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Old Mar 19, 2009, 2:18 PM   #1
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I had 15 seconds to get a photo for a friend who had just had a baby and was heading overseas.

f1.8 1/50 iso 320, no flash lens(canon ef 50mm f1.8II)

lighting was florescent and background is an typical office setting with barewalls and file cabinets.

2 questions.

What should I have done different if I had 2 minutes to stage the photo?

Is there anything about this photo you like?



Look forward to reading your comments.






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Old Mar 20, 2009, 8:26 AM   #2
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For a fifteen second set up the photo is okay. But if you had the time you should have had dad hold the baby closer to his face so that you could get in tighter and not have to worry about the background. This would also take care of that skull on dad's tee which distracts from the photo.
Like they say. "If your pictures are not good enough, you're not close enough.
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Old Mar 20, 2009, 9:36 AM   #3
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What to do different:

FOCUS. More important than anything you want the subjects in focus. With short setup time I'm less concerned about the pose or background than the fact all 3 subjects are out of focus. First you don't want to take a group shot at 1.8. Jack the ISO up to 1600 and use f5.6 if you can (f4 worst case). Noise can be removed but you can't add focus that isn't there.

The framing is a bit cramped for me but would be fine if the sharpness were there.

Also, when taking that shot make sure you use a focus point on a face - even if you focus & recompose (remember you should be at tf4-f5.6 so focus recompose won't run into dof issues like f1.8 could).
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Old Mar 21, 2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
What to do different:

FOCUS. More important than anything you want the subjects in focus. With short setup time I'm less concerned about the pose or background than the fact all 3 subjects are out of focus. First you don't want to take a group shot at 1.8. Jack the ISO up to 1600 and use f5.6 if you can (f4 worst case). Noise can be removed but you can't add focus that isn't there.

The framing is a bit cramped for me but would be fine if the sharpness were there.

Also, when taking that shot make sure you use a focus point on a face - even if you focus & recompose (remember you should be at tf4-f5.6 so focus recompose won't run into dof issues like f1.8 could).
It's not focused and the camera went to 1.8 because he didn't use the flash. It might have been light enough in the room that the flash needed to be forced. The blur is due to camera movement.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 9:52 AM   #5
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I will answer what I like about the photo to start with and that is you captured a truly happy moment and the parents look very pleased with the new little one. Also there is no distracting background due to shooting wide open.

I agree that a step back would have helped and when you have the depth of shooting multiple people then you really do need to stop down as John said. I did a group of 4 very quickly this lunch time as they needed fora book being mad up for some friends so it was a nasty set up, no real imagination but even with f5.6 I was having a little softness due to the dof being too shallow. I was using FF so with a crop camera I would have managed. So pump the ISO and use some fill flash (bounce if you have the option) so you can close down the aperture to get the dof.

Most importantly what we are seeing here is not camera shake but an out of focus shot which is unfortunate. I always take a couple of shots with a revised focus after each as sometimes even with high end kit the focus is not spot on. I've been trying to work out where the focus is as I can see nothing sharp so I can't make any other suggestions around that.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 1:01 PM   #6
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Mark1616 wrote:
Quote:

Most importantly what we are seeing here is not camera shake but an out of focus shot
Since nothing is in focus, how do you come about this conclusion?
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 1:11 PM   #7
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Barry wrote:
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Mark1616 wrote:
Quote:

Most importantly what we are seeing here is not camera shake but an out of focus shot
Since nothing is in focus, how do you come about this conclusion?
Experience - camera shake does not look like this. I concur with Mark it's simply missed focus.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 4:52 PM   #8
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Usually if there is camera shake then there is a direction to the blur rather than a total softness.
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 6:32 AM   #9
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FaithfulPastor wrote:
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What should I have done different if I had 2 minutes to stage the photo?
-> Use FLASH !!!

I don't know why folks are so intimidated by this device... Photography is all in the lighting

1. Think about this: Studio photographers have all the time on their hands and what do they do? They use lot of strobes (or Tungsten) to get the lighting right (i.e. shadows/contrast control) and shoot at f/8 if not higher for maximum sharpness

2. You're shooting against a window(s) or something brighter in the image's background which is totally washed out, and like John and Mark had noticed a flash filled would have overcome this as well (instead of bringing up the exposure from the foreground).

3. This is the most common mistake picking up from on-line discussion: The 50mm f/1.8 is a "good" portrait lens. It's a portrait lens all right, but in general it's MTF is also very poor at wide open - This lens need a lot of light, like outdoor, if you want a decent portrait because the higher contrast will mask its poor sharpness characteristic at wide open. A flash help you achieve this by bringing in the light indoor...
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 11:07 AM   #10
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Just for reference - here's a shot from a family get together last Friday using external flash. Sure the background isn't blurred but the subjects are sharp so to me, it's a nice snap.







To NHL's point about the background. Here's a shot from last year. Brigh light outside and snow. Dropping the exposure and using flash keeps the background from getting out of control:


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