actually dress up our daughters and start thinking about posing and composition. My wife just rolled her eyes. <grin>

Anyway . . . to get back onto the topic of this thread . . . If you haven't got a good external flash, think about getting one. When I got mine, I kept thinking to myself . . . why didn't I get an external flash sooner! If you're wondering if you want to use it, just remember, you're the photographer. You decide when to use it and when not to. And if you have an external flash, think seriously about getting the Gary Fong Lightsphere II and getting the flash off your camera.

NOTE: The Canon 430EX is a great flash unit. (And since the 430EX II has come out, you can get the 430EX at a great price!) It has tilt, swivel, TTL, manual mode and I think you can turn it down to 1/64th power? and it has high-speed sync flash mode. Basically, if you just want to put it on your camera and let your camera do the thinking, your fine. But, if you ever want to start exploring controlling the shot more, it has plenty of growing room to allow you to explore lighting and exposure!!! It's just a great flash unit and such a good price!!!

NOTE: I just re-read your list of what you have. I noticed that you do have the Canon 430EX flash. It's nice. I've been playing with my buddies. Seriously consider the Gary Fong Lightsphere for interior shots!

QUESTION: Has any got any comments on using the Gary Fong Lightsphere outside to soften fill flash?

Take care,
Glen



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Old Nov 10, 2008, 12:46 PM   #30
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Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi

28-135 EF IS lens 3.5 - 5.6

I shot these on AV mode ISO 100 at 3.5

Wrong AV?

Wrong ISO?

Wrong lens?

Wrong photographer????????????


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